Our hormones influence our sleep, mood, hunger, fertility, menstruation patterns, and basically our total health. All of our body systems work together to produce the right amount of hormones in order for our bodies to function optimally. Unfortunately, some of us also get a dirty dose of hormones from tap water (estrogen from women’s pee who take the pill can be detected), the meat and dairy we eat, soy products, and some from the hormonal medication they take. Moreover our hormone balance can get disrupted by stress (something that we all experience) and an unhealthy lifestyle.
The externally ‘obtained’ hormones have similar shapes to the hormones we naturally produce and therefore can mimic them leading to increased stimulation of our cells. Consequently, stress messes the body up, makes it produce more of one hormone and less of another which leads to the synergy of them getting thrown off e.g. we might produce more of the hunger stimulating hormone (ghrelin) and less of the fullness hormone (leptin) which will lead to unnecessary increased hunger.
Fortunately, we can do something about this through some common sense lifestyle changes. If you don’t do what I have listed below then incorporate these one at a time over a period of months; change your routine too quickly and it is likely that you won’t stick to it.
Non-hormonal contraception methods
Hormonal contraception has been made the standard in a lot of countries because it is cheap for the government to provide and the compliance rate is the best out of all the contraception methods. However, that does not mean it is the best for a woman’s health. Hormonal medication disrupts the bodies natural hormone concentration, stays in the body years after going off it, and leaves toxic residue in cells. All this can lead to the mood swings, infertility, and babies with birth defects. This is truly a serious thing and only when you start looking into it do you grasp how bad it is. Luckily there are non-hormonal methods to choose from and they can be just as effective if you use them properly and commit to getting to know your menstrual cycle and your body (this will take a while but I think as a woman you need to educate yourself on what is happening in your body every single day because like it or not the menstrual cycle dominants your life more than you think).
Great website dedicated to educating and empowering women about their cycles: https://cycleharmony.com/
No tap water
I have talked about this in a previous post but mentioning it again as it is an easy but very health lifestyle change.
When you exercise there is an increased level of feel good hormones, the hormones that lot of us are running low on due to less sleep and stress. Exercising every other day for 30-60 min has been found to be a healthy amount for optimal mental and physical health (you can spread the time over every day, depends on your lifestyle). Past the recommended amount exercise can put too much stress on the body and lead to further hormone inbalance e.g. a lot of women athletes do not menstruate.
This seems to be a controversial one. People in japan have been eating soy for donkeys years and they seem to be fine however the soy that they eat is completely different to the one that is now readily available. Moreover, 99.5% of soy is now genetically engineered. Soy mimics estrogen and one hormone we don’t need more of is estrogen because most of our natural estrogen levels are higher than they should be because of a western diet. Estrogen dominance can lead to weight gain, feminine features in men, moodiness, and PMS.
Less consumption of refined sugar and beer
Alcohol and other simple sugars derived foods kill testosterone and promote estrogen. Beer being the biggest culprit as it kills testosterone and promotes estrogen which can equate to weight gain and men developing women like features.
Increased intake of healthy fats
Healthy fats are the building blocks of your hormones and therefore we need to eat sufficient amounts. I get my fats from nuts, seeds, avocado, and fish.
Limited meat and fish consumption
And the key word is limiting not eliminating. Meat has a lot of hormones pumped into it in order to get the fastest and largest profit (yes there is meat that has not been hormone treated but it is significantly more expensive). Yet, I would not suggest you cut it out completely as it has vital nutrients that we all need. My suggestion is to eat meat (preferably fish) once or twice a week and the other days stick to a vegan/ vegetarian based diet.
(Getting organic is obviously the best but it can be pricey so I know practically that’t not going to work for some people.)
You don’t need it, all it does is wreck your body. Yes, as with everything having it occasionally is not the end of the world and I do have it now and then because I like to try new foods BUT I really do try and use alternatives.
Drinking of herbal teas
Lastly, frequent consumption of herbal teas has an overall hormone balancing effect as herbs are adaptogenic, meaning they act on the whole body and smooth out anything jazzy. Holy basil and Ashwagandha teas are most effective (but there are numerous others that have more specific effects depending on what your experiencing). Moreover, milk thistle is super at flushing out all the toxins you have proudly accumulated.
Chucking plastic bottles
You know this, we all do but because we love convenience we still use them. But for real lets try and reduce and then long-term eliminate the use of plastic bottles as they have bisphenol A which mimics estrogen…and you know how too much estrogen can do all sorts of madness to us.
Natural household and beauty products
Man made chemicals, especially the ones I listed in a previous blog post, mess with our hormones. Switch over to plant oils, essential oils, hydrosols, baking soda, and whole plants for everyday beauty and household cleaning. I use:
- goats milk soap as a body wash
- goats milk/ black african soap for hair
- rosemary hydrosol , rose hydrosol, essential oils, and a bit of oil as a leave in conditioner
- tea tress and lavender oil for acne and scars
- baking soda as toothpaste
- magnesium salt spray and rosemary hydrosol for muscle spasms and pain relief
- lavendar essential oil for onset of sleep
- activated charcoal tablets for an upset stomach
- natural plant oils for moisturization
- tea tree oil for clearing up sinuses
- natural clay for face masks
- vinegar for cleaning
- water for dust
- essential oils to scent a room
And a lot more other things that I have replaced chemicals with. Now, I know its hard to replace all chemical products (such as make up) and I am not saying do that, my aim is always to do the best we can and limit our exposure to them as much as possible.