5 Holistic ways to get your hormones back on track
So you're feeling sluggish, huh? Your sex drive is out the window, you're irritable and you're contemplating divorce every three weeks? Don’t worry, you're not slowly going crazy (or at least let's hope not). Chances are, you've just got some hormone balancing to do.
As a women's health practitioner, I consider not only my patients' symptoms, but rather, their whole system. Combining Ayurveda and conventional medicine, it's my goal to heal women's bodies from the inside out, using as many holistic modalities as possible. Do you suspect your hormones are out of whack? If so, let's talk about five ways we can help you get things back on track.
1. Recognize the signs
The first step to fixing a problem is, of course, realizing that you have one. Things like skipped periods, severe mood swings and sudden weight gain aren't normal, so those are your first red flags. Can't shed the weight even with great diet and exercise habits? That's another telltale sign. How about swollen, tender breasts and bloating? If you're not pregnant, then here again, we've probably got a hormonal issue. What I often tell my patients is this: If you can tell something is different in your system, and not in a good way, it's worth a trip to the doctor to discuss possible causes and remedies.
2. Retool your diet
Diet plays a huge role in hormone balance. When we are feeding ourselves healthful, whole foods, we are truly nourishing ourselves and creating an environment for our energy levels, looks and mood to thrive. Calcium and magnesium, found in green leaves, almonds and dairy, ensure adequate mineral balance. Legumes and beans contain critical "signaling" molecules that help the body function properly. Omega-3 fatty acids (think fish or fish oil capsules) are key for mood, memory, heart health and metabolism functionality. And, sorry everyone: You gotta toss that soda. Components of carbonated drinks may contribute to bone loss, undoing the good work you're doing with calcium and magnesium. Find a different drink you love to sip, like green tea, which is notable both for its cancer-fighting and metabolic properties.
3. Take a good supplement
We can't possibly get all the nutrients we need through diet alone, so consider a very high-quality supplement. My top recommendations for women include: a calcium supplement, taken with magnesium, vitamin D3, omega-3 and vitex (i.e. chasteberry) for hormone balance specifically. A good B-complex, as well as black cohosh, both help with hot flashes. One supplement that combines many of my favorites is Asensia, whose formula was proven through scientific studies to help women get their hormones, such as progesterone and estrogen, back into balance.
4. Move (or don't move) your body
We all know that exercise is helpful for weight management, but its internal, chemical effects are nothing short of miraculous. Ditto for mindful meditation: Both practices give your hard-working adrenals a break, and reduce the amount of stress-induced cortisol flowing through your system. Stress places an enormous burden on our immune system, but yoga, a walk in nature, and quiet breathing all help counteract that burden and create the conditions for a healthy body and calmer spirit.
5. Embrace the opportunity to heal
Not all of life's lessons are pleasant, but hey... there's a reason why elder females are considered "wise women" in global cultures. As we continually learn how to take care of ourselves, our relationships blossom, we feel more comfortable in our bodies, and our sexuality gets revitalized. So greet hormone imbalances not as an annoying condition to "fix," but as an opportunity to heal on a deeper level. I encourage you to look forward to the deep satisfaction that comes with a cared-for system.