What’s better than a good hair day?
You know that Good Hair Day feeling? You strut out of the house with confidence, knowing you can take on anything that the world throws at you. You are subtly elated for the whole day, knowing that your hair is on your side.
Now imagine your Good Hair Day on steroids… and that’s what it’s like to experience a Balanced Hormone Day. When your hormones are in equilibrium, you experience improved moods, better energy and glowing skin.
Here are 15 tips you can implement to right now to balance hormones naturally.
1. Balance hormones with a carrot a day
Raw carrots contain a unique fiber that helps detox excess estrogen from the body. Both men and women of all ages (from puberty and older) benefit from this practice, since estrogen dominance – or too much estrogen in the body – is nearly always a component of hormonal imbalances in both sexes. Dr. Ray Peat created this “Carrot a Day” practice to help naturally balance hormones for women who were suffering from PMS:
Several women who suffered from premenstrual symptoms, including migraine, had their serum estrogen measured before and after the “carrot diet,” and they found that the carrot lowered their estrogen within a few days, as it relieved their symptoms. (1)
The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis. (2)
Just be sure to follow these few important guidelines for using carrots to balance hormones. (Hint: no baby carrots or cooked carrots.) Also, if you are struggling with severe PMS, this daily carrot is very helpful but I would also recommend the entire protocol outlined in my book Quit PMS here.
2. Want balanced hormones? Throw out your vegetable oils
Vegetable oils spell bad news if you want to balance hormones. We’ve been told that replacing “old-fashioned, artery-clogging fats” like butter with cholesterol-reducing oils improves health. Wrong.
Rates of heart disease and obesity skyrocketed after we replaced animal fats with margarine and plant oils. Additionally, studies show that a low fat diet increases triglycerides and lowers HDL cholesterol. A meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that there is no evidence that saturated fat causes heart disease.
Vegetable oils are extremely high in omega-6, an inflammatory fatty acid. While a little omega-6 in our diet is necessary, too much wreaks havoc on hormone balance by creating widespread inflammation. According to Paleo nutrition expert Chris Kresser, in general we need to reduce the omega-6 in our diet and increase the omega-3:
[…] The more omega-3 fat you eat, the less omega-6 will be available to the tissues to produce inflammation. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of omega-6 and not much omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of omega-3 and not much omega-6 will reduce inflammation. (Read more)
Ideally, we should be consuming a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3… but most Americans are consuming an average of 10:1 to 20:1! Balance your hormones by paying careful attention to the types of fats you consume. Ditch the vegetable oils and instead enjoy old-fashioned animal fats from pastured/grassfed animals, which provide omega-3s and minimal omega-6.
3. Balance hormones with the moon: Lunaception
This tip is for girls only. Women’s menstrual cycles are wired to be in sync with the moon. In all early societies, before industrialism and processed foods disrupted traditional cultures, women ovulated at the full moon and menstruated at the new moon. This is our default setting, but factors including hormonal birth control, hormonal imbalances, and poot diet disrupt this pattern.
Fortunately, because the female reproductive hormones are so sensitive to light, we can naturally re-train and regulate our menstrual cycle and sex hormones with a simple night lighting technique that mimics the pattern of the moon. I avidly practice this simple routine, called Lunaception, and I explain how to do it here.
4. Eat some blood-sugar-balancing Buttermints!
My Healthy Buttermints recipe provides a dose of nourishing fatty acids to nip sugar cravings in the bud within 5-10 minutes of eating them. This accomplishes two important factors to help balance hormones naturally:
1. These buttermints stabilize your blood sugar due to the healthy fats are accompanied by only a small amount of sugar from raw honey. Instead of eating an inflammation-promoting refined carbohydrate, reach for a few buttermints when a carb craving hits.
2. These buttermints provide fatty acids absolutely essential for hormone balance. The cholesterol, true vitamin A and vitamin K2 found in butter from grass-grazing cows play important roles in hormone synthesis and toxin detox. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil support thyroid health and metabolism. The good fats found in these buttermints does not make you fat. Calorie-for-calorie, these fats provide profound satiation while promoting hormone balance and weight management.
