Hormone is part of the endocrine system important for coordination and maintenance of many vital functions. An imbalance of hormones can cause marked changes in the body and overall health. There are things you can do to help restore or balance them.
Hormones exert their effects on your emotional, mental, and physical health. As chemical messengers, they play vital roles, including regulating your appetite, controlling your mood and weight, just to mention a few. Your endocrine glands, situated at different places, normally release the exact amount of hormone for a particular function or process in your body. However, hormonal imbalance has currently become a common problem, with some hormones depleting with age. The good news is that your diet and some lifestyle modifications may help support your hormonal health. This article will talk about the things you can do to balance your hormones naturally.
1. Get Enough Protein From Your Diet
Getting enough supply of protein in every meal is critically important. Your diet is a sure source of essential amino acids, which you must obtain from your diet as your body is not able to make them. Essential amino acids are important for strong bones, maintenance of skin, and muscle health. In addition, protein regulates the production of hormones that influence food intake and appetite. Studies suggest that getting enough protein limits the production of ghrelin – a hunger hormone, and increase the production of PYY and GLP-1 – hormones that promote the feelings of fullness. To help balance your hormones of hunger and fullness, you need to consume at least twenty to thirty grams of protein at every meal. This is achievable, and all you need to do is include high-protein foods in every meal.
2. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise can have profound effects on your hormonal health. The main notable benefit of exercise is increased insulin sensitivity and lowered levels of insulin. Insulin is one hormone that plays several roles in your body. It stimulates cells to pick up amino acids and sugar circulating in your blood, which are then stored or used for energy production. However, inadequate production of insulin goes a long way. And an excess of it is also dangerous.
Too much of insulin has been associated with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, inflammation, cancer, and diabetes. In addition, high levels of insulin can also lead to insulin resistance – a condition characterized by failure of body cells to respond properly to the effects of insulin. Fortunately, engaging in a variety of physical exercises can help increase insulin sensitivity and put insulin levels in check. Such exercises include aerobics and strength training. Studies also indicate that engaging in physical exercises can boost the hormones that maintain your muscles but often tend to deplete with age, such as IGF-1, testosterone, DHEA, among others.
3. Eliminate Sugar and Refined Carbs
Several health issues have been linked to consumption of sugar and refined carbs. One way of helping balance your hormones naturally is by avoiding these foods. This can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other diseases. Numerous published studies have shown that fructose increase levels of insulin in the blood and insulin resistance. This is even worse in obese individuals or those living with diabetes.
It is worth noting that fructose adds up to half of many varieties of sugar. Good examples are honey, maple syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, and refined table sugar. Eating foods rich in refined carbs, such as white bread and pretzels may increase insulin resistance and insulin levels. To optimize hormonal health, you may need to stick to moderate or low-carb diet made up of whole foods. This will help reduce insulin levels and reduce insulin resistance in prediabetic and diabetic people.
4. Try to Manage Stress
Stress can extremely harm your hormonal health. Stress usually affects two key hormones – cortisol and epinephrine, which is commonly known as adrenaline. Cortisol is a hormone your body releases to help itself handle stress for a long time, that is why it is called stress hormone. Adrenaline, on the other hand, is known as the fight or flight hormone, and is responsible for the production of energy for an imminent danger. Your lifestyle, especially an overwhelming one can trigger the production of these hormones.
Noteworthy, chronic stress elevates and maintains the cortisol levels, which can lead to obesity and too much consumption of calories. On the other hand, increased production of adrenaline is a predisposing factor to high blood pressure, anxiety, and rapid heart rate. Researchers have found that engaging in yoga, listening to smooth music, and meditation, may help restore your cortisol to healthy levels.
5. Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats go a long way to maintaining your health and keeping your hormones balanced. Reduction of appetite and insulin resistance are few attributes of healthy fats. You can include medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) in your diet as they are absorbed directly by the liver for immediate energy need. Studies suggest that MCTs can benefit overweight, obese, and diabetic people by reducing insulin resistance. You can find MCTs in coconut oil, pure MCT oil, and palm oil. Additionally, you can also use dairy fat and monounsaturated fats as they are good at increasing insulin sensitivity. Olive oil and nuts are great sources of monounsaturated fat. What’s more, adding healthy fats to your diet may also stimulate the release of satiety and fullness hormones, such as cholecystokinin (CCK), PYY, and GLP-1.
6. Increase Your Intake of Food High In Fiber
There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber, in particular, is important for your health and hormone regulation. Consuming it increases insulin sensitivity and stimulates the production of hormones responsible for fullness and satisfaction. This doesn’t rule out insoluble fiber, as it produces the same effects but not strongly. Adding foods rich in fiber to your diet can help reduce overeating and insulin resistance.
Hormones play several vital roles in your body, including regulating your appetite and overall health. An underproduction or overproduction of any hormone can have great impact on your health. Consuming enough fiber and healthy fats while avoiding sugar, may help balance your hormones.