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Feeling sluggish, stressed, bloated, and achy? You're not alone. These symptoms might seem like an everyday part of life in our busy and hyperconnected world, but they may actually indicate that your hormones are off balance. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to balance hormones naturally and get back on track.
Stress, in particular, is a big health disrupter. Increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol can raise your blood pressure and blood sugar. Problems with sleep, difficult PMS symptoms, frequent digestive upsets, and even headaches can also hint at a problem with your hormones.
After all, the human body is a big interconnected system. The thyroid, which secretes various hormones in its regulation of many vital body functions, works with the reproductive organs, which work with the brain and digestive organs to keep you humming along.
Some hormonal issues, like an underactive or overactive thyroid, polycystic ovary syndrome, or post-menopausal problems, might require direct medical help. But there are plenty of easy tweaks you can implement to balance hormones naturally.
A diet rich in healthy fats (like avocado and olive oil), whole foods (like fruits and vegetables), and good-quality carbs (like quinoa) can help balance your body by providing fuel to keep your blood sugar stable throughout the day. If you can, eat at regular intervals — no skipping meals!
Everyone likes to enjoy dessert now and then, but you should eat processed sugar (including alternative forms like high-fructose corn syrup) in moderation. When possible, you should also steer clear of added hormones in meat and dairy, as doing this can help ensure that your own hormones are working in tip-top shape.
Move your body at least a few times a week, whether it's at a fun dance class or during a weightlifting session at the gym. You probably know that regular exercise can keep your weight in check, but it's also beneficial in terms of mood, blood sugar levels, bloating, and stress.
Mindfulness is more than just a buzzword — it can actually help you be healthier. Meditation aids in relaxation, and it's also a boon for reducing inflammation and lowering your stress hormones. Try an easy, daily meditation or mindfulness exercise. There are plenty of apps to give you a head start if you're a beginner. Just a few minutes will provide a powerful benefit. Yoga is another great tool due to its positive effects on mood.
Sure, you probably have a general idea of when your period is due, but paying close attention to your entire menstrual cycle and the symptoms you experience (like cramps, breast tenderness, irritability, and more) can provide powerful insight about your health and hormones. Like with mindfulness, there are apps to help you understand what's happening throughout your menstrual cycle and how it can affect both physical and emotional well-being.
Sleep is everything! Getting an adequate amount each night is key to good health. If your endocrine system is working overtime, your sleep could suffer mightily. Cut back on caffeine, understand your sleep cycle, and work oncreating an ideal sleep environment.
Article by Carrie Murphy, CD(DONA)
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The information provided by Dignity Health and Dignity Health Arizona is for general informational purposes only. All information is provided in good faith and we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied.