Hormones play a major role in so many aspects of our lives. They control our emotions, behavior, energy levels, and food cravings.
Today, unfortunately, more and more people suffer from various hormone imbalances.
While you should seek medical help for severe hormone problems, mild hormone imbalance can be treated by changing your diet and lifestyle habits.
In this article, we’ll cover the ways you can balance your hormones naturally.
But first, let’s talk about hormones.
What are Hormones?
You have about 50 different hormones and all of them regulate different bodily functions.
For example, the “female” hormones estrogen and progesterone regulate things like your menstrual cycle and your body weight. Testosterone in men controls their sex drive, muscle mass, and strength.
Other hormones include:
- Insulin - regulates your blood sugar
- Serotonin - controls your mood
- Cortisol - affects your stress levels
- Thyroid hormones - optimize your metabolism
Balanced hormones can improve your weight loss efforts and make you feel healthy and energized. By contrast, a hormone imbalance can turn your life upside down.
What Is the Reason for Hormonal Imbalance?
Some hormonal imbalances occur naturally throughout your life. Hormone levels change during puberty, your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause.
However, hormone imbalance in both women and men can occur as a result of external factors or lifestyle choices.
Some of these factors include:
- Toxins - The products we use like plastic bottles and bags have chemicals (like BPA) that can affect your endocrine system (which contains the glands that produce hormones) and disrupt your hormone balance.
- Stress - When you’re often dealing with stressful situations, your body starts producing more cortisol and less of the other vital hormones. This might lead to weight gain, fatigue, and a weaker immune system.
- Your diet - Consuming foods high in sugar, for example, can disrupt your insulin balance. Out of synch insulin levels affect other vital hormones.
- Medications you’re taking - Some medications like birth control pills contain synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone and affect your menstrual cycle.
What Are Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance?
Some signs of hormone imbalance include:
- Brain fog
- Weight changes
- Changes in appetite
- Low libido
- Digestive problems
- Adrenal fatigue
- Brittle nails
- Thin hair
- Dry skin
These hormone imbalance symptoms will vary depending on which hormones are affected.
So, let’s see how you can naturally bring your hormones back to their normal levels!
21+ Ways to Balance Hormones Naturally (For Men & Women)
#1. Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Consuming high amounts of sugar can catapult your insulin levels and lead to insulin resistance.
Insulin helps turn glucose into energy and maintains steady blood sugar levels. The more sugar you consume, the more insulin you produce.
With an excess of insulin in your system, your cells stop responding to it and become insulin resistant. The result is high blood sugar levels that your cells can't convert into energy. This response might lead to developing type 2 diabetes.
The recommended daily sugar intake for women is 25 grams and for men - 37.5 grams.
To reduce your sugar intake , you can substitute refined sugar, honey, and fructose with natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit extract.
#2. Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats are an important part of a nutritious diet. They improve your metabolism, aid weight loss efforts, and decrease insulin resistance.
Healthy fats like medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are directly processed by your liver which turns them into energy.
Some healthy fats you can include in your diet are olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and salmon (also rich in omega-3 fatty acids).
Such foods also decrease the inflammation in your body and stimulate the release of hormones that make you feel full for longer.
Healthy fats also stimulate the production of the hormone pregnenolone which takes part in the synthesis of other vital hormones like estrogen, DHEA, progesterone, and testosterone.
Aim for about 40-70 grams of healthy fats in your daily diet.
#3. Take Hormone Balance Supplements
With the lifestyle and diet changes you’ll be making to improve your hormone balance, you can also include a natural supplement.
This way, you’ll have a higher chance to improve mild hormone imbalances and avoid the use of more serious hormone medications.
Go With The Flow
Go With The Flow can help women regain their hormone balance with just 4 ingredients directly harvested from nature.
This natural supplement includes Maca, Black Cohosh, Chasteberry, and Dong Quai. This powerful herbal mix can normalize your estrogen levels and boost your libido.
Additionally, you’ll no longer experience severe PMS symptoms like bloating, acne, and mood swings.
Just take 2 capsules a day after your meal.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Adaptogenic herbs contain hormone-balancing properties. If you have high levels of a certain hormone, Ashwagandha will lower it. If a hormone’s level is too low, the adaptogen will increase it.
As an effective supplement, it can lower very high blood sugar levels (if you’re insulin resistant) and it can boost testosterone levels and fertility in men.
Ashwagandha is used to reduce inflammation and reduce high cortisol levels.
This makes it a perfect pill to improve your overall hormone balance.
Take 3 capsules daily.
#4. Manage Stress
When you’re under stress your adrenal glands produce more:
- Cortisol - produced in everyday stressful situations
- Adrenaline - produced in emergency situations
If you deal with stress on a daily basis, your cortisol levels will be constantly high and you might experience symptoms of adrenal fatigue and weight gain.
