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Natural Hormone Balance. Embracing a Hormone Friendly Diet and Lifestyle for Optimal Balance with Dr. Haile Michaelson, Naturopathic Doctor

In the pursuit of deeper rooted health and wellness, many clients ask me about natural ways to nurture their hormones. There are direct ways to optimize hormones iwth bio-identical hormone support, AND there are underlying ways to balance and support endogenous hormones (our own natural hormone levels and balance. Hormones are little chemical messengers in the body that are involved in regulating numerous physiological processes, including metabolism, mood, energy levels, and reproductive health. Imbalances can lead to a variety of health issues and symptoms, from brain fog, weight gain, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue to more severe conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis and thyroid disorders. A holistic approach to hormone balance through diet and lifestyle changes can be an effective first line strategy to restore and maintain harmony in the body.

A Hormone Friendly Diet

A hormone diet focuses on nutrient-rich, whole foods that support the endocrine system. Here's how you can tailor your diet to promote hormone balance:

1.Prioritize ORGANIC Whole Foods: Eliminate processed oils, and reduce processed foods. Whole organic foods, such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins, provide essential nutrients that support hormonal health, are minimally processed and free from additives and injected or added hormone disruptors.

2. Give your Hormone System the BEST Healthy Fats! Hormone production REQUIRES fats :) Healthy fats, such as those found in organic avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish, are vital for hormone production. Omega-3 fatty acids, in particular, have anti-inflammatory properties and can help balance hormones like cortisol and insulin. Make sure to chose raw fresh nuts and seeds. Oils can become rancid after roasting and many oils are unstable at high heat. Raw macadamia nuts, flax seeds, blanched almonds, hemp hearts and walnuts are the best nuts to chose. Avocados, cold pressed olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil are other excellent fats to chose.

3. Eliminate (yes completely eliminate) Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates: Excessive sugar, fructose, and refined carbohydrates can lead to insulin resistance, which negatively impacts hormone balance. Opt for complex carbohydrates like purple yams, sweet potatoes, squash, coconut bread, and low glycemic fruits.

4. Include Fiber-Rich Foods without increasing grains: Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels and supports both the balance of hormones, and the elimination of excess hormones through the digestive system (by binding cholesterol and other metabolites), Remember, we can take in lots of fiber without eating excessive grains. Veggies like carrots, cabbage and cruciferous veggies are great sources of fiber. Flax seeds, coconut breads and hemp hearts are a great idea here as well.

5. HEAL Your Gut and bring in fermented foods: A healthy gut is crucial for hormone balance. Fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi provide beneficial probiotics that support gut health. Prebiotic-rich foods like garlic, onions, and asparagus, jerusalem artichoke, flax and avocado also nourish gut bacteria.

6. Stay Hydrated: Proper hydration is essential for all bodily functions, including hormone transport and regulation. Aim to drink at least 8 cups of water daily, and consider herbal teas that support hormone balance, such as spearmint and chamomile .

7. Add Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are a rich source of lignans, a type of phytoestrogen that can help balance estrogen levels in the body.

8. Detoxify from Xenoestrogens: Xenoestrogens are synthetic compounds that mimic estrogen and can disrupt hormonal balance, contributing to estrogen dominance. To detoxify from xenoestrogens, choose organic produce to avoid pesticides, use natural personal care products, and avoid plastics containing BPA. Foods that support detoxification include cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts), which contain compounds that enhance liver detoxification .

Lifestyle Changes for Hormone Balance

Beyond diet, lifestyle factors play a significant role in maintaining hormonal health. Here are some holistic lifestyle changes that can support hormone balance:

1. Reduce and let go of Stress: Stressors will always arise, but our interpretation, internal sense of capacity, resiliency and coping are at times more important than the stress itself. When we heal our nervous system and build capacity and resilience, we can experience stressors and let things go. This is a very healthy natural process. On the other hand, when we are run down, and feeling mental and physically less capable than we could, we tend to feel stress as a chronic, constant pressure. Chronic stress can lead to elevated cortisol and other stress hormone levels levels, which disrupt hormonal balance by using up the building blocks for hormones. There are physical supports and therapies to calm the nervous system and support brain chemistry to build capacity and resilience.

2. Prioritize Quality Sleep: Adequate good quality sleep is essential for hormone regulation. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night by maintaining a regular sleep schedule and creating a relaxing bedtime routine.

3. Move Regularly: Physical activity helps regulate hormones like insulin, cortisol, and endorphins. Go find ways to move that you love! Incorporate a mix of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises into your weekly routine.

4. Avoid Environmental Toxins and Detoxify the Body: Reduce exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics, pesticides, and household products. Choose natural, organic products when possible and opt for glass or stainless steel containers for food and beverages .

5. Support Liver Function: The liver plays a key role in hormone metabolism, balance and detoxification. Foods that support liver health include leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, garlic, and green tea. Avoid excessive alcohol, toxic substances, plastics and processed foods, which can burden the liver.

6. Arrive at your Healthy Weight and Heal your Metabolism. Healing the metabolism is possible! It is a process that begins with the mitochondria, the digestive tract and the insulin system. Ask me about my metabolic healing protocols. Disordered eating and weight struggles contribute to imbalances in the hormone system and the brain chemistry.

7. Consider Testing your Hormones and Brain Chemistry, Including your Body's Stress Response: We can do a comprehensive hormone panel and look at all of your body's current hormone metabolite levels, which opens up options for bio-identical hormone support and customized treatment plans. In the meantime, you can prioritize the whole, organic, nutrient-dense foods as above and you can managing stress, ensure adequate deep sleep, and reduce exposure to toxins. All of this will support your body's natural hormonal harmony.


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