How To Balance Hormones Naturally With Diet & Exercise

Ooooh, the hot topic that we all love – hormones! What are they and how do we keep them balanced? Is it possible to balance hormones naturally? Well for one, being on top of your liver function is one key way. Here are some other tips to bring your endocrine system back into balance.

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Hormones are critical chemical messengers and major players when it comes to your overall health. Glands secrete various hormones for use in the body. The female hormones estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone, are made for the most part, in the female ovary, and to a lesser extent in the adrenal glands. Of course, cortisol, insulin, and thyroid are important hormones, and I’ll delve deeper into their functions in another post.

Signs of Hormone Imbalance


The entire endocrine system works together. If one hormone is imbalanced, it throws the whole system off.  This makes achieving balance a little more difficult.

How can we identify imbalances? Here are some symptoms that can alert you that something is off:

  • Difficulty getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy, endometriosis or anything having to do with reproduction
  • Fatigue and insomnia – these play off of each other creating a vicious cycle
  • Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression – irritability is a big one also
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain due to changes in metabolism
  • Digestive issues and changes in appetite – this is one that is not readily correlated to hormone function
  • Hair loss, low libido, and low self-esteem
  • Just feeling “off” and you don’t know why
  • A nagging sense of unease or unhappiness that can be related to your cycle or constant

How To Balance Hormones Naturally


The Importance of Diet in Hormone Regulation


The gut microbiome and overall gut function play an important role in hormone balance. Food allergies and sensitivities can lead to dysregulated blood sugar, which, if left untreated long term, results in diabetes and obesity. Both of these conditions are inflammatory in nature, and this dreaded inflammation does a number on female hormones.

Eating unprocessed, high-fiber foods in the correct macro-nutrient ratio, ensures blood-sugar levels that are in range, leading to lower inflammatory markers. Designing your meals is easy: eat approximately four to six ounces of healthy protein, a cup or so of fibrous, low-starch vegetables, around 1/2 cup of starch, then, top it off with one to two tablespoons of fat. Focus on whole, organic, unprocessed food. Your blood-sugar levels, mood, weight, digestive capacity, and sleep patterns will thank you!

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It’s the starch that gets us in trouble so stick with 1/2 cup or less. If you feel unsatisfied after a meal, try eating a little more fat instead of searching your cupboards for cake and candy.

Our bodies crave good fats and minerals so load up on nutrient-dense foods, and remember to eat starchy carbs (the good stuff) in moderation. The less toxic food and chemicals your liver has to filter, the better it can concentrate on eliminating toxic hormones.

It’s easy to check your blood sugar from home using a glucometer, and is one of the best ways to stay on top of your health.

The Role Exercise Plays


Exercise plays an important role in female hormone balance in that it helps regulate the two big hormonal players – cortisol and insulin. These two hormones need to be balanced due to their effect on ovarian function. Two of my favorite forms of exercise are interval training and walking.

Interval training drives down excess insulin levels and burns fat, thus decreasing inflammation, which is a major hormone disruptor. High-intensity exercise, lasting approximately 30 seconds, is followed by a rest period of the same amount or longer. This short duration of intense exercise doesn’t lead to adrenal burnout, which is true of other forms of exercise, such as extreme cardio or long-distance running. Healthy adrenal function plays an important role in female hormone balance. Stationary bikes and weight lifting are both great ways to implement interval training into your day.

Check out these recumbent stationary bikes

And these kettlebells

Walking, while it won’t burn fat like interval training, is great for decreasing cortisol levels due to unhealthy blood-sugar levels and stress. This, along with a consistent interval-training program, is effective in keeping cortisol levels in a healthy range.

Stretching is another favorite of mine as it decreases stress, and strengthens the mind-body connection. Flexibility is a major marker in aging so spending a few minutes everyday stretching is worth doing.  Breathing and meditation can both be incorporated into a stretching routine. Decreased stress levels lead to better hormonal health!

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Key Points


Diet and exercise strategies that foster a balanced endocrine system are really pretty easy to engage in on a daily basis if one is committed to their health. Consistency, not perfection, is the key and one in which we are all capable of doing if we realize the beneficial effects of our efforts.

The endocrine system is the one system in the body that is most closely tied to emotions, mood and motivation so keeping it running smoothly is certainly worth the effort. We all want to feel more relaxed, motivated and empowered, and peaceful and happy.

We can’t feel this way if our hormones are running wild. This can actually be a vicious cycle in that our hormone balance affects our moods, and our not-so-happy moods affect our hormones. It’s a cycle we want to manage, rather than having it manage us.

Besides all this your liver will function better without having to process all the anger, sadness and frustration that’s thrown at it due to the lack of homeostasis that so many people deal with today in our stress-filled environments.

Let me know what you think in this comments:)

 

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References: 

(1) NCBI: High-intensity interval training for health benefits and care of cardiac diseases – The key to an efficient exercise protocol

(2) NCBI: High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss

(3) PubMed: Diet or Exercise Interventions vs Combined Behavioral Weight Management Programs: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Direct Comparisons

(4) NCBI: Stress and hormones

(5) NCBI: Central effects of stress hormones in health and disease: understanding the protective and damaging effects of stress and stress mediators

 

Disclaimer: This article is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice.

12 thoughts on “How To Balance Hormones Naturally With Diet & Exercise”

  1. I hate being hormonal sometimes, especially when I am about to get my period. I am just way too emotional mostly, but have anxiety and also have serious cravings for all junk foods, which I know will worsen my hormonal imbalance. Thanks for the list of toxic food and also the exercise ideas. How long do you think I will see results after I change my diet and incorporate an exercise routine? 

