Not to scare you, but, if you are experiencing any of these – frequent meltdowns, anxiety attacks, unexplained crying spells, heartburn, fatigue, unsettling sleep cycles, and unexplained weight loss or weight gain; or even excessive sweating, sleeping difficulties, changes in heart rate, a change in sensitivity to heat or cold, weak/ brittle bones, increased thirst, depression, bloating or reduced sex drive; that could mean that your hormones are in whack.
In many ways, you are your hormones. This is because of the fact these biomolecules regulate your heart rate, sleep cycles, metabolism, appetite, growth and development, body temperature, mood, stress levels, as well as the reproductive cycle and your sexual function.
Though common in women where the levels of estrogen and progesterone vary, men also experience imbalances in the levels of testosterone. Men and women also experience imbalances in steroids, adrenaline, insulin, and growth hormones.
Before we look at why men and women suffer hormonal imbalances which could also be manifested as puffy faces, bulging neck, breast tenderness, deepening of the female voice, thinning of hair, infertility and even bulging in the neck, let’s look at the causes of the hormonal imbalances.
The imbalance starts in the endocrine glands which produce, store and release the hormones into the blood when needed. The endocrine glands include the adrenal glands, pineal, gonads, pituitary, hypothalamus, thyroid, parathyroid, and the pancreatic islets. These glands produce different hormones, and the imbalances result from different environmental and lifestyle habits. To maintain balance, you will have to control the causes. So, let’s get started!
Work out regularly
Being physically active influences your hormonal health significantly especially because working out will reduce the levels of insulin in circulation and also reduce insulin sensitivity resulting in abating and lowering the risk of type II diabetes. Insulin is a great deal in the hormone balancing equation because it allows for the intake of sugars by the cells as well as amino acids from blood after digestion.
Although you may have taken a lot of sugars, you don’t need too much insulin. At high concentrations, there is an increased risk of insulin resistance – once your cells lose the ability to respond to insulin, you are left to deal with a host of medical problems, not to mention having to struggle with obesity. The most effective way of increasing insulin sensitivity is through aerobic exercises, endurance training, and strength exercise.
Working out will also increase the levels of adiponectin which is an anti-inflammatory molecule that also regulates metabolism. There is also the fact that physical activity boosts the levels of muscle-maintaining hormones known to decline as you are like the growth hormone, testosterone, DHEA, and IGF-1. So, even if all you can do is to take a walk, do it.
Eat enough protein
Protein is a macronutrient that is required for most, if not all bodily functions. To ensure that all the systems that depend on proteins work well, you must consume enough proteins in every meal. Amino acids from proteins are necessary for the maintenance and the health of bones, muscles and the skin. Proteins are also good for hair as advised at your barber shop Toronto.
Also, proteins are needed in the mechanism that results in the release of hormones controlling appetite – ghrelin, and leptin – as well as food intake. Wondering how? Well, adequate intake of proteins will decrease the levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone while stimulating the production of hormones that make you feel full – leptin, GLP-1, and PYY. According to studies, the intake of proteins will also increase the rate of metabolism and the oxidation of fats.
Reduce or cut out sugar and the refined carbohydrates
Sugars and highly refined carbs are not only harmful to your heart and bad for your waist, but these carbs also wreak havoc in the endocrine glands, especially in hormone functions that relate to obesity and diabetes, among others.
Fructose in most refined carbs will increase the levels of insulin in the blood, encourage insulin resistance, and worsen conditions like diabetes and pre-diabetes. At the same time, the uncontrollable levels of insulin could result in insulin resistant and eventually cause conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Instead of carbs, you should eat more foods with healthy fats.
More Healthy Fats
Invest in foods rich in medium, short and long-chain fatty acids. Your hormones are made of proteins but even more important structural components are fatty acids. For hormone production, you will also need foods rich in good cholesterol and saturated fats. The healthy fats will fight inflammation, promote weight loss and boost metabolism. This happens because healthy fats have an effect opposite the effect of carbs with the latter good in causing inflammations that mess up with hormone levels.
You should start incorporating oils into your diet. They include coconut oil which has fat-burning and anti-bacterial properties, avocado oil that lowers inflammation while controlling your appetite and also increasing your fiber and nutrient intake. You also need fatty fish with omega-3-fatty acids for brain membranes and cell-to-cell communication, as well as protection against the loss of hippocampal neural activity, and also the reduction of pro-inflammatory responses. Healthy oils will also help in the fight against obesity.
Stress is one of the main causes of hormonal imbalances because it affects adrenaline/ epinephrine – the fight and flight hormone and cortisol, the stress hormone. You need cortisol to deal with stress in the long term while adrenaline gives you the energy you need in response to immediate danger. Though helpful, your cells are not meant to be exposed to these hormones all the time. That means that chronic stress results in regular elevation of cortisol in the blood which causes obesity and the increase in belly fat.
On the other hand, constant elevation of the levels of adrenaline will result in high blood pressure, anxiety, and rapid heart rate. To prevent these from happening, you might want to practice relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, massage, or listening to music. Basically, you should engage in activities that increase the levels of mood-boosting hormones dopamine and serotonin.
No overeating or undereating
Overeating will increase insulin levels and increase the risk of insulin sensitivity while eating little food increases the levels of cortisol. In a day, you should aim to eat at least 1200 calories.
Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep promotes general good health by ensuring that your cells have time to rest and rejuvenate. If you don’t get enough sleep, you risk hormonal imbalance on a large scale because poor sleep affects insulin, ghrelin, leptin, growth hormone, and cortisol. The biggest side effect of such a large-scale hormonal imbalance is obesity which comes with a host of diseases that affect your quality of life significantly.
Other solutions to hormonal imbalance include:
- Eating foods that are high in fiber
- Consume eggs
- Say no to sugary beverages
- Drink more green tea
- Use essential oils and herbs
- Supplements like probiotics, vitamin D, magnesium, and fish oil, among others.