Hormones are to the body what spices are to food recipes.
If their amounts or levels are either too high or too low, the end result can be rather unpleasant. However, in the case of hormones specifically, you can’t just push the plate away to stop the experience.
If hormones aren’t at the levels they need to be, many
bodily issues can occur. According to Medical News Today,
these include experiencing changes in weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and
blood sugar concentration. Hormones that are out of balance can also lead to
trouble sleeping, increased sensitivity to hot or cold, increased thirst,
headaches, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and more.
Though some drug therapies have been developed to help level
these hormones out, some have been found to come with risks. For instance, the National
Cancer Institute reports that hormone replacement therapy for
postmenopausal women has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, as
well as increasing the patient’s risk of developing hip and vertebral
fractures, urinary incontinence, dementia, stroke, blood, clots, and heart
What are some ways to balance the body’s hormones naturally
then, potentially bypassing these types of concerns? Here are four options to
1.Limit processed food intake
The first step to balancing hormones is to address gut health according to Healthline. This is because inflammation in this area of the body can cause the immune system to go into overdrive, increasing the risk of issues such as leaky gut syndrome or irritable bowel disease.
Research has connected the Western diet—which is high in
processed foods—with a high level of gut inflammation. One 2018 study
published in the journal Nutrients elaborates
on this issue further by stating that these types of foods have the ability to
create both structural and behavioral changes in the gut microbiome.
Thus, eating a diet that is low in processed foods is
beneficial to creating an environment where hormones can naturally balance
themselves. This involves sticking primarily to foods in their whole, natural
state, such as eating a diet high in lean meats, fruits, veggies, seeds, and
2. Eat enough protein
In April 2015, the American
Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported findings
of Protein Summit 2.0, a gathering of more than 40 nutrition researchers. Among
the items discussed was how adequate amounts of protein are necessary to proper
function of the body’s hormones, many of which relate to metabolic functions
that impact muscle and bone health, as well as renal function.
Other research has found that protein has a positive effect
on the brain too. For instance, one 2012 study
published in Advances in Nutrition
indicates that protein intake impacts brain-based signals directing hormone
production elsewhere in the body, such as neuropeptides released in the gut and
hormones that regulate insulin production.
How much protein should a person consume? The National Academies of
Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shares that the current recommended
daily allowance (RDA) is 0.85 grams per kilogram of body weight for teens
(those aged 14 to 18) and 0.80 grams per kilogram of body weight for adults.
reports that some of the foods highest in protein include eggs, almonds,
chicken breast, oats, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, milk, broccoli, lean beef,
3. Make sleep a priority
Approximately 50 to 70 million adult Americans have some
type of sleep disorder according to the American
Sleep Association. Insomnia is the most common, impacting approximately one
in three adults (30 percent) short-term and one in ten (10 percent)
The problem with not getting enough rest is that research
published in Endocrine Development
has found that “sleep plays a major role in neuroendocrine function and glucose
In other words, when the body doesn’t get an optimal level of sleep, metabolic and endocrine alterations result. Among them are reduced glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, elevated cortisol and ghrelin, and lower leptin levels.
Sleep Foundation indicates that the average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of
sleep per night. Some ways to meet this recommended amount include creating a
relaxing bedtime ritual, making sure the mattress and pillows are comfortable,
and staying away from electronic devices before going to bed.
4. Learn to deal effectively with stress
No one is immune to stress. However, when that stress isn’t
dealt with effectively, it can impact a number of hormones in the human body.
For instance, research in
the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and
Metabolism indicates that stress affects glucocorticoids, catecholamines,
growth hormone, and prolactin. This puts the body at risk for endocrine
disorders such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, gonadal dysfunction, psychosocial
dwarfism, and obesity. Individuals under extreme amounts of stress may also
experience adrenal or thyroid crisis.
for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that, in addition to eating
right and getting enough sleep, other effective ways to cope with stress
include exercising regularly and taking a break from whatever it is that is
causing the stress to begin with. Additionally, while it may be tempting to use
drugs and alcohol to curb stress, these substances only create other problems,
oftentimes increasing stress even more.
Cutting out processed foods, eating enough protein, getting
adequate rest, and dealing effectively with stress can all help balance
hormones naturally, negating the need for drug therapies that may come with
major health risks.