Whether you're dealing with the routine symptoms of your monthly cycle or facing new challenges such as hot flashes and mood swings as you near menopause, you already know firsthand how hormones can affect the body. With seemingly no warning, you can feel completely different, have trouble sleeping, be more irritable, and more. However, before you surrender to these new waves of sensations as unstoppable and frustrating, consider this: There are many natural ways to balance your hormones. Below are six specific steps you can take to regulate your body's hormones naturally.
1. Get Regular Sunshine
Ever felt like getting outside in the sun lifted your spirits? There's a good reason for that: Vitamin D. Your skin makes vitamin D after exposure to sunlight or absorbs it from specific foods, such as certain oily fish or fish liver oils. While vitamin D itself is not a hormone, it is essentially a pro-hormone, something that gets converted by the body into a hormone. It is linked with various lowered disease risks and greater overall immunity. So when the weather is nice, go enjoy it. Just be smart and don't overdo time in the sun as that could increase your risks for skin cancer.
2. Walk in Nature
In terms of hormone balance, strenuous exercise can do more harm than good, so focus on light exercise instead – such as walking, swimming or jumping on a trampoline. Moving your exercise outside and regularly walking among trees and natural beauty is more than calming for your mind; it's also good for your hormones. Research has shown that viewing forest landscapes and walking outside can lower cortisol levels, not to mention blood pressure.
3. Limit Caffeine Intake
If you're one of the millions of women who loves a morning cup of coffee, you're probably fine. But if you find yourself reaching for caffeine several times a time, you could be hurting your estrogen levels, according to research from theAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Believe it or not, high caffeine intake has the ability to affect your body's hormones, either lowering or raising estrogen levels depending on your race. To give your body the ability to regulate hormones naturally, avoid heavy doses of coffee, soda and other caffeine.
4. Make Sleep a Priority
Getting enough sleep not only increases your energy and lowers risks for certain diseases, it also plays a key role in your hormones. Because proper sleep directly impacts your endocrine and immune systems, look for ways to maximize the sleep you get each night. Make your bedroom as dark as possible, use earplugs or a white noise machine to reduce distractions and keep the temperature comfortably cool. Likewise, avoid heavy screen time on computers or television just before bed in order to help your body wind down for sleep.
5. Reduce or Find Better Ways to Deal with Stress
There's no way around it – stress is harmful to the body in multiple ways. One of the biggest problems is that it disrupts natural hormone cycles. Look at your current lifestyle: Are there stresses that you can cut out of your life? How could you simplify a hectic lifestyle? If there is no way to make changes to the stress factors, what meditation techniques or resting patterns might help you deal with stress better? Whatever you choose to do, if you can find ways to lower your stress levels, you and your overall hormonal health will benefit.
6. Eat More Omega-3 Fatty Acids
If you aren't already familiar with omega-3s, what you need to know is that they are essential fatty acids known for allowing hormones to adhere to cells more easily. You can get more omega-3s by eating flaxseeds, walnuts, sardines, salmon, and Brussels sprouts, among other sources.
Hormonal imbalances can be frustrating, but the good news is that there are several natural steps you can take to counteract to naturally balance them. Use the six ideas above to get started!
Written by Cheretta A Clerkley.
Cheretta is the strategic marketing health care professional for Hormone Health Network. For over 10 years, she has been focused on educating patients on the topic of overall health and hormones.
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