The result of chronic stress leads to tiredness and the urge to snack more often because your body needs more energy to function properly.
Some stress-relieving techniques can reduce cortisol levels and increase the production of serotonin.
Some effective natural mood boosters and relaxing activities include:
- Listen to uplifting music
- Take a relaxing bath
- Go to a spa
You can take up any other activity that makes you feel good and helps you release tension.
Commit to your favorite activity for up to 10-15 minutes a day to feel its effect.
#5. Get Enough Sleep
Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
Otherwise, your body’s circadian rhythm will be disrupted and your cortisol levels will increase.
Additionally, lack of sleep will require more energy from your body to function throughout the day. You’ll produce more of the hunger hormone ghrelin and you’ll have more cravings for high-calorie foods.
Your sleep also affects hormones like insulin, leptin, prolactin, and the growth hormone.
A lack of quality sleep can also weaken your immune system because you don’t get enough recovery time.
For quality sleep, try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Ensure your bedroom is dark and cool at night so you can fall asleep easier.
#6. Include Protein in Your Diet
Protein-rich foods provide your body with essential amino acids that it can’t make on its own.
These amino acids play an important role in the production of hormones related to your appetite. They reduce the production of the hunger hormone ghrelin while making you feel full more quickly and for a longer time.
Proteins help muscle growth, improve your skin health, and increase your bone strength. Protein foods also take more time to digest and they are low in calories. They are a great addition to your diet, especially if you want to lose weight.
Protein-rich foods include:
- Lean meats
- Dairy products
Or you can drink a delicious protein shake once a day as a healthy snack.
You should consume about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of your body weight.
#7. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks you can include in your diet. It boasts multiple health benefits due to its antioxidant properties and its ability to increase your metabolism.
Green tea is good for your heart health, brain function, and weight loss. It can also increase your insulin sensitivity and reduce your blood sugar levels.
You can enjoy 1 to 3 cups a day of this healthy and delicious drink. Keep in mind that green tea also contains caffeine and you might have to reduce your intake of coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
Want to try other hormone balance teas besides green tea? Our guide has you covered!
#8. Reduce Inflammation in Your Body
High cortisol levels can cause other hormone imbalances. If you have constantly high cortisol levels, you might suffer from long-term inflammation.
In this case, inflammation might lead to other serious conditions like diabetes and metabolic diseases.
You can reduce inflammation by:
- Improving your diet (fewer carbs and more anti-inflammatory foods like fatty fish, avocados, berries)
- Taking anti-inflammatory supplements like Ashwagandha
- Exercising more
#9. Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber can help you feel full for a longer time because it produces hormones to suppress your appetite. This effect makes fiber a great addition to your diet, especially if you’re trying to lose weight.
Fiber can also reduce blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. For this reason, after a high-carb meal you can consume some fiber-rich foods to reduce the blood sugar spikes.
Fiber also helps eliminate excessive amounts of estrogen and normalize your estrogen levels.
Some fiber-rich foods include:
- Wholegrain cereal
You should eat about 25-30 grams of fiber daily.
#10. Eat Fatty Fish Regularly
Fatty fish like salmon, herring, and mackerel can reduce inflammation because they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Fatty fish can lower your body’s insulin resistance. It also decreases levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine.
Additionally, fatty fish’s benefits include:
- High-protein content
- Iodine to support the proper function of your thyroid gland
- Vitamin D to regulate your insulin and thyroid hormone balance
- Improved heart and brain health
- Better sleep quality
Try to eat fatty fish at least twice a week or take an omega-3 supplement.
#11. Regulate Your Portion Sizes
Do you often find yourself eating long after you feel full?
Overeating is a common tendency for many people and it can negatively affect not only your weight but also your insulin levels.
When eating more than you need, your cells become insulin resistant, which can potentially lead to diabetes and obesity.
To avoid overeating, try to:
- Eat from smaller plates
- Have a glass of water before your meal
- Eat regularly
On the other hand, undereating is just as bad. When you don’t give your body the nutrients it needs, you put it under stress and your cortisol levels rise.
To stop undereating you can always carry some small snacks with you and reach for them whenever you start getting hungry.
#12. Get Enough Probiotics
Some hormones (like serotonin) are produced in your gut. Maintaining good gut health can improve your hormone balance.
If you don’t eat enough probiotic foods, your gut flora changes (not enough good gut bacteria). You might experience different digestive problems and even unlock a condition called leaky gut.
This result occurs when some bacteria and toxins leak through the gut into your bloodstream. This can cause inflammation and affect the production of other hormones too.
Probiotics also regulate the production of insulin.
Probiotic-rich foods include:
- Pickled veggies
#13. Avoid Refined Carbs
Refined carbs like pastries, pizza, pasta, and white bread can increase your insulin levels and contribute to insulin resistance.
Additionally, refined carbs increase inflammation and affect other hormones like your cortisol levels and thyroid hormones. This result might lead to weight gain, diabetes, and other health problems.
