Hormones can affect a lot of different things:
Caring for our hormones is incredibly important. Hormone Specialist Dr. Anna Cabeca conducted a survey of 2000 women aged 30 to 60 (living in America) and 43% of them claimed that hormones have negatively impacted their wellbeing in some way shape or form. What’s more sad is that 72% of those who had negative symptoms didn’t even know hormones could be a cause for concern until after they were already experiencing the pitfalls of not having hormonal balance.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers within our body. They control certain bodily functions and are closely tied to mental health and emotions. We can look at them as signaling molecules that are produced by glands.
Let’s go over ways that we help naturally heal our hormones, and throughout we will learn about some of the most common hormones that we should be paying attention to.
There are multiple ways to heal your hormones, but we are going to focus on some of the main ones.
Don’t over or under eat
Have you heard of the hormone insulin? Insulin has many different functions. One of the most important is that it allows cells in our body to take up amino acids and sugars and use them for energy. It’s also needed for maintaining healthy muscle.
A little insulin goes a long way and a lot of insulin can be a real problem. What we want is insulin sensitivity. What we don’t want is insulin resistance.
On the flip side, undereating has been shown to disrupt another hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone which, ironically, has been known to make us gain weight. Undereating, even less than just 1200 calories a day, is not the way to go. (Source)
Drink Green Tea
It’s not just trendy, it’s a true game changer when it comes to health and hormones!
What’s really cool is that green tea is strong enough to have an impact even on the healthiest of people (who already have great insulin levels) just as much as it can help people dealing with obesity. This study followed 56 obese patients who took green tea extract everyday and saw improved levels of insulin sensitivity and this study followed healthy men who took green tea before or after they exercised- they also saw big improvements in insulin levels.
This study showed that green tea could help insulin sensitivity in fasting individuals. There are multiple analysis on green tea that echo the statement of: helps insulin sensitivity!
Be Consistent With Good Sleep
You can do everything right-- healthy diet, the correct supplements, exercise often… but if you aren’t getting proper sleep every night, your health will decline. More specifically, your hormones will be very out of whack.
We already know about insulin and cortisol hormones, but did you know about leptin and ghrelin hormones?
Hormone.org describes leptin perfectly: “Leptin, a hormone released from the fat cells located in adipose tissues, sends signals to the hypothalamus in the brain…. It helps regulate and alter long-term food intake and energy expenditure, not just from one meal to the next… leptin helps the body maintain its weight.”
Ghrelin is our hunger hormone. More short term than leptin. It stimulates appetite. It circulates around in our gut. We want lower levels of ghrelin. These levels are higher when we are hungry and lower initially after eating.
Insulin, cortisol, leptin, and ghrelin involve our endocrine system.
The entire endocrine system is tied to sleep.
There are five stages of sleep that our brains need to go through entirely every night. This not only helps the four hormones we just mentioned, but also helps our growth hormone- which is only stimulated at night. (Souce)
Eat hormone balancing foods (and avoid sugar)
Sugar is horrible for our hormones.
Excess sugar over time will create insulin resistance (which we don’t want) and can cause weight gain. (Source) Even unhealthy carbs (not all carbs are unhealthy) can spike our insulin levels. (Source)
We want to be eating foods that balance our hormones. One thing to consider is upping our intake of cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables are known to have a positive impact on estrogen levels and is the precursor to DIM- which helps our estrogen levels. (Source)
Cruciferous veggies are common: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy and… maca. Bet you didn’t see Maca coming did you?
Oh yes, maca is a cruciferous vegetable and has been used for thousands of years for health benefits! When it comes to hormones, maca has been shown to help balance them out! This particular study on postmenopausal women is incredibly interesting. And what’s great is maca is easy to use! You can use it as a seasoning, use it in your coffee or tea or smoothies, or even use it in your baking! We wrote an entire article around Maca which you can find here. Be sure to check out the Karen Berrios brand of Maca- there is no higher quality in the world!
Exercise Regularly And Manage Stress Levels
Let’s first talk about stress. Stress can do quite a number on our hormones.
We need to recognize how much stress we have in our lives because chronic stress can cause cortisol levels to remain elevated. Not just spike one but remain that way. That’s not good! (Souce + Source)
Once we recognize the amount of stress we have in our lives, we need to do something about it.
Yoga or exercise in general can very much help our stress levels. Not only should we be concerned about cortisol, but we should also care about insulin when it comes to stress and exercising. Exercising regularly CAN positively impact insulin levels. (Source)
There was even a study done in breast cancer survivors who were able to significantly lower their insulin resistance levels after 16 weeks of cardiovascular and strength training exercises. (Source)
Other things to note are intaking healthy fats, getting enough protein, and consuming a high fiber diet!
The endocrine system is complex, but managing our hormones is incredibly important and should not be thrown to the wayside.
HORMONE HEALING PROTEIN BALLS RECIPE
These balls are fun and easy to make! The best part? You don’t need a food processor! Protein is essential for balancing hormones- and these little snacks will help you get more of it in! The ingredients in these balls are all things that either help to balance hormones OR they are loaded with other beneficial antioxidants.
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog
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