A healthy lifestyle is the precursor of a healthy individual with a sound body and mind. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires an individual to follow a good diet, stay physically active and practice stress management. An alteration in lifestyle can have an impact on the individual’s health through various factors, including hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalance is developed in both males and females. However, females are more likely to develop an imbalance in hormones due to the presence of a slightly different endocrine system. So, there are some lifestyle tips you can trust if you want to know how to balance hormones naturally.
Hormones being the chemical messengers in the body, play a major role in controlling appetite, weight, and mood. Hormones also play a role in regulating the menstrual cycle, ovulation, protecting unfertilized eggs, and preparing a woman’s body for pregnancy. An imbalance in hormones can disrupt normal functioning and have effects on the physical, mental, and/or emotional health of the woman. Take this quiz on hormonal balance to check if your levels need attention.
Having established the significance of maintaining hormonal levels in a woman, let’s understand the factors you must note while trying to hit a balance.
An imbalanced diet and lack of nutrition is not going to work. Eating proper and balanced meals help in maintaining hormonal balance. A healthy meal should include proteins, iron, and vitamins, including macronutrients like carbohydrates and fats, which are required by the body. Unhealthy food patterns can increase the chances of being overweight or underweight. Women with higher Body Mass Index (BMI) have a higher chances of experiencing hormonal imbalance. A proper diet is required to maintain a healthy BMI to avoid complications like menstrual dysfunction and anovulation which are induced by hormonal imbalance.
Also read: Struggling with hormonal imbalance? Cut these 6 foods out of your diet
Maintaining good health depends on a proper and balanced diet and an ideal amount of physical activity. Exercising helps in improving body metabolism, which makes burning calories easier and helps control body weight, thereby helping to maintain hormonal balance.
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol, which triggers the flight or fight reaction of the body and is considered to be normal. Cortisol is required in lower amounts by the body, but when released in higher amounts due to stress, it causes hormonal imbalance. This further leads to complications like obesity, lower sex drive, insomnia, and fatigue. Increase in stress hormones can also lead to higher blood pressure risk.
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can enter the body and are easily absorbed through the skin. EDCs are known as ‘hormone mimics’ that act as hormones resisting the functioning of the endocrine system. EDCs affect fertility, induce early puberty, as well as cause cancer and abnormalities in reproductive organs. Even though a low level of EDCs is present in cosmetic products, it causes hormonal imbalance, so it is advised to use chemical-free cosmetics products for the skin. EDCs can also be present in air, soil, and water causing dysfunctioning of the hormonal glands.
PCOS is a condition where the ovaries produce larger amounts of androgens (male sex hormone) that is present in lower amounts in women, causing hormonal imbalance. Women with PCOS often have problems with conception and in the case of pregnancy, hormone levels should be monitored carefully.
Hormonal levels are also altered during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause, which can cause infertility or difficulty in future pregnancies.
Lifestyle changes and food choices remain among the major contributing factors that amount to hormonal imbalance, along with stress. But the challenging part of hormonal imbalance is that women find it difficult to identify symptoms of hormonal imbalance and associate it with the said condition. Symptoms may include mood swings, irregular periods, depression and anxiety, hair loss, inadequate sleep, skin issues like acne, and fatigue.
Hormonal health is a key factor in maintaining good health. An imbalance in hormones can disrupt the overall well-being of an individual, especially women. Even though there are factors not in our control like age and environment, slightly modifying lifestyle and food patterns can reduce the risk of developing hormonal imbalance.
Having said that, knowing how to balance hormones is even more important when it comes to women who are pregnant or planning to conceive. It is highly advised that they consult doctors when trying to get pregnant and also keep a regular check on their hormone levels during pregnancy.
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