Are you struggling with mood swings, anxiety, and stubborn weight gain even you are following a “perfect” diet and exercise program? Maybe your hormones are off balance.
Today women are facing increased stress due to the fast pace lifestyle in this modern society, stress elevates cortisol level. Cortisol is released from your adrenal gland in response to stress. Excess Cortisol not only slows down your metabolism, breaks down your muscle and increases fat storage, but also increases your food cravings for fast foods. Worse than that, Cortisol competes with progesterone for the common receptors in the cells, as the result, progesterone is squeezed out. The key function of progesterone is to aid pregnancy, but progesterone also plays an important role in bone health, weight management and calming effect on the mood.
Progesterone starts to rise after ovulation and flies beautifully along with estrogen around women’s menstrual cycles, and progesterone helps balance the dominant effect of estrogen. When the high cortisol is taking over progesterone, women may suffer from the side effect of estrogen dominance, such as mood swings, anxiety, and premenstrual syndrome.
What is your body telling you?
Both men and women have the feminine side and masculine side. It is called “Yin” and “Yang” accordingly in Chinese medicine; it forms a dynamic system that the body as a whole is greater than the parts. The feminine energy is intuitive, caring, giving, nurturing and receptive, while the masculine energy is logic, unemotional, independent and task orientated. Maintaining harmony between the feminine and masculine is a key to our wholeness. When we are not in touch with our body and ignore the messages from our body, the balance between feminine and masculine or Yin and Yang can be affected. Consequently, it can affect our hormone balance and health conditions.
What to do to balance your hormones and prevent un-necessary weight gain?
- Limit sugar and refined carbohydrates. Sugar causes imbalanced prostaglandins, which can create chronic inflammation in our body and elevates Cortisol level. Focus on fiber rich foods such as fruits and vegetables and legumes.
- Follow a plant-based diet that is rich in phytoestrogens, they are plant compounds with estrogen-like They compete for the same estrogen receptors throughout our body, thus decrease the excessive estrogen in our body. Phytoestrogen-rich foods are soybeans, tofu, flax seeds, berries, oats, barley, legumes, wheat germ, and fruits such as apples and apricots, etc.
- Add healthy fat in your diet. Both estrogens and progesterone are made from cholesterol. Your body certainly needs cholesterol to make these hormones. Make sure that you add a sufficiently amount of healthy fat, such as monounsaturated fat from avocado and olive oils and omega-3 fats from salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts. Coconut oil is also a type of healthy fat, which contains medium chain triglycerides that can be broken down more easily in your body and utilized more efficiently. These are just a few examples.
- Choose organic foods, organic foods are tastier, more nutritious and also environmentally friendly.
- Take liver cleansing herbs such as aloe juice and milk thistle, etc. It will help remove toxins from our body as the liver is an important center of detoxification.
Xenohormones are pollutants from outside of the body that has hormone-like and estrogen-like activities. Exposure to these substances can have an impact on our natural hormonal balance. Sources of Xenohormones are as follows:
- Petroleum based solvents and pesticides.
- Petroleum-based cosmetics, fingernail polish, and soaps
Reduce stress and listen to your body
- Slow down when you are in constant action mood, which may indicate that your masculine energy becomes dominant.
- Get in touch with nature such as walking in the forest and strolling on the beach, this will help you be in touch with your feminine side, such as your intuition and feelings.
- Practice yoga and meditation on a regular basis, which will help balance “Yin” and “Yang”.
- Pick up your childhood interests and hobbies such as painting, dancing, singing and writing, this will help boost your creative energy and open your sacral chakra. Sacral chakra is located near tailbone and above the root chakra, it is associated with emotions, creativity, and reproductive function, and it plays an important role in balancing your feminine and masculine energy.
To learn more tips to balance your hormone, read 23 simple and effective tips to stop PMS (Premenstrual Syndromes).
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Dr. John Lee’s Hormone Balance Made Simple. John R. Lee, M.D. and Virginia Hopkins. 2006.
“Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life.”– Marilu Henner