Raging hormones, hormonal changes, hormonal imbalances. These are the terms we usually hear that are related to hormones but what does this actually mean and why do they have such an impact to our physical and mental well-being?
First, hormones are produced by the glands of the endocrine system. They are used to control and coordinate our body’s internal metabolism, energy levels, reproduction, growth and development; plus our response to injury, stress, and environmental factors! For women, some of the most important hormones are the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Females also produce a small amount of testosterone which is considered a male hormone. Why do hormonal imbalance occur and how can we balance them naturally?
Normally, our endocrine glands produce the exact amount of each hormone that is needed for the different functions in our body. As we age, some hormones decline while some increase thus creating an imbalance of the affected hormones in the bloodstream. Our fast-paced lifestyle also affects the production of hormones which causes profound effects in our mental, physical, and emotional health. The good news is there are many ways to balance our hormones naturally. So YES! Go ahead and read on :)
Eat adequate amounts of protein with every meal - the essential amino acids from protein help balance blood sugars and energy levels. They also maintain muscle, bone, and skin health as well as helping us feel full for longer.
Exercise regularly – the major benefit of exercise is the ability to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is the hormone that enables our cells to take up sugar, which is then used for energy.
Get off sugar and refined carbs – sugary foods, sugary drinks and refined carbs have been known to increase insulin resistance and increase belly fat storage.
Manage your stress – Two major hormones that are affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline. Cortisol is the stress hormone which helps our body cope with stress over time. Adrenaline or epinephrine is our fight or flight hormone that gives us that adrenaline rush when we are in danger. With chronic stress, cortisol levels remain elevated. It is important to devote at least 15 minutes of your time to doing some relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, massage, and listening to soothing music each day.
Consume healthy fats – healthy fats can be found in coconut oil, palm oil and medium-chain triglycerides oil. Monounsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts are also healthy fats. These have shown to increase insulin sensitivity.
Do not overeat or under eat - Just eat according to what your body needs to help maintain hormonal balance and a healthy weight.
Drink green tea – green tea has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels. So have a green tea in your daily drinks!
Eat fatty fish – Ideally, two or more servings per week of fatty fish like salmon, sardines or herrings. They are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Consistent restful sleep – Poor sleep quality has been shown to cause hormonal imbalances in the body. Uninterrupted sleep is very important for our body to recover as well as for the growth hormones to be released (these are mainly released at night during deep sleep). For optimal hormone balance, at least 7 hours of restful, high-quality sleep is needed.
Eat a high-fiber diet – Eating soluble fiber is very important. Aim for at least 600 grams of veggies a day!
Eat eggs as part of your meal or as a snack - e.g. hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are nutritious and may help reduce insulin resistance, help suppress appetite and help you feel full.
So as you can see, what you eat plays a big role. Great news is I have a recipe book for you to help you jumpstart your healthy eating habits.
This free recipe book gives you 5 days of healthy meals and ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks! Click YES, Please! to get your copy. xxx Hannah