However, a low-carb diet with whole foods like whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies can normalize your insulin levels.
Check out these estrogen foods that you can eat if you actually have low estrogen levels!
#14. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils have a positive effect on your hormone balance. Some of them, like lavender, have relaxing and soothing effects to reduce your stress hormone levels. Other oils are particularly useful for women seeking an estrogen boost.
- Clary sage
- Ylang Ylang
You can pick your favorite essential oil, mix it with water, and put it into a diffuser for a gentle calming aroma throughout the whole day. Or you can mix it into a carrier oil and use it for massages.
You can also search for natural cosmetics containing essential oil extracts.
#15. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Sugary drinks like soda and juice are even worse than sugar snacks.
Soda drinks and juices increase insulin resistance and blood sugar levels.
They have a high-calorie content but they don't make you feel full. As a result, you end up consuming more calories. They also increase belly fat and consuming them regularly can lead to significant hormonal weight gain.
Avoiding sugary drinks can normalize your insulin levels and cut out empty calories (which lead to).
Check out this list of hormone balance drinks that you can turn to instead!
#16. Quit Smoking
Smoking comes with numerous health risks like cancer, heart, and lung diseases.
Smoking also greatly affects your hormone balance. In fact, cigarettes can increase your cortisol levels and imbalance your thyroid hormones. They can also increase testosterone and lower estrogen levels in women.
#17. Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can increase your blood sugar levels and cause a spike in your insulin.
Small amounts of alcohol can be healthy for women because it boosts estrogen levels.
However, for men, consuming alcohol on a regular basis decreases the testosterone levels and lowers the amount and mobility of sperm.
#18. Be Careful with Dairy Products
Consuming dairy products is vital for your bone health and it can even lower the risk of obesity.
However, a recent study has found that dairy might not be as good for women.
Researchers have connected the consumption of dairy products with anovulation (missing ovulation) and an imbalance in their reproductive hormones. However, further research is required to confirm this claim.
#19. Avoid Toxic Ingredients
You might not even notice but toxins are in many of the products we use.
Plastic bottles and plastic bags contain BPA (bisphenol A) which mimics estrogen. This ingredient might sabotage the production of estrogen in your body. As a result, your ovulation might be disrupted. And in excess amounts, BPA can lead to infertility.
Other toxins include the chemicals sprayed on mass-produced vegetables and fruits.
Toxic ingredients contained in personal care and household products are DEA, parabens, and formaldehyde.
To reduce the number of toxic ingredients you come into contact with:
- Avoid using plastic bottles and bags. Instead, use a reusable glass bottle and paper or cloth bags.
- Buy organic produce.
- Buy products made with safe ingredients.
#20. Get Enough Vitamins
You might experience hormone imbalance if you’re missing some key vitamins from your diet. These vitamins include:
- Magnesium - improves your sleep quality and circadian rhythms. It also alleviates menstrual cramps.
- Vitamin D - supports normal levels of insulin and thyroid hormones.
- Vitamin B3 - improves symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression while helping your muscles to relax.
- Vitamin B6 - supports the creation of some neurotransmitters that might stabilize PMS symptoms like mood swings and irritability.
- Vitamin C - promotes the production of estrogen and progesterone.
- Vitamin E - has antioxidant properties that can alleviate stress and menopause symptoms like night sweats, hot flashes, and vaginal dryness.
- Zinc - supports the production of thyroid hormones and promotes a healthy thyroid gland.
#21. Avoid Bright Light at Night
Exposure to bright light from your computer screen or your phone at night can decrease the levels of melatonin in your body.
In turn, this action will disrupt your sleep cycle and it can affect the production of other vital hormones.
Try to limit your exposure to light during the night as much as possible to improve your circadian rhythm and hormone balance.
Exercising boasts multiple health benefits.
Regular physical activity can balance your insulin levels. This activity reduces the risk of developing conditions like diabetes, obesity, and heart diseases.
Exercising also promotes the production of the growth hormone, controls your appetite, and can improve your metabolism.
Exercising is great for men who want to boost testosterone. With aging, the testosterone levels in males tend to gradually decrease.
For women during menopause, staying physically active is a great metabolic boost. Women who enter menopause might notice their metabolism rate slows down and they might gain weight.
And the good news is you can do whatever sport or physical activity you like the most. You can:
- Do weight lifting
- Go to spin classes
- Go dancing
- Do aerobics
- And many others...
But if you experience chronic stress and have very high cortisol levels, you might want to stay away from high-intensity sports.
Instead, you can go for more relaxing ones like:
Your hormone balance can be affected by many external factors and lifestyle habits. Making small changes to your daily routine and diet can significantly improve your hormone levels.
This way you can avoid using synthetic hormone medications and you can develop healthy habits to improve your hormone balance and make you feel good.