Balancing hormones are critical for managing or reversing any type of autoimmune condition like Hashimotos Thyroiditis, even if your autoimmune disease seems far removed from your hormones.
The body is a complex network of systems that all interact with each other; the hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy, and nervous systems, for example, all rely on and influence each other. When one system goes down, it can take the others down with it too. And inversely, when one system is balanced, it can help to balance the others.
Did You Know…
Estrogen can drive your thyroid out of balance, burden your liver’s detox capacity or impact your digestive system?
Cortisol helps to reduce inflammation, regulate blood sugar and energy levels?
Progesterone has a protective effect on your intestinal (aka gut) lining?
Or that Testosterone deficiency has been linked to autoimmune disease and an increase in inflammatory markers, such as C-Reactive Protein (CRP)?
When we look at how autoimmune conditions come to be, it’s easy to start putting the pieces together and see how balancing your hormones is an essential piece of the puzzle.
What Causes Autoimmunity?
As discussed in our How to Treat Autoimmune Disease blog, there are 3 major pieces of the autoimmune puzzle:
- Genetic pre-disposition
- Chronic inflammation, leading to an overwhelmed immune system and dysfunctional intestinal tract (aka leaky gut)
- An environmental trigger which triggers the immune troops to attack
Are you starting to see the connection between your hormones, inflammation, the immune system, and intestinal health as it relates to autoimmunity?
If you’ve been struggling to get your autoimmune issue under control, balancing your hormones could be a missing piece to your health puzzle!
Simple Things You Can Do For Balancing Hormones
Eat A Hormone Balancing Diet
The foods you choose to eat will either burden or balance your hormonal system. Inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, and alcohol, or ones that you are personally sensitive to, can negatively impact your cortisol rhythm and downstream disrupt estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones. Therefore, eating an anti-inflammatory diet will help to keep your hormones happy.
Additionally, there are some very specific foods that help to naturally balance hormones. For example, the body needs healthy fats containing LDL cholesterol and a variety of vitamin B foods to produce hormones.
Healthy sources of LDL containing fats include items such as:
- Cold-pressed organic oils
- 100% grass-fed and finished organic hormone-free beef and related products
- Free-range organic hormone-free poultry and eggs
- Organic avocados, olives, nuts, seeds, and coconut products
- Wild-caught fresh fish or packaged in non-toxic containers
As a bonus, grass-fed, organic, hormone-free beef is high in vitamin B too! You can also get a great variety of vitamin B from dark, leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli.
And incorporating a range of cruciferous vegetables will help to specifically promote balanced estrogen levels. Look to include some of these into your diet regularly:
- Bok Choy
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Mustard Greens
Sleep In Sync with Your Hormones
Have you ever noticed that even when you get 8️ hours of sleep or allow yourself to sleep in after a late night, you just don’t seem to wake up feeling as rested?
Our body is on an internal time clock according to the sun cycle. Based on this internal timer, our body has specific times of day when it does critical functions to help keep our hormones balanced.
From 10pm to 2am, the body releases human growth hormone to repair damaged tissues or cells and create new cells. This is also when cortisol levels are at their lowest and melatonin hormone peaks to support restful sleep. From 2am to 4am is when the liver and gallbladder get to work detoxifying to release toxins.
If we miss these windows of sleep, our body does not shift its internal clock, we simply miss out on these important functions, and our hormones take a hit. Constantly staying up late can completely flip the cortisol rhythm, mess with melatonin production, and disrupt the rest of your hormones.
Obviously, there are some fun-filled and valid reasons to miss some shut-eye occasionally, but the goal is to sleep in sync with your hormones most of the time.
Your hormones will love you for being in bed by 10pm or earlier and sleeping through until at least 4am to sync with their natural sun-guided rhythm.
We often think of exercise as a good thing; it helps us to build stronger bones, muscles, release stress, and improve overall health. While generally this is true, if the body is in a depleted state, certain types of exercise can deplete it even more and lead to hormonal imbalances.
Instead of being rigid and attached to your exercise routine, consciously check in with your body to see what type of exercise it needs each day to support balancing your hormones. What does this mean exactly?
Wake up feeling tired
Had a stressful week
Ate some inflammatory foods
Got exposed to some toxins
Or generally don’t feel 100% for some reason
Give yourself permission to do less intense exercise such as walking, yoga, or Pilates so you can still move your body without depleting it and negatively impacting your hormones.
Let It All Go
We can all feel the effects of stress whether it shows up as anxiety, irritability, exhaustion, neck pain, headaches, or something else for you. If you can feel it in these kinds of ways, just think of how it could be impacting your hormones.
Cortisol is commonly known as the stress hormone. When stressed, your body releases cortisol in response. What most people don’t know is that Cortisol is at the cornerstone of regulating all of your other hormones as well, which is why long periods of stress can contribute to hormone imbalances.
Having a daily practice to release stress and “let it all go” will help you in naturally balancing hormones. This could be as easy as spending 5 minutes to:
- Journal about your day
- Meditate in a way that works for you
- Focus on your breathing
The more consistently you practice letting it all go, the more resilient you’ll become to the daily stressors of life, meaning they will have less of an impact on your hormones.
Ultimately, the key to naturally balancing hormones is being able to check in with your body at any point in time and give it exactly what it needs to feel your best, whether that’s the right types of foods, sleep, exercise, or a little stress relief.
What’s the number one takeaway you got from this blog to help you naturally balance your hormones? Leave us a comment below, we would love to know!