    Reply
    • Runaway emotions, anxiety and cravings are pretty awful, aren’t they? It can be a vicious cycle, with symptoms worsening hormonal imbalance. I’m confident that your body will respond favorably and quickly to the dietary and exercise strategies that were discussed in my article. You’re young and your body will know what to do when it is given what it needs. All the best to you! 

      Reply
  2. Wow, reading this article, I was thinking… ugh I have all of the symptoms here… I need to really buckle down and get back into a healthy eating and exercise routine. My move to a new state three years ago threw off my routine and exercise has been on the back burner for while. I just can’t seem to get motivated to do it. 

    Reply
    • Hi Nicole. 

      Moving can certainly throw a wrench in even the best laid plans. Start slow and exercise just a couple of times a week until you build up your endurance. It will get easier with time. You can do it – best of luck to you! 

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment:)

      Reply
  3. Hormones have caused a lot of harm to my step mother, although we didn’t know all the ins and outs of what was happening at the time.  It all started when she got married.  Her husband and her could not conceive for 10 years, and then she started developing obesity. 

    We then learned about the microbiome and she started taking Microbiome Plus, and she started improving, but like what you said in your article, you can naturally prevent deficiencies by eating enough protein at each meal, and exercising at the appropriate times. 

    Reply
    • I’m sorry to hear about your step mom. It’s hard to know what is happening when there are so many variables. There are increasingly more and more research studies being done on the importance of the microbiome in regard to nutrient deficiencies, detoxification, immune function, and weight regulation. It’s pretty fascinating stuff!

      I’m so glad to hear she’s improving. Eating enough protein and exercising strategically are key components to balancing hormones naturally. Thanks for your comment:)

      Reply
  4. You may not have been expecting a man’s feedback, but here I am. I think you did a great job explaining the science for lay people to understand. And I thought you explained just enough and not too much. I have 2 adult daughters and my wife and I are raising 2 girls we have guardianship for. They are 10 and 14 years old. My wife has gone through menopause over the last several years. All this to say, I have a fair amount of experience experiencing various challenges when hormones are not in balance. Your recommendations relative to diet and exercise are spot on. In fact, most of your recommendations are good for men as well. You did a super job of placing affiliate links. The reasons I say that are 1) they are products which can really help your readers, relevant to the topics, and 2) there are not too many. I also thought your highlighted words to take the reader back to previous posts gave the readers a chance to learn more. And, your posts do such a great job of being topically interrelated. Your pictures, graphics and videos were well placed and you provided ample white space to make your post reader-friendly. The video was great information. It was helpful for anyone who wanted to gain more information. It was not at all a duplication of your written content. It’s good for credibility to add footnotes to validate your research. I think the table of contents is a good idea. It looks to me like your target audience is women in their 20’s to 40’s. If you are hoping to include women that are in 50’s and up, you might want to include some relevant content for them.

    Reply
    • Hi Glenn,

      I love input from men. Thanks so much for your comment – it’s much appreciated.

      Sounds like you’re surrounded by women and girls of all ages, which means you’ve experienced the entire hormonal cocktail that we women get to experience through our lifespans, including menarche, pregnancy, perimenopause, to menopause and beyond. It can be a precarious journey at times, as I’m sure you’ve learned experientially. Thank you for validating my recommendations. They’ve worked for me personally, and for my clients throughout the years.

      I often refer to the strategies that I recommended as “strategic” due their impact on hormones, which really are non-negotiables in terms of weight control, emotional health and well-being, and optimizing immune function. It’s so much more than the outdated paradigm of calories in and calories out. These same strategies are applicable to men, as well. It’s just a little more complicated for us women because we have more hormones to navigate.

      I try my best to recommend products that are pertinent to the information I offer, along with supporting links that readers can follow if they want to learn more in-depth about the various supporting topics. I also value videos, graphics, and supporting research that support the subject so thank you very much for your feedback in that regard.

      Menopausal women actually are included in my target audience, but I will focus on writing more articles directed specifically to that age group. Thanks for directing my attention to be more inclusive of that group. Once again Glenn, thank you so much for reading my article and for your feedback. You’re awesome!

      Holly

      Reply
  5. I never knew that finding it difficult to conceive a pregnancy could be the result of hormonal imbalances in women. Whenever I see websites that talk about “how to” do things I get excited because I know I am about to learn something new and important. 

    Now I know diet and exercise could help to balance hormones naturally without medications. Could this method also apply to people born with hormonal imbalances? We may never know when this knowledge would come in handy. 

    Reply
    • Hello, and thanks for your response. Yes, infertility can result in an inability to conceive. Hormonal imbalances are implicated in a wide variety of conditions so implementing targeted diet and exercise strategies is key to reducing symptoms and their underlying dysfunction. Thanks so much for reading:)

      Reply
  6. Hello there,  

    Thanks for this very detailed and informative post on how to balance female hormones naturally using diet and exercise. Hormonal balancing in this way that you described is totally foreign to me. That’s why I was glued to the article from start to finish. I think it’s very cool the connections you made, and I’ll make sure my girls adopt this way of living. That way, I can get their feedback and experience firsthand. Thanks for sharing.  

    Reply
    • Hello Jomata,

      Thanks for reading my article. It seems that many people aren’t aware of the correlation between diet and exercise and their hormones. However, when you understand the impact that certain ways of eating and specific types of exercise have on the endocrine system, the connection is pretty straightforward. 

      Please do educate your daughters. It will be interesting to note how their bodies respond. I appreciate your comment:)

      Reply

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