Hormones are chemical messengers that travel throughout the body byway of the bloodstream. When things are good, the organs and glands work together to regulate hormone production. When production is even slightly off balance, the entire body can feel it.
There are the expected hormonal milestones in life—puberty, childbirth, perimenopause, menopause—where hormones surge and dip. But these aren’t the only events that make your hormones go haywire.
Numerous elements can create intolerable imbalances that leave women irritable, fatigued, unable to sleep, with sore breasts, a lack in sex drive, and unexplained weight gain. (And that’s the short list).
Sadly, since these symptoms are traditionally thought to be signs of “getting older,” many women ignore the signals and instead endure the discomfort.
Even worse, if they seek help, they’re often prescribed unnecessary drugs such as antidepressants or the birth control pill to gloss over the issue.
Below are tips for leveling hormones on your own—and it’s easier than you’d think.
What you do and don’t eat will directly please or anger your hormones. It’s as simple as that.
Refined sugar is high on the list for causes of hormone imbalance, and can ultimately lead to insulin resistance. Sugar also makes you resistant to the hunger hormone leptin, blocking the signal that let’s you know you’re full. The more you eat, the more unbalanced your hormones become.
Make Friends With Omega-3 Fats
Getting more polyunsaturated omega-3 fats is a really easy way to balance your hormones. You can get these from oily fish or nuts and seeds like chia, flax, or walnuts.
I advise my patients to stay away from safflower, sunflower in general as we get plenty of omega-6s and omega-9s from our diet and they’re known to seriously affect hormonal balance. What we do need more of is omega-3s.
Avoid White Foods
White food is often synonymous with processed. So that makes it easy—cut out the white. While your body can tolerate processed foods, they’re extremely toxic. It will eventually let you know that, one way or another.
Sugar, white rice, bread, alcohol, and foods made with white flour such as muffins, bagels, pasta, and pretzels are best in low doses or none at all. It’s not just the calories to be concerned with here; these foods can negatively affect your everyday wellbeing and your hormones.
Eat Avocado and Coconut Oil
We cannot have proper hormonal balance without adequate amounts of saturated fats. These essential fats aren’t just base-level building blocks for hormone production; they speed up the metabolism and help you lose weight.
Good cholesterol is necessary to form healthy cell membranes. It boosts the production of hormones like testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Cholesterol has a bad name but when it comes to hormones, ALL of our hormones are made from cholesterol. So if you’re cholesterol is high or low—be sure to address WHY. Don’t just pop a statin drug to lower it since that will negatively affect your hormonal balance.
It’s In Your Control
Don’t let hormones be the bane of your existence. While they can create a variety of problems (especially as you get older), lifestyle changes go extremely far in this category.
It’s easy to accept treatments like hormone therapy or prescription drugs, often at the urge of doctors; in reality, eating well and taking care of yourself often yields far better results. I often say – you can’t balance your hormones if your life isn’t balanced.
Dr. Afrouz Demehri