When we hear the word “hormones,” most of us have puberty flashbacks of acne, body odor, and hair… growing… everywhere. We usually don’t think about the other hormone players like our thyroid, adrenals, or pancreas… so let’s get cozy and learn about hormones.
Hormones are these amazing messengers that send signals and coordinate actions throughout our entire body. Yes, they help us with fertility and growth, but they also influence our metabolism, behavior, and immune system. So, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, then your hormones may need some TLC:
Low energy, depressed, poor sleep
Bloating, constipation, gas/burping after meals
Unexplained weight gain or loss
Headaches, mood swings, anxiety
Irregular menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, fertility concerns
Night sweats, hot flashes
Low sex drive
Acne or other skin issues
Shaky, weak, hot, or cold
Tip 1: Eat Nutrient-Packed Foods to Balance Blood Sugar
You know I like to discuss the importance of balancing your blood sugar and how it is foundational to good health (to learn more, check out this blog and this blog). Some common blood sugar imbalance symptoms include: shaky or weak, tired after meals, energy crashes, cold or hot sweats, sugar cravings, mood swings, and waking at 2 or 3 A.M. When we eat nutrient-packed, lower glycemic foods, not only does it keep our blood sugar steady, but it also provides the vitamins and minerals we need to make hormones, plus the fiber to clear out excess hormones (and toxins, but we’ll dive into that later). Incorporating lean proteins, vegetables, low glycemic fruits, and healthy fats in your daily diet will help improve heart, liver, and thyroid health. If you’re looking for a helpful reset for your current eating pattern, sign-up for my 10-Day Blood Sugar Balance Challenge.
Tip 2: Movement
Movement such as resistance training (weights, bands, or bodyweight) and bursts of cardio (sprints, battle rope, jumping jacks, etc.) help burn glucose stored in our muscles, revs up our metabolism, increases the production of happy hormones (i.e. neurotransmitters), and releases toxins through our sweat. Choose your favorite movement and get your workout on.
Tip 3: Find Flow and Get Some Zzzz’s
I eye roll whenever I hear people say “just reduce your stress” as though it’s that simple. Or, “get more sleep” as though you haven’t tried. None of it’s easy. All of it’s important. CliffsNotes version: stress increases cortisol (hormone from adrenal glands) and higher than normal cortisol can increase blood glucose, and decrease digestion, testosterone, estrogen, melatonin (sleep hormone), thyroid (regulates metabolism) and adrenal function (regulates metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, stress response). So, find flow with your stress while you work towards reducing it or changing how you perceive it. Some options others find helpful while they work with a life coach or therapist to reduce their stress are yoga, deep breaths, meditation, or listening to music. For sleep, check out suggestions here or try supplementing magnesium.
Tip 4: Dump the Toxins
Whether we are unknowingly eating toxins, slathering them on our skin, or cleaning the house with them, they disrupt hormones and increase fat storage in our body. Toxins are stored in body fat to protect our organs. As long as we keep exposing ourselves to them, our body will not want to shed excess fat, no matter how hard we try. Toxins are also inflammatory, which stresses our body, releasing cortisol and repeating the cycle we discussed previously. Some toxins actually interfere with or even mimic other hormones in our body, again disrupting important messages that our hormones are trying to communicate. All of this puts a great amount of stress on our liver and gut—two systems working very hard to protect us and remove toxins. So, let’s give them a helping hand by practicing the first three tips, getting some house plants to clean the air, and reducing the number of chemicals we use on our skin and in our home. There are a lot of great products out there and visiting the Environmental Working Group is a good place to start.
Now it’s your turn. Choose one tip and comment below: what’s the one small action you’ll take today towards building healthy hormones?
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With love, Steph