Hormones have a much bigger effect on your health than you may realize. Hormone imbalance can affect so many things like weight, moods, skin problems, carrying excess weight around the middle, PMS, sleep issues, and even infertility.
Hormones are the chemical messengers within your body. They are released directly into your blood stream and travel to tissues or organs. Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands and pancreas.
Hormones can have a wide range of effects on the body such as
- Regulating metabolism
- Controlling the reproductive system
- Sexual function
- Overall growth and development
- Regulating the bodies internal environment
- Play a major role in preparing the body for puberty, childbirth, or menopause
Understanding all hormones is a complex topic but for now here are 4 tips to help you keep your hormones balanced naturally
1. Eat Good Fats and Cholesterol
Hormones are made using good fats and cholesterol. Not eating enough of these important dietary factors can cause hormone problems purely because the body doesn’t have the building blocks to make them. The body needs (healthy) fats for rebuilding cells and hormone production. Sadly many people are still following “low fat” diet trends thinking that is the way to better health. Avoiding fat does quite the opposite by messing with your hormones leading to numerous health problems. Start to aim for a healthy fat at EVERY meal.
Choose fats like coconut oil (my #1 choice for hormonal health), real pastured butter, olive oil for dressing not cooking, grass fed beef and pastured poultry(animal fats), and wild fish high in omega-3’s (wild salmon best choice!) Avoid: Vegetable oil, peanut oil, canola oil, soybean oil, margarine, shortening, and trans fats.
Getting enough sleep and quality sleep is crucial to balancing hormones and weight maintenance. “Recent studies in humans have shown that the levels of hormones that regulate appetite are profoundly influenced by sleep duration. Sleep loss is associated with an increase in appetite that is excessive in relation to the caloric demands of extended wakefulness.” Source
Exercise triggers a surge of beneficial hormonal reactions. Long bouts of extended cardio can actually stress the body so aim for shorter high intensity training that challenges the body just enough. Using weights and doing some heavy lifting that is challenging for you will increase these benefits.
4. Supplement with MACA powder or tea.
Studies have identified four alkaloids present in maca known to nourish the endocrine system. Maca root has been used as a stress-fighting adaptogen to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue. Maca is a nutrient-dense whole food packed with vitamins, plant sterols as well as many essential minerals.
Many women that use maca powder notice enhanced levels of energy, less PMS, increased fertility, improved skin, and reduction of menopausal flashes and sweating at night. While men notice increased sperm production and fertility, libido, and better sleep. Maca is also high in minerals and essential fatty acids, making it great for hormones.
Hormones are like traffic signals telling our body what to do and when so it can run smoothly and efficiently. Are your hormones in balance? Pay attention to what your body may be telling you!