5 Tips to Balance Your Hormones
Hormone health in women is crucial to lifelong health, disease prevention and maintaining a good quality of life. However, when hormone levels are out of control or dysregulated, it can have negative consequences on the whole body. So, what can you do to support your hormone health?
Your body’s internal stress system operates to help your body deal with stressful situations. However, if this system is activated over a prolonged amount of time, normal hormone secretion and organ function are negatively impacted (1). Some techniques to reduce stress in your life include:
-reading a book
-drawing a relaxing bath
– starting a daily gratitude journal
-taking a daily walk
-maintaining a work-life balance
-ensuring that you are getting good quality sleep
All the things that reduce stress in your daily life actually affect your body right down to a cellular level!
Regular exercise has been associated with a significant decrease in circulating sex hormones 2 and has also been shown to buffer age-related reactivity of the body's stress hormones in women as we age 3 .
Any added activity is beneficial for your health, and can include yoga, resistance training, walking, doing chores, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and reducing sedentary time. (4)
Ditch the nicotine
Nicotine has an antiestrogenic effect in women which could lead to fertility issues, interference with hormonal birth control, worsened menopausal symptoms and a host of other hormonal disturbances
affecting the thyroid, adrenal glands and ovaries. (5) This healthy choice also reduces your risk of heart and lung diseases, certain cancers, premature death, and more. (6)
Eating a healthy diet
A diet rich in phytoestrogens, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids supports hormonal health. (7)
Here is a list of foods that support your hormones (8,9)
-fruits & vegetables
– legumes (dried beans, lentils, beans, peas, soybeans)
-whole grains (breads, cereals, pastas, etc.)
-flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts
-fish (such as salmon and tuna)
-Omega-3 rich milk and eggs
Also, eating foods that contribute to a low/ healthy glycemic index will likewise support healthy hormonal health. (1,7) Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates, sugar–sweetened/ soft drinks, increasing whole grains, and not skipping a nutritious breakfast all contribute to a hormone-healthy diet. (1)
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1. Guilliams, E. & Edwards, L. (2010). Chronic Stress and the HPA Axis: Clinical Assessment and Therapeutic Considerations. The Standard: A Review of Natural & Nutraceutical Therapies for Clinical Practice, 9, 2. https://www.pointinstitute.org/wp- content/uploads/2012/10/standard_v_9.2_hpa_axis.pdf
2. Ennour-Idrissi, K., Maunsell, E. & Diorio, C. (2015). Effect of physical activity on sex hormones in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized control trials. Breast
Cancer Research, 17. 139. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13058-015- 0647-3
3. Traustadottir, T., Bosch, P.R., & Matt, K.S. (2005). The HPA Axis Response to Stress in Women: effects of aging and fitness. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 30, 4. https://doi- org.subzero.lib.uoguelph.ca/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2004.11.0 02
4. Government of Canada. 2018. "Physical activity and your health". Accessed on: https://www.canada.ca/en/public- health/services/being-active/physical-activity-your-health.html
5. Jandikova, H., Duskova, M & Starka, L. (2017). The Influence of Smoking and Cessation on the Human Reproductive Hormonal Balance. Physiol Res, 66.
6. Government of Canada. 2016. "Risk of smoking". Accessed from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health- canada/services/smoking-tobacco/effects-smoking/smoking- your-body/risks-smoking.html
7. Hyman, M. 2007. The Life Cycles of Women:
Restoring Balance. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 13. 3. 10- 16. https://d1wqtxts1xzle7.cloudfront.net/60411229/Lifecyles- of-Women20190827-23522-fyryzx-with cover-page- v2.pdf?Expires=1645718084&Signature=UkWUEoMutkYcZExACE
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8. Government of Canada. (2019)."Fibre". https://www.canada.ca/en/health-
9. Heart & Stroke Foundation. (2021). "The benfits of omega-3 fats: How they help you and how to get enough". Accessed on: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/articles/the-benefits-of- omega-3-fats