Writing by Karina Marschall // photograph by Diana Simumpande
Do you ever feel like your hormones are calling all the shots in your life? From mood swings that feel like you are on a never ending rollercoaster to energy dips that make you question if you have had any sleep for the last year. We’ve all been there. BUT it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m Karina, a hormone focused Naturopath and I spend my days teaching my clients how to understand and heal their bodies so they can thrive!
I wanted to share my top 7 habits that you should be doing daily so your hormonal orchestra can play in tune! No fancy tests, superfoods or expensive vitamins, just simple everyday practices that will get you on the right path to hormone harmony. Grab a cup of tea and let’s dive right in.
Hormones 101 (so we are all on the same page): in short, hormones are chemical messengers running around your body making things happen. Think of them like a band, you’ve got the drummers, the guitarists, the lead and what not, they are rocking out in your body. Sometimes they are in sync, like a perfectly orchestrated concert but other times their notes are off or they miss their cues and the performance is a flop much like mood swings, energy crashes, acne etc. All these things that we aren’t strangers to.
The good news is we have the power each and every day to be the backstage manager and support our hormonal band to thrive. These tips are serious game changers and they aren’t difficult to do.
Eat protein with every meal
Protein is the building blocks to our hormones, we need a good dose for our hormones to exist and function! It is also super important for keeping your blood sugar levels and mood stable. So check your protein, making sure you are getting a good source of protein with each main meal. Think meats, soy and tofu, eggs, cheese, legumes, beans, nuts, hemp seeds.
Poo every day!
I know, it sounds funny but doing a good poo every single day is so important for our health.
It is one of our main ways of eliminating waste, toxins and old hormones. Not doing it regularly puts you at risk of hormone build up and imbalance. Our gut microbiome is also really important in processing hormones and this is only happy if you poop daily! So check in, see where you are at, the first two steps to healthy bowel motions is to drink plenty of water and eat plenty of fibre.
Move that gorgeous body
Movement and exercise is like a warm hug for your hormones. It releases endorphins which boost your mood and reduce stress, it helps to regulate your blood sugar levels which is especially important for those with mood swings, energy dips and insulin resistance and it helps to get your lymphatics moving which are basically your body’s clean up crew eliminating waste and toxins. Get out in nature, take a walk, do your fave pilates workout or just have a dance party in the kitchen!
Ditch the fragrance (please!)
It’s no secret we live in a toxin filled world, there’s a statistic that the average woman is exposed to 168 chemicals before she even leaves the house in the morning. The problem is that many of these toxins actually contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, meaning they can actually impact or alter the way our natural hormones function, potentially leading to fertility issues, hormone imbalances and more.
A big one I like to get many to ditch first are fragrances. Yep, your perfumes and scented things are just bad news. In fact, many IVF clinics have actually banned perfume because it damages the developing eggs and sperm – so it’s definitely a big one to consider ditching!
Avoid screens before bed
I know I won’t be making any friends with this one, but screen time, whether it’s from phones, tablets, TVs or computers, all emit blue light. This blue light can actually disrupt our circadian rhythm, which impacts our entire sleep wake cycle which is very closely linked to how our other hormones function!
I encourage my clients to set a wind down time, 60 minutes before bed reduce light exposure, have a sleepy time cup of tea and do a little journaling or write your to-do list for the next day. Netflix will still be there tomorrow.
Watch your stress
This one is impossible to avoid completely but I do like to start addressing it. When we are stressed (whether it’s mental or physical stress) our brain signals the release of stress hormones, particularly cortisol, this is great in life or death situations but unfortunately, in the modern world we are under constant stress which means constant cortisol exposure. This can throw off our hormone balance and has been linked to weight gain, irregular periods, fertility issues, PMS and more.
Again, impossible to completely avoid but having some wind-down techniques such as a walk in nature, some breathwork or meditation will make a world of difference to your cortisol levels.
Eat cruciferous veg
You’ve probably been told to eat your veg many times before but I’m here to tell you why it’s so important! Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower and brussel sprouts are packed with a compound called indole-3-carbinol which is a beauty for helping you metabolise and eliminate old hormones via the liver. The fibre in these guys is also fab for supporting that gut microbiome (as mentioned in habit 2!). These powerful veg seriously pack a punch and are well worth popping into your meal plan.
So – how’d you go? Are you doing any already? Are there some that you could slip into your daily routine quite easily?
I wanted to finish this insight off with the important reminder that just because something is common does not make it normal. Unfortunately over time and through the media we have somehow glamorised having imbalanced hormones, mood swings and PMS but it is not something you have to deal with forever.
This is your little reminder that you know your body more than anyone else and if you are thinking something is off then seek support.