When it comes to our our health (men or women), imbalanced hormones and poor gut bacteria have a much bigger relationship than many people know. In fact, these two factors can destroy our health.
Conversely, regulating hormones and fixing gut bacteria can do a lot to boost health, even if diet, supplements or exercise aren’t optimal.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the importance of our gut health and how it effects our physical body as well as our brain. Well, our gut health also affects our hormones.
The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than many of us realize. Not only is the digestive tract the source of many vital neurotransmitters in the body, but an imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in hormones as well. Serotonin, a necessary neurotransmitter for sleep/stress balance is more concentrated in the gut than even the brain! 70% of the immune system is found in the gut and it is quite literally the motherboard of many functions in the body.
So what do we do about it?
When we are struggling with symptoms like poor sleep, digestive issues, headaches, PMS, hot flashes, joint pain, skin eruptions, depression, fatigue and/or weight gain and more, these could mean you need to look at both digestion and hormones.
Where to begin. Here are my suggestions as to where to begin to bring balance to both:
1) Coconut Oil – coconut oil has found to be both great for digestion and hormones. You can use it in coffee, tea or even stir fry.
2) Get enough sleep – sleep is incredibly important and there are some great tools to help you. One would be an app called Insight Timer. With over 3000 different meditations and all free you can’t go wrong. There are many great ones for obtaining a better nights sleep.
3) Proper exercise. We often think that more is better. Working up a great sweat, getting our heart rate up etc. However, studies are beginning to show that when we are trying to create a more balanced state in our body than a moderate approach to exercise is actually more helpful. Easy walks, leisurely swim and gentle yoga are all suggestions you can try.
4) Helpful supplements. First begin by eating whole organic foods (if you’re not already) then begin to add the following supplements; maca powder, Magnesium, Vit. D and Omega 3’s. All great for helping with the symptoms of hormonal imbalances.
5) Limit alcohol consumption. Many women have recognized for quite some time that even one glass of wine can effect sleep and also the severity of hot flashes. Consider having a drink on a special occasion rather than nightly or even every weekend and see if some of your symptoms diminish.
6) Reduce caffeine intake. Caffeine has proven to wreak havoc on our endocrine system. If you must drink it, cut back to one cup in the AM. Begin to switch to a non-caffeinated herbal tea.
7) Reduce or eliminate stress. One of the best ways to do this is to take time everyday for self care. Whether you practice yoga, meditation or sit quietly in your garden every day, it is paramount that you find a way to be still, quiet and calm. Put a pause on life for even 10 minutes a day and you will feel the difference. Stress affects both our digestion and our hormones.
8) Begin each morning with a glass of warm lemon water. Beginning our day with this helps to jump start our digestion in the right direction – cleansing.
None of these are a quick fix. With consistency though, they can help. A few months ago I began to give these tips a try, as they all align with Ayurvedic teachings, and I found them to be very helpful. I’m sleeping better and my hot flashes have diminished immensely, making our hot summers here in the Foothills of Northern CA much more tolerable. I hope they help you too. If not, reach out and I offer a free discovery session to see if working together may hep you!