So much of our bodies functioning depends on a very delicate balance of hormones, heres what you can do to support it.
Hormones are very important to the health and well-being for both women and men, but even though they are responsible for how we function on a moment to moment basis, they are often misunderstood and overlooked. When one hormone is out of balance, the whole system goes down
Acting as sophisticated chemical messengers, our hormones are at the center of numerous critical processes within the human body.
They have a significant influence on our mood, energy, digestion, metabolism, libido, immunity, and sleep, practically everything. This means that we really need to make sure that our hormones are balanced and their glands working properly in order to prevent any health problems in the future.
While balancing your hormones can be simple, it doesn’t mean that it will be easy. Luckily, there are a few simple steps involving your diet and lifestyle, plus one surprising supplement, that can quickly and effectively impact your overall hormonal health. Most hormones work in pairs, meaning that they work in an antagonistic relationship to maintain homeostasis.
Here are some key hormones that impact our overall health:
Cortisol and Melatonin
Do you feel energized in the morning? Do you feel sleepy at night? Then you are certainly familiar with the hormones mostly responsible, cortisol and melatonin. Cortisol tends to get a bad reputation, however, it’s necessary in the right amounts for us to function. You want cortisol levels to be the highest in the morning and lowest in the evening. Conversely, you want melatonin levels to be lowest in the morning and the highest in the evening so that you can sleep well.
Balancing cortisol and melatonin is incredibly important since our sleep cycles regulate immunity and digestion.
To support your cortisol and melatonin production, avoid drinking coffee past noon or eating sugar in the evening. Find any hidden food sensitivities which can further stress the body and avoid exercising excessively. Manage your stress levels with meditation and by focusing on your breath. Try to make a concerted effort to not look at any electronic screens for two hours before you go to bed.
Insulin and Glucagon
These hormones primarily regulate our metabolism which plays a key role in our weight balance. Glucagon helps release stored sugar from the liver, into the blood to feed our cells. Insulin helps shuttle sugar into cells when we need it, helping to maintain balance.
Consuming high amounts of sugar can give you a quick energy hit when you are feeling low, followed by a spike in insulin. However, it can also quickly result in an energy slump, irritability, mood swings, and even inflammation.
Your body is constantly striving to keep blood sugar levels stable with a delicate balancing act which these hormones assist.
To balance insulin and glucagon, avoid excessive sugar and alcohol consumption and focus on eating complex rather than simple carbohydrates. Try not to overeat before bed to give digestion a break and add more protein and fat throughout the day. Because these macronutrients are slower to digest, our energy levels from these sources are more consistent.
Estrogen and Testosterone
You are probably most familiar with this pair of hormones that are responsible for the process of sexual maturation and reproduction. Generally, females are supposed to have higher estrogen and lower testosterone levels; the opposite is true for males. That being said, both men and women should have some of each of these hormones in their body to function properly, just in very different proportions.
Too much estrogen and not enough testosterone can result in weight gain, heart problems, muscle wasting, and an increased risk of specific types of cancer. Women also tend to experience estrogen excess, which can cause unpleasant symptoms like fibroids, endometriosis, abnormal menstruation, reduced sex drive, fatigue, and fibrocystic breasts.
To keep estrogen levels under control, be sure to engage in regular exercise with a focus in resistance training (this boosts testosterone). Also, limit consumption of sugar, simple carbohydrates, and alcohol which lowers testosterone, and avoid eating from plastic containers which contain xenoestrogens. Finally, be sure to choose organic meat products only to avoid exposure to additional hormones.
Ghrelin and Leptin
Do you feel hungry at lunch? Do you feel full when you eat? Then you have felt the impact of the hormones, ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is responsible for making your stomach growl when you are hungry; leptin is responsible for the feeling of satiety when you eat.
These are very important signals, telling us when to eat and when to stop.
A lot of people who struggle with food cravings cannot actively distinguish their true feelings of hunger and often eat from boredom, stress, or dehydration. If ghrelin and leptin are out of balance with each other you will either feel hungry constantly or you will never feel fully satisfied.
To regulate your ghrelin and leptin production, sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night. This will help limit junk food cravings and avoid overeating which can throw off the hormones further. Ensure that you are drinking enough water to not confuse thirst with hunger and focus on eating high protein and fat with low sugar when you get hungry.
Do you feel happy or depressed? That is at least partially the effect of Serotonin. Although technically serotonin is a neurotransmitter that works in the brain, it can also function like a hormone.
As part of the nervous system, it works to regulate mood, anxiety, fear, relaxation, depression, mental focus, clarity of thought, and learning ability.
In addition, it influences the process of digestion by acting like a hormone and influencing satiety, food cravings, nutrient absorption, and peristalsis.
To boost your serotonin levels, eat foods that are high in the amino acid tryptophan like salmon, turkey, and eggs. Try to engage in regular physical activity to increase your heart rate and release endorphins. Also, do what you can to get regular exposure to sunlight for at least 10-15 minutes per day.
Adding CBD oil into your daily routine can quickly and effectively regulate some bodily processes that may not be functioning properly. CBD oil is a surprising health supplement that naturally works to bring your body back into balance, or homeostasis.
In a nutshell, CBD is short for cannabidiol which is a chemical compound, or cannabinoid, that comes from the cannabis plant. It works on the endocannabinoid (ECS) system by binding to receptors that are part of the nervous system and located throughout the entire body. The ECS is a more recent discovery that is can help with numerous bodily processes such as mood, appetite, energy, digestion, libido, sleep, pain, and inflammation.
What Can You Do To Balance Hormones?
- Avoid sugar, simple carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol as much as possible.
- Sleep a minimum of 7 hours per night.
- Eat healthy proteins and fats.
- Do regular physical exercise to move your body.
- Reduce stress levels by taking stress breaks to calm your mind.
- Take CBD oil morning and night or throughout the day.
You may also enjoy reading Chronic Stress: The Silent Hormone (And Life) Hijacker by Dr. Stephanie Gray