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When you’re feeling “not yourself” and have no idea why, you probably chalk it up to hormones, right? The crazy thing is you’re probably right!
When most women under 40 hear the word “hormones” it conjures up images of menopause, hot flashes and mood swings. Thing is, from the day that we’re born (long before menopause!), our hormones dictate a plethora of bodily functions like our appetite, sleeping patterns, how we respond to stress, our libido, whether we’re happy or anxious, and everything in between.
Essentially, hormones act as messengers carrying instructions from glands through your bloodstream to all your organs telling them what to do and thereby regulating your bodily functions. So yes, these chemical messengers buzzing around inside you pretty much rule your entire system, influencing appetite, weight, sex drive, and so much more.
The hormones that usually become imbalanced first are cortisol and insulin – The “stress” and “blood sugar” hormones. These “alpha hormones” have a downstream effect on our thyroid, ovarian, and sleep hormones. They disrupt how thyroid hormones, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and melatonin work in the body. Hormones almost exist in a hierarchy. So, once you work on one hormone, the rest will fall in line.
The work that hormones do is subtle – yet when they fall out of balance the effect on your health may be anything but.
So, how could you balance your hormones naturally?
- Incorporate more healthy fats such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 into your diet. Without healthy fats you’re likely to have low leptin levels, which can induce overeating and your inability to feel full.
- Even short exercise sessions will help to regulate hormones that control appetite and reduce the risk of insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes.
- Avoid sugar altogether. It plays a role in metabolic disease and insulin resistance.
- Manage stress. Even low stress levels can cause an endocrine response leading to increased adrenaline and cortisol. If the level of these hormones are to high, it will contribute to changes in mood, obesity and even cardiovascular issues.
- Quit smoking. Smoke alters thyroid levels, stimulate pituitary hormones and raise cortisol levels, which is linked to stress.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep throws your body off balance. 8 hours of sleep will not only increase your glucose metabolism and leptin concentrations, but it will increase your body’s secretion of growth hormones responsible for cell reproduction and regeneration.
- Take a probiotic and incorporate fermented food. Probiotics will help to balance your gut microbiome. A probiotic could also lessen the impact of chronic stressors which is why probiotics are being considered as a form of treatment for those dealing with depression and anxiety.
- Supplement with Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in immune function and inflammatory response. Studies show that there is a link between hypothyroidism and Vitamin D deficiency.
The good news is that a lot of the nasty symptoms caused by a hormone imbalance can be fixed naturally by addressing diet and lifestyle first, before turning to medicine.
But, as always, if you suspect that your symptoms may be related to a hormonal imbalance, speak to your GP.
Source: medicalnewstoday.com, parsleyhealth.com, healthline.com, www.womanshealthmag.com, vogue.com, www.psychologytoday.com, bustle.com, aal4women.co.za, healthcoachfx.com, msn.com, www.oprah.com, maxliving.com
DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.