Hormonal imbalance is common in people of all age groups specifically during certain stages in life like puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, menopause, ageing. But did you know that even your faulty lifestyle choices could be affecting your hormones and causing chronic diseases? Stress, sedentary routine, fattening foods and insufficient sleep can all lead to hormonal imbalance and in turn unexpected health issues. (Also read: Hormonal imbalance: Nutritionist on how to eat cashews for balancing hormones)
Hormones are chemicals that are produced in endocrine glands and help control many important functions of the body. There are over 50 of them that help in metabolism, growth, reproduction, sexual function, moods, skin and hair health and even sleep. Hormonal imbalance happens when their levels are either lower or higher than required and can lead to many chronic diseases from thyroid, PCOD, diabetes, acne to infertility.
So how do we know if our hormones are not balanced? According to experts any unexplained weight loss or weight gain, fatigue, numbness or tingling in your hands or legs, high blood cholesterol levels, mental health conditions like depression or anxiety could signal imbalance of hormones.
Many lifestyle factors could be affecting your hormones. For optimal hormonal balance, one should be avoiding certain mistakes that could lead your hormones to go haywire.
Ayurveda expert Dr Dixa Bhavsar in her recent Instagram post advises her followers to avoid these hormone disruptors for optimum hormonal balance.
1. Coffee on empty stomach
Love your coffee first thing in the morning to kickstart your day? However, having caffeine before anything else is probably the worst thing you can do to your metabolism and this may lead to every kind of gut and hormonal issues.
Restless mind and body may increase cortisol (stress hormone) which disturbs all other hormones in the body. Peaceful mind (with the help of pranayamas) on the other hand ensures balanced hormones.
Can’t survive without your daily dose of afternoon siesta? This may be affecting your health adversely. Sleeping during the day for more than 30-40 minutes increases kapha dosha in the body which slows your metabolism. Poor metabolism (manda agni) is the major cause of all diseases according to Ayurveda. So, it should be avoided.
4. No fixed meal times
Eating at fixed times daily is mandatory for optimum gut and hormonal health. Eating at improper time confuses your gut and disturbs the release of digestive enzymes and hormones (ghrelin and leptin) which is the major cause of gut issues like acidity, gas, bloating, leaky gut, IBS, etc.
5. Lack of sound sleep
Your liver detoxifies and your body and mind relax when you have sound sleep. The better you sleep, the quicker you heal. Improper or disturbed sleep disrupts your hormones and can lead to gut issues, obesity, irregular periods, etc.
6. Unhealthy foods
Excessive white sugar, alcohol, processed foods, excessive nonveg, leftover and deep-fried foods, fermented foods, gluten and dairy can increase inflammation and disrupt your hormones. You are what you eat and digest. Just limiting these foods can improve your hormonal balance to 70%.
7. Sedentary lifestyle
Lack of exercise leads to weight gain, reduced digestive fire, poor flexibility and laziness which gives rise to metabolic and hormonal disorders.
8. Excessive use of plastic, aluminium and non-stick cookware
They have Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and parabens – chemicals that are endocrine disruptors. Hence it is best to use stainless steel, iron, glass and earthen cookware.