5. Liver: The #1 Superfood to Balance Hormones
Gram for gram, liver is the most nutrient-dense food on the planet. Due to its unique nutritional profile, liver easily deserves the title, “Ideal Superfood to Balance Hormones.”
Most importantly, liver provides the highest source of vitamin A, one of the most valuable vitamins to balance hormones. Vitamin A not only improves thyroid function, it improves liver health so we can synthesize and detox hormones well.
Contrary to popular belief, we cannot obtain vitamin A from vegetables (here are the details), including carrots and sweet potatoes. The beta carotene in veggies must first be converted to vitamin A in the body and this conversion is so poor it is virtually insignificant. Hormonal imbalance further compromises your ability to convert the carotene into useable vitamin A.
Optimally, enjoy 2-4 servings of pastured liver each week. If you abhor the taste of liver, I recommend taking these grassfed desiccated liver capsules daily. 2-6 capsules per day is recommended.
6. Walk in nature
To balance your hormones, you must address your exercise habits. Chronic cardio – jogging, running, spinning classes and even Cross Fit – places undue stress on your body. Prolonged periods of cardio creates free radical damage and spikes stress hormones. Chronic cardio so impairs balanced hormones that those with adrenal fatigue should avoid cardio for a full month.
Walking in nature, on the other hand, provides a restorative yet invigorating exercise ideal for balancing hormones. As a matter of fact, walking in nature has been shown to reduce cortisol levels (a stress hormone) and boost the immune system (3). High cortisol levels create inflammation and perpetuate hormonal imbalance, so reducing cortisol is good news!
Walking also stimulates the lymphatic system to help flush toxins from the body and works a wide range of muscles without undue stress on the body.
7. Infrared sauna therapy
My infrared sauna is my most significant wellness investment, and one I consider well worth the money.
Infrared sauna therapy supports balanced hormones by increasing your metabolic rate. When we increase our core body temperature through heat therapy, then metabolism increases during that period.
An infrared sauna session raises your body temperature 2-3 degrees, depending on the quality of the infrared heat. As a result, you burn up to 600 calories in a single sauna session. The cardio and metabolic benefits of a session are comparable are to a 6 to 9 mile run.
Results I’ve seen from my regular sauna sessions also include improved blood sugar levels and better skin health. I share my sauna experience and recommendation here.
8. Support hormone balance with metabolic hydration
Did you know that Dr. Howard Murad, the skincare expert and creator of Murad skincare, does not recommend drinking 8 glasses of water per day? Instead, he suggests “eating your water” – obtaining nutrient-rich water from fresh fruits and vegetables.
Although we’re told from every corner of the internet to consume 8 glasses of water per day, there is actually no evidence that drinking this much water is beneficial. As Dr. Murad acknowledges, drinking this much water can actually deplete electrolytes and therefore cause dehydration and premature aging of the skin.
I practice metabolic hydration, which I explain here, a very simple and intuitive method of hydration to optimize cellular hydration. Metabolic hydration is an important step for many individuals to help balance hormones naturally, because it supports the thyroid and adrenal glands.
9. Use gelatin to improve hormone balance
Gelatin and collagen hydrolysate, available here, contain a unique profile of healthful amino acids that help balance hormones by complimenting the amino acids we obtain from meat. I’ve discussed the health benefits of gelatin in-depth here, but here’s a quick overview.
Dr. Ray Peat, a hormonal researcher in the field of nutrition and metabolism, describes why muscle meats when consumed without gelatin throw the metabolism out of balance:
When only the muscle meats are eaten, the amino acid balance entering our blood stream is the same as that produced by extreme stress, when cortisol excess causes our muscles to be broken down to provide energy and material for repair. The formation of serotonin is increased by the excess tryptophan in muscle, and serotonin stimulates the formation of more cortisol, while the tryptophan itself, along with the excess muscle-derived cysteine, suppresses the thyroid function.[…]If a person eats a large serving of meat, it’s probably helpful to have 5 or 10 grams of gelatin at approximately the same time, so that the amino acids enter the blood stream in balance. (available here)
By helping to balance the tryptophan, gelatin supports healthy thyroid function and adequate thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones work synergistically with all other hormones in the body – by supporting our thyroid, we support balanced hormones in general.
