7 Unexpected Habits That Help Balance Your Hormones Naturally That OB/GYNs Swear By
Hormonal imbalance can cause all sorts of unwanted health effects, ranging from unwanted breakouts to low energy and hair loss. However, just because you feel like your hormones are out of whack doesn't mean you need to necessarily turn to medications. There are a number of unexpected habits that can help balance your hormones naturally, some of which OB/GYNs swear by. If you're trying to make sure your body is in balance, you'll want to engage in some of these habits to help multiple facets of your health.
"When your hormones are out of balance, it can affect almost every bodily function," Carlos Cardenas, M.D., a gynecologist with The Institute for Women’s Health, tells Bustle. "Your body is a fine-tuned machine, and even slightly elevated or lowered levels of hormones secreted from various glands or organs such as your thyroid, pancreas and ovaries can cause massive disruptions throughout your entire system. Oftentimes, women don’t realize that symptoms such as irregular periods, infertility, a low libido or general depression may be directly related to hormonal imbalances."
If you are suffering from any of these issues, it's best to see a doctor, who can help detect any hormonal imbalances and figure out the best treatment. In the meantime, here are seven unexpected habits that can help balance your hormones naturally that OB/GYNs swear by.
1. Cutting Back On Caffeine
It's hard to resist that morning cup of coffee, but for some who indulge too much in caffeine, their hormones may suffer. "Too much [caffeine] contributes to an increased amount of stress hormones to be released by the adrenals," Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG tells Bustle.
If tend to have a lot of caffeine throughout the day and are noticing some of the symptoms of hormonal imbalances, it may be time to consider making an adjustment.
2. Eating Healthy Fats
Your diet and hormones are linked, and making sure you are eating enough healthy fats can help keep your hormones in line. "Hormone production depends on the building blocks of good-for-you fats and cholesterol," says Cardenas. "If you’re lacking in these, your hormone production will likely be disrupted. Omega-3s, which are found in foods such as salmon, and heart-healthy fats such as avocados and coconut oil will help supplement any fats and cholesterol your body is naturally lacking."
3. Drinking Out Of Glass/Using BPA-Free Cans
Avoiding plastic can help prevent your hormones from being affected. "Chemicals and pesticides designed to prolong the shelf life of foods can significantly disrupt the body’s natural functions," says Cardenas. "One of the major culprits is plastic, especially plastics that contain Bisphenol-A, or BPA, which can mimic estrogen in the body. When you’re buying plastic containers or canned goods, make sure to look for a BPA-free label."
4. Sleeping Well
Getting a good night's rest does more than just give you energy. "Your body does a lot of work to repair and rejuvenate itself while you sleep," says Cardenas. "Sleep helps you detoxify your system, produce necessary hormones, and rebalance your bodily functions. It’s so important to your overall health that even one night of poor sleep can create serious disruptions to your system."
5. Eating Probiotic-Rich Foods
Probiotics are the 'good' bacteria that live in your gut and allow your digestive system to function properly. "A variety of factors such as stress, medication, and a poor diet can disrupt your gut ecology, which in turn can negatively affect your overall health," says Cardenas. "Although probiotics can be found in foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt and pickles, you may need an FDA-approved supplement to ensure your GI system is performing at its best."
6. Staying Active
Working out helps regulate your body's hormones. Exercising can affect everything from your estrogen to testosterone and even cortisol, Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet, told Well + Good. Taking time to move each day can help manage your sex hormones as well as stress and other basic bodily functions.
7. Switching To Organic Foods
Experts say to opt for organic foods whenever possible to help balance your hormones. "Avoid foods that contain added bovine hormones and antibiotics," says Gaither. "The latter can affect the delicate hormonal balance in a woman’s body."
According to experts, engaging in these habits can help your body's hormones stay balanced. If you're starting to see the signs that your hormones are out of whack, your best bet is to talk to a doctor and figure out the best treatment for you.