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This is part 2 of our series on 9 ways to Balance Your Hormones Naturally. If you missed Part 1 of the series on hormone health, you can read it here. Hormone health really is the most important aspect of a woman’s health! In Part 2, I will discuss the research on sleep, diet and exercise and the important action steps you can take to balance your hormones and achieve radiant health.
SleepSleep is one of the most important activities for your body alongside breathing, hydration and food. Inadequate sleep leads to an increase in cortisol and sugar cravings. A study by Trenell, M et al, 2007, found the less sleep you have the more insulin resistant you get, this promotes hunger as a stress response.
Action steps you can follow:
- Try a chamomile tea before bed, and make sure you have good sleep hygiene.
- This includes the removal of all external lights, make sure the room is darkened and set at a temperature your body feels comfortable.
- Avoid screen time 30 minutes before bed.
DietDid you know your gut produces many hormones? When your gut isn’t functioning well, it can cause hormone imbalances Increasing fibre in your diet helps the gut to sweep away toxins and other garbage from the GI. This allows the gut to regulate hormones for appetite and energy. A study by Huber-Buchholz, H, H., et al (1999), found overweight women who lost 11% of central body fat showed an improvement in insulin sensitivity leading to normal ovulation. It’s important to treat your body like a high performance car, by providing it with the correct fuel.
Action steps you can follow:Consume foods high in fibre such as:
- Whole grains
- Green leafy vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Artichokes, bitter gourd, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, kale, zucchini squash, celery and parsley, these are not only a good source of fibre and vitamins A, C, iron and potassium but they also lower blood glucose levels and aid in weight loss (high fibre foods keeps you fuller for longer)
ExerciseSuch an essential part of everyone’s daily habits, exercise not only keeps the body mobile and blood flowing, but it aids in stress relief and naturally supports hormone heath by helping to balance blood sugar levels. Depending on your level of stress depends on the type of exercise that is better suited to you. High intensity exercise can increase cortisol when already highly stressed. In this case a gentle exercise such as a brisk walk or a kind yoga practice would be much more beneficial.
Action steps you can follow:
- Incorporate at least 30 minutes exercise into your daily routine, as exercise improves insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and fat tissue. Exercise also reduces body weight, lowers blood pressure, lowering triglyceride levels and increasing high density lipoproteins (HDL) levels