There are so many blog posts out there talking bout how to balance hormones naturally. Most talk about maca, yoga, destressing and other vague and surface level methods. These methods can lead to further imbalances. For instance, for some women, taking maca can lead to even worse problems and imbalance! In this post I am breaking down how I healed my hormones and have helped hundreds of my clients do the same.
What are hormones
Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, progesterone, adrenaline and insulin are chemical messengers that play a major roll in our health and well-being. You have glans throughout your body that secrete these hormones like the thyroid, adrenal, pineal, pituitary and ovaries. Everything in this picture is controlled and managed by your endocrine system (which is why I am so obsessed with protecting that system!). One imbalance can lead to major health issues and concerns. We need to treasure this precious process!
What do hormones do in our bodies
Since they are messengers, they tell the body what’s up. When it needs more estrogen. Where to send progesterone. The endocrine system does all the math and sends the hormones out on the job to balance, restore and rebuild. Here are the jobs of some of the hormones in our bodies:
Progesterone – This super chill hormone is the most underrated hormone there is. It prepares the endometrium for women who may get pregnant after ovulation. It triggers the lining of the endometrium to thicken up and hold onto the egg (so cool!). Progesterone also stimulates osteoblast activity (new bone formation). When your body temp goes up after ovulation, it’s because of this hormone + it boosts your metabolism.
Estrogen – It stimulates the growth of the egg follicle in our ovaries. It also gets our vagina to the size and acidity it needs to be at.
More important hormones
DHEA – This hormone is made in the adrenals and get converted to testosterone and estrogen. Therefore, low DHEA = potentially low estrogen and testosterone! Best of all, it’s synthesized from cholesterol so… we need to eat cholesterol. Can you believe it!
Cortisol – It helps to control blood sugar, regulates metabolism, reduces inflammation and supports our brain. It’s often called the “stress hormone” because it rises when we are stressed but it’s and critical we have proper levels! Secretion of this hormone is regulated by the HPA axis.
Why we need balanced hormones
Our bodies are meant to house balanced hormones. It may seem crazy that once-upon-a-time we had balanced hormones and didn’t have a series of diseases and imbalances like PCOS, endometriosis, infertility, PMS and the list goes on. The things aren’t normal – common, yes – not normal.
When our hormones are balanced everything runs smoothly. We have good poops which means we get rid of excess estrogen. Our skin is clear and not inflamed. Our bodies can detox toxins. The liver can function optimally. We can have babies without spending thousands of dollars on treatments that often fail.
Common symptoms of hormonal imbalance:
- Headaches around period
- Painful/Difficult periods
- Irritated, mopey, annoyed before period
- Painful/Intense periods
- Weight gain
- Dark skin areas
- Hair is falling out
- Skin tags
- Low sex drive
Herbs that can balance hormones
Herbs are always highly dependent on YOU. Herbs are a bio-individual thing and you should never do what someone else tells you to try just because it worked for them. Your hormones are totally different than someone elses. A good class of herbs to begin with and research yourself are adaptogenic herbs. Maca, ginseng, tulsi, cordyceps, reishi, ashwaganda, chaga and pine pollen are all adaptogens. To learn more about adaptogens, here over to this blog post. This brand is one of my favorites (non affiliated).
Adaptogenic herbs can (1):
- Improve thyroid function
- Lower cholesterol naturally
- Reduce anxiety and depression
- Reduce brain cell degeneration
- Stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels
- Support adrenal gland functions
My favorite way to have adaptogens is in my morning elixir. Here’s one of my favorite recipes:
1/2 cup raw milk
1/2 cup filtered water
1 serving pine pollen
1 serving reishi powder
1 tablespoon cacao powder
1 date, maple syrup or honey
sprinkle of cinnamon
Blend together and enjoy (either hot or cold)
Delicious hormone balancing foods
Hello fats, carbs and protein! That’s right, we’re talking about all the macros because there are none we should cut out if we want to love our hormones the best we can. Trust me, I’ve tried Keto, Paleo, Low carb, High Fat, AIP and the list goes on. I didn’t know what worked best for me because I wasn’t listening to my body and instead was listening to what everyone else was doing FOR THEM. You are you, remember that. If you continue to follow what other people are doing for them, you will not be well.
Now, I have balanced hormones after post-menopausal levels of progesterone, sky high estrogen and messed up DHEA. I stopped and thought “what can I do to truly return to nature” and that’s just what I did. I started focusing on seasonal and local eating. That means food only from my region and nothing grown below me (in the sense of longitude). I won’t give specific examples but I will give general examples of a whole-food, organic and seasonal diet that is supportive of women’s health! I’ve seen it work for me and hundreds of my 1:1 nutrition clients.
The game plan
First, focus on seasonal and local. When you do that, you’ll likely eliminate harsh chemicals and pesticides used in factory farmed meat and mass produced produce.
Second, choose organic. Organic guarantees you are skipping out on 700+ chemicals that are in conventional meat, dairy, eggs, produce and packaged goods.
Third, balance our your meals. You need protein, fats and carbs. If you want to love your hormones, balance is key.
Here’s an example:
Breakfast – 4-8 oz raw milk, 2-4 pasture raised eggs, in-season fruit/vegetables, local sausage and bacon
Lunch – serving of wild Alaskan fish, homemade of avocado mayo, capers, olives, sprouted crackers, roasted yam
Dinner – 4-6 oz local red meat, sautéed local greens (if in season) with ghee and sea salt, roasted seasonal vegetables
Dessert – date with sunbutter and coconut butter, grain free chocolate chip cookie, whatever the heck you want that’s nourishing to your body!
Practices to balance hormones
I have a full post on stress-busting practices that I wrote here. Mostly, you want to find what make you feel good and do it more. You can garden, breathe, read, walk, workout, hike, swim, fish, create, bake, hang with family, play games or take a nap. As long as it makes you feel good and it’s supportive of your health, do more of it. We need to connect back to nature and connect with ourselves. When we do, we will feel and perform better.
How to balance hormones naturally
- Stop starving yourself
- Chill on the workouts
- Eat healthy fats
- Get that protein, babe
- Seasonal eating
- Regular exposure to sunlight
- Touch the bare ground, often