Help to Balance Your Hormones Naturally
Mood swings. Weight gain. Fatigue. Skin problems. Anxiety. Fun times! Many of us assume these uncomfortable symptoms are just part of the natural wear and tear of being human. But what if the problems you’re experiencing aren’t inevitable? What if they were the telltale signs of a hormonal imbalance? And what if there were concrete actions you could take to eliminate these problems?
Often, a hormonal imbalance is the result of stress and a poor diet—two things that are all too common in our fast-paced culture. If your symptoms are bad enough, your natural instinct is probably to head straight to the doctor’s office. That’s good, and serious symptoms should always be looked at by a healthcare professional. The problem is, traditional methods for balancing hormones tend to be synthetic, and they can cause unpleasant symptoms. They also tend to simply mask the problem, rather than addressing the root causes. Below, we discuss the 7 simple changes you can make to your lifestyle TODAY to help balance your hormones naturally (and make life a whole lot more pleasant).
Stress is all about the cortisol. If you’re not familiar with this particular hormone, it’s generally nicknamed “the fear hormone” or “the stress hormone” because it’s what gets released into the body when you’re running late to work, when you’re out and realize you forgot to turn off the stove, and during entire episodes of Game of Thrones. Cortisol may have its hand in everything from weight gain to fatigue, acne to chronic anxiety, so reducing cortisol can have a lasting impact on your mood and appearance.
But it doesn’t stop there! Stress also affects the hormones that affect the immune system. According to a study in the Experimental and Clinical Sciences journal, “Various receptors for a variety of hormones involved in immune system function are adversely affected by stress.” Not good.
The benefits of reducing stress are enormous. Here’s how to lower your levels:
Identify the Stressor
It may seem obvious, but figuring out what’s bothering you is a great first step in reducing stress. Often, we walk through life a little unconscious of what’s going on inside us—something that happened a week ago might still be gnawing at you today, just under the surface. Try free-writing to get to the root of the problem, or call a friend to talk it out.
Get to Bed
In addition to reducing cortisol levels, proper sleep balances levels of insulin, which regulates blood sugar, and ghrelin, the creepy-sounding hormone that signals hunger. No matter how much we’d like to stay up and ignore our body’s persistent pleas for more shut-eye, lack of proper sleep has some serious hormonal consequences—so make it a priority.
If you’re having trouble getting to sleep on time, give your body some encouragement with Liquid I.V. Sleep, our new all-natural sleep aid that can help you ease into sleep faster, rack up more hours, and hopefully see results.
Exercise for Chill
We’re not talkin’ HIIT or Soul Cycle. These overly-stimulating exercises can actually put your body into fight or flight mode and up your cortisol levels, which is exactly what you don’t want. Try yoga, jogging or dance to break a sweat without freaking your body out.
Mindfulness & Breathing
Notice that your anxiety spikes whenever you go into a crowded grocery store? Or that you’re much more irritable when you haven’t eaten enough? The practice of observing your emotional reactions to the stimuli of life is called mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you bring consciousness to your feelings, so you can deal with them rather than pushing them under the rug.
When you find your heart racing, try slow, intentional breathing. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold for 7, and exhale through your nose for 8. Repeat as many times as needed. Calming your body down decreases the production of our old buddy cortisol.
We know, we know, meditation is hard. No one likes sitting still, especially in a culture where we’re taught to keep moving at all costs. But meditation has proven benefits—including the gradual reduction of stress over time. Just sit in a comfortable position for ten minutes and try to focus on your breathing. Simple!
Upgrade Your Diet
When switching up your diet for hormonal balance, cortisol still plays a role, but the heavy-hitting food-related hormones are ghrelin and insulin. Here are some suggestions on what to cut out and what to add to your daily intake:
What to Eliminate
When dealing with a hormonal imbalance, the first thing many healthcare professionals suggest is watching or eliminating your refined sugar intake.
Sugars from fruit are generally OK, but it may be good to lay off anything artificial—too much of it can cause insulin levels to spike. Next, take a look at how much processed or packaged food you’re eating. Processed food can contain toxins that can throw off your hormones, so think more “produce section” and less “snack aisle”.
Lastly, we know you love your morning cup, but consider reducing or eliminating coffee. Coffee makes your cortisol levels shoot up, and can deplete your adrenals over time, leading to weight gain and constant fatigue. We know it’s a lot to sacrifice, LIV fam, but do it for the hormones.
What to Add
First: start sipping. Hydration not only affects nearly every major hormone, it also cleanses the gut (one of the centers of hormone production) of harmful toxins. When we’re dehydrated, our body focuses on conserving water—leaving it little energy for things like regulating your emotions and your metabolism.
If you’re consistently having trouble hydrating (like most of the world), one of the greatest gifts you can give your body is Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier. It does contain glucose, or sugar, but it contains less of it than an apple—plus you get the added benefit of all-natural ingredients, tons of electrolytes, and 11 vitamins and minerals. It can also provide 2-3 times the hydration of water alone, so it’s a great shortcut to plumping your cells with the water they need.
Aside from water, there are some core foods we highly suggest incorporating into your daily diet:
Fiber: Like water, foods with fiber work to clear the gut, and they also balance insulin.
Protein: According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a high-protein breakfast decreases levels of ghrelin more than a high-carbohydrate breakfast, which means proteins may help you feel full longer.
Omega-3s: These help to gradually reduce the cortisol and adrenaline in the bloodstream, leading to happy adrenals (and a happier you!).
There is a TON you can do to balance your hormones outside the doctor’s office—it just takes a little willpower and a lot of self-care. Picking up Liquid I.V. Sleep and Hydration Multiplier is the perfect way to kick-start the process. Remember, always seek medical care if you have unusual symptoms. Good luck!
Written by: Samantha Colicchio, Liquid I.V. Brand Storyteller