Hey, thank you for checking out this blog post! All of these posts are written from my personal experience with my health and well-being. I do not write these posts to make money, just to inform the general public on important topics surrounding improving your health. Taking care of your health is something you should try to prioritize now rather than later. This leads me to the topic of today, which is how to balance your hormones naturally. There are a ton of programs, supplements, diets and protocals out there which supposedly help you balance hormones but these all can cost exorbitant amounts of money. I want to focus on habits you can start incorporating today that are not particularly costly or time-consuming.
My story about hormone balance
Years back when I got off birth control after being on it for a few years, my hormones were out of whack to say the least. This makes sense- I was pumping myself with estrogen every day so my body was not used to the sudden drop. My skin broke out terribly and I was committed to fixing the root cause. Even if you are not on birth control, hormone imbalance can be quite common. For example, you may notice that around your period, your acne flares up more than normal. Scientifically, why does this happen? Well, your hormones flunctuate throughout your menstrual cycle. Right before your period begins, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. This is what triggers additional sebum which ultimately leads to clogged pores and acne. This article does a great job explaining this further. Going back to my story with birth control…I was focused on rebalancing my hormones as best as possible. To do this, I began taking estroblock to help with estrogen dominance and support healthy estrogen levels. Within a couple of months, my skin became much better and my period was more regular. On the pill, I often went several months without getting my period at all! I also was way too skinny in high school so I suffered from amenorrhea (period loss). Although it was convenient to not worry about tampons/pads, going several months without getting your period (this is assuming you are not on birth control or something that you know is supposed to block your period) is not normal. Not getting your period doesn’t just mean you could be pregnant- it could mean there is a serious hormonal imbalance that should be addressed. During that time, not only did I focus on balancing my hormones, I focused on eating more, eating high quality foods, and moving my body. There is not a one-size fits all approach to this. But at the end of the day, you must pay attention to your body and the signals it provides. Not getting your period for a long time is a signal that something could be wrong.
I fear my hormones could be out of whack. What should I do?
First of all, if you are on birth control, you may want to start thinking long-term. Being on birth control can cause your hormone levels to be abnormal, but of course it impacts everyone differently. For some people, going on birth control helps clear acne and reduces cramps around your period. For me, being on birth control made me a different person (not in a good way), so I had to make the choice to get off of it. Not everyone can make this choice, and that is okay. But it is important to be aware of the long-term side effects of birth control and what options are out there. Please see this post for more. There are also plenty of amazing specialists out there who can conduct certain tests to figure out what exactly may be going on with your hormone levels.
For now, lets discuss some simple strategies you could start with to begin helping your hormones out.
Tip 1: Eat enough protein and healthy fats
There is a reason I am mentioning protein and healthy fats specifically. Eating protein provides your body with the amino acids it needs to produce specific hormones. However, to throw another wrench in things, you want to focus on high quality proteins and ideally not be consuming grain-fed, hormone injected meats for example. The reason why is: consuming this type of protein can actually negatively impact hormones and raise estrogen to an unhealthy level. Focus on quality grass-fed meats, wild caught fish, pea protein and nuts like brazil nuts or walnuts. Healthy fats such as MCT oil, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil are also fabulous for balancing hormones. They help reduce insulin resistance and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Tip 2: Prioritize sleep and avoid blue light at night
Staring at your screen at night is very bad for your health because it actually tells your brain to wake up versus relax. Blue light blocks a hormone you may have heard of- melatonin – that makes you sleepy. This is bad for your circadiam rhythm. Shut off your phone an hour before bed, at least 30 minutes. We stare at blue light a lot during the day, so no need to keep doing that it at night. Turn off that smartphone, TV, gadget etc when it is time to wind down. Your sleep and overall health will thank you. If you must check your phone at night, at least wear blue light glasses to reduce the drastic impact on hormones.
Tip 3: Meditate and try breathing exercises to reduce stress
You need to find ways to reduce stress throughout your day. What makes you stressed? Is it work, responsibilties, money, people? Whatever it is that causes you stress, try and think about small things you can incorporate that will help. For example, can you take ten minutes during the busiest part of your day to relax and do a breathing exercise? There are two types of stress: acute stress and chronic stress. Acute stress is normal and can actually help you perform better in certain situations. Chronic stress however is not normal because it is everyday, constantly. This is what causes our hormones to become very out of whack. Cut people out of your life who drain you, who don’t make you feel good, leave that job that has you chronically stressed with no reward, etc. These are big decisions of course, but what is the real price of your overall health, happiness, hormone levels, well-being? In my eyes it is worth it in the end.
Tip 4: Engage in regular exercise, maintain a healthy weight
We all know exercise is important, but why is exercise relevant when we are talking about hormone balance? Exercise increases dopamine levels in your brain which can help decrease stress. Very helpful in regards to the point above about reducing stress. Additionally, exercise releases serotonin which helps you sleep better at night. Lastly, exercise helps boost estrogen levels. This is why it is particularly helpful to exercise when you are going through menopause since it is caused by a decline of estrogen.
Tip 5: Try Ashwaganda or other herbs
Ashwa- what? Ashwaganda is an herb that helps your body cope with stress. You can mix it in smoothies or take a supplement cap but my favorite way is to grab a Rebbl drink. These are easy, on the go, already has Ashwaganda in it and are delicious.