Hormones are chemical messengers that essentially control everything about your body. Your weight, mood, appetite, sex drive, body temperature, and stress levels are all controlled by hormones. It’s a complex system, and it’s not surprising that it sometimes gets out of whack.
Because hormones affect almost every part of your life, a significant change in any body function could indicate a hormonal imbalance. The most common symptoms include:
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
- Increased anxiety or depression
- A change in appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Reduced sex drive
- Skin breakouts
- Hair loss
Natural ways to avoid and correct hormonal imbalance
You should always consult your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. They could be signs of any number of diseases and disorders that you cannot correct yourself. A professional could potentially put you on hormone correcting medications if the imbalance is severe enough. However, there are many things you can do to avoid hormonal imbalance in the first place, or help alleviate the symptoms of it as part of your overall approach to hormonal balance.
Remember that we are what we eat. Anything you put in your mouth either contributes to, or hinders, your health. So many problems in your body can be corrected by starting at the source. Hormones are actually made from the amino acids in dietary protein, so make sure you’re eating enough. However, avoid highly processed protein sources that cause gut inflammation and make it hard for your body to absorb nutrients. Fats are also essential for hormone creation and function, so make sure you’re getting your daily dose of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
Exercise! The magic pill! Daily moderate cardiovascular exercise decreases stress hormones and helps the body balance insulin levels. It can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, which further balances your hormonal profile.
Get enough sleep
Sleep affects a lot of your hormones, including those that control both stress and hunger. Lack of sleep causes your cortisol levels to rise and increases concentrations of ghrelin. Ghrelin not only makes you hungrier, but also causes you to crave sugary, calorie-dense foods.
Remember that it isn’t our hormone levels that create our environment, it’s our environment that creates and manages our hormone levels. You may be stressed because you have high levels of cortisol, but those levels didn’t climb on their own. Something in your life (excess weight, a lack of sleep, a busy schedule) is driving those cortisol levels up. Recognizing your effect on how hormones work, and leading a healthy lifestyle, can help you keep your hormone levels in balance.