10. Practice this detox yoga position
While a regular yoga practice – going to a class or simply stretching at home – can improve numerous aspects of health, there is one particular yoga pose that I believe offers a profound ability to balance hormones naturally. It’s called Legs Up The Wall, which describes it pretty accurately! Here’s a picture to show you what the pose looks like – it is suitable for every body type and fitness level.
In this pose, lymphatic circulation in the lower body is maximized. As the “garbage disposal” of the body, the lymphatic system collects and carries lymphatic fluid so the toxins in this fluid can be eliminated from the body. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and relies on our movements and gravity to circulate lymph fluid.
When we sit all day, the lymph fluid becomes stagnant and toxins collect. To balance hormones naturally, we need to eliminate these from the body and keep the lymph flowing. By reversing the flow of gravity in your legs, you circulate the lymphatic fluid and encourage the elimination of toxins.
11. Stop taking hormonal birth control
The hormone-disrupting affects of hormonal birth control may be the reason some of you are reading this post. The Pill and all other forms of hormonal birth control create a cascade of hormonal imbalance in your body by creating nutritional deficiencies and disrupting gut bacteria.
Are you ready to balance hormones and ditch The Pill? Then apply the tips I’ve discussed here to balance hormones and also read these 4 ways to balance hormones post-Pill.
12. Eat egg yolks to balance hormones
We’ve been throwing egg yolks down the drain due to cholesterol-paranoia, but it turns out that the yolk provides the most valuable nutrition.
Here are just a few of the nutrition highlights that allow egg yolks help balance hormones:
- Vitamin A – Like we discussed, we need vitamin A to balance hormones and we can’t get it from vegetables. Egg yolks provides REAL vitamin A!
- Vitamin D – Vitamin D actually works more like a steroid hormone in the body, so it is vital to balanced hormones to receive enough of this fat-soluble vitamin.
- Selenium – Selenium is necessary for the conversion of thyroid hormones from the inactive form to the active form. Egg yolks are nature’s thyroid support supplement, due to the selenium content, vitamin content and healthful fats. (About 40% of the selenium is found in the white and 60% is in the yolk.)
- Cholesterol – Did you know that studies show that low cholesterol shares an extremely strong correlation to depression, suicide and acts of violence? The cholesterol in egg yolks helps balance hormones by providing a mandatory component of sex hormones.
13. Make some magnesium oil to help balance hormones
Magnesium is better absorbed through the skin than the digestive tract, so that’s why magnesium oil is the magnesium supplement of choice recommended by many natural healthcare practitioners. It’s actually a mixture of magnesium chloride flakes (this stuff) dissolved in water.
Dr. Sircus, a leading magnesium researcher and author of Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, says
After oxygen, water, and basic food, magnesium may be the most important element needed by our bodies, vitally important yet hardly known. It is more important than calcium, potassium or sodium and regulates all three of them. Millions suffer daily from magnesium deficiency without even knowing it. (Read more in his article on magnesium deficiency.)
Mineral balance goes hand-and-hand with hormone balance. Want to balance hormones naturally? Make sure you are obtaining and absorbing adequate magnesium! Here’s my guide to making and using magnesium oil. There are a couple application tips that you don’t want to miss in there. For example, applying magnesium oil to your legs after shaving is not a good idea!
14. Boycott soy for hormone balance
Did you know that soy:
- Disrupts hormones by looking like estrogen to the body
- May cause inflammation and leaky gut by inhibiting trypsin, a protein-digesting enzyme
- Is most likely genetically modified (GMO)
Soy milk, soy meat, soy protein, soy-based cereal… all these foods touted as healthy wreak havoc on the body. The Weston A. Price foundation has also collected and summarized a list of studies showing the toxic effects of soy consumption on hormone balance and general health.
Fermented soy, such as miso and tempeh, have the detrimental effects reduced, but I believe these should be only eaten in strict moderation. If you are currently trying to balance hormones, I strongly recommend avoiding even fermented soy.
15. Improve hormones with a hug!
Last but not least, the simplest method of all to help balance hormones naturally: give your significant other a long hug! According to neuroeconomist Paul Zak in his 2011 TedTalk, a 20 second hug with a romantic partner has been shown to spike oxytoxcin, the “Happiness Hormone.”
Are you struggling with hormone balance? Have you used any of these tips?