Given our modern fast-paced lifestyle, hormonal chaos has been disrupting our bodies’ state of Zen more than ever before. Add in the aging factor, and hormones can sway dramatically in either direction. Unexplained weight gain, fatigue, muscle aches, depression, infertility, increased sensitivity to temperatures, feeling out of sorts, and anxiety are only some of the ill effects of your hormones gone wild leading to endocrine disorders.
What are Hormones and what are their functions?
Hormones are those messengers that keep the communication between our body systems going so that their delicate equation stays intact. They level our temperatures, optimize tissue function, moderate our growth and development, mediate our fertility, regulate metabolism and respiration, and influence our mood.
They are controlled by the endocrine system and play quite the part when it comes to sending out signals when you’re sleepy, stressed, and hungry among other things. But, endocrine disorders can tip their balance leading to many health and wellness issues.
Now, we all know prevention is better than cure. So, here are some ways you can ensure to stay out of hormonal disorders.
Start with your gut – Food for hormones
Your gut bacteria has a way of conquering thyroid autoimmune antibodies and moderating progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone. A hormone balancing diet complete with veggies, fruits, and whole foods aid the good microbes in your stomach make hormones you need.
Throw in some fermented foods like kefir and yogurt; healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil; high fiber foods such as sprouted whole grains and legumes; and prebiotic foods such as oats and bananas, and your gut and your hormones will thank you!
Most of you are aware of probiotic foods. They are the good bacteria in your stomach that promote good health by killing bad bacteria that cause infection and disease. However, prebiotic foods are not actually foods containing good bacteria. They are soluble and fermentable fibres that promote the growth of the good bacteria. Prebiotics are non-digestible fibres that are processed in the large intestine (colon).
Some prebiotic food sources:
- Potato skin
- Apple cider vinegar
Avoid trouble with sugar
Sugar has been known to be the bad guy when it comes to weight gain. But did you also know excessive sugar in the diet can throw your hormone levels off? Insulin and leptin resistance are hugely possible. It can lead to diabetes, stroke, high cholesterol, PCOS, and heart disease. By all means, avoid a diet that has truckloads of sugar – not just the sweet treats, but refined carbs as well.
Keep your stress levels in check
None of us are immune to stress considering we all deal with less-than ideal situations on a daily basis. This includes both emotional strain from major upsets and physical facets such as extreme dieting or exercising. All these chronic stress inducers get your body to use up the progesterone and convert it to cortisol so it is better equipped to deal with your pangs.
But it is essentially taking away from the sex hormone system and putting the balanced oestrogen-progesterone levels into trouble. So consider meditating, playing music, or taking a stroll in nature to keep those stress levels low to keep those endocrine diseases at bay.
Make time to exercise
Exercise can kick a host of health issues to the curb. So, it is only fitting that working out will keep those fluctuations from attacking our stress levels and insulin. At minimum, aim at moderate-intensity exercising for 150 minutes a week.
Sleep it off
Like everything else, hormones follow a schedule! Cortisol for instance is regulated at midnight which mean if you don’t go to bed on time, you really can’t get a break from your stress response. It can wreak havoc to your natural circadian rhythm and affect the serum levels of several hormones such as prolactin, glucocorticoids, and growth hormone. Getting enough shut-eye and maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle is essential to keep hormone function at its peak.
Apart from following these tips, get endocrinology tests from time to time to ensure the levels are where they should be.