When I say hormones, what do you think?
Many people often associate negative emotions with the idea of them; hormones are extremely important regulatory substances that aid the cells and tissues to keep our bodies working effectively. Hormones are manufactured in the various glands to stimulate the actions of bodily functions such as hunger, reproduction, emotions, energy and mood. Most people only think about sex hormones when they consider hormones, but there are many other types of hormones which are critical to the body’s ability to remain healthy.
What are the Types of Hormones and What Do They Do?
Some of the main hormones that act as messengers and stimulants to our bodies systems are:
- Cortisol helps the body in responding to stress.
- Melatonin triggers the response that causes the body to sleep and levels change throughout the day.
- Tri-iodothyronin (T3) is created by the thyroid gland and affects most of the tissues in the body.
- Estrogen is the main sex hormone for women which causes puberty, regulates the menstrual cycle, and primes the female body for pregnancy.
- Progesterone assists with the menstrual cycle and pregnancy but is not quite as critical as estrogen.
- Testosterone is considered to be the main sex hormone in men which causes puberty, facial hair growth, muscle mass growth, and bone density increase. Women also need small amounts of this hormone.
How Do You Know if You Have Hormone Imbalance?
Our bodies are often trying to tell us things, but we don’t always make time or space to listen to what they are saying due to our busy schedules. Hormone imbalance can not only be caused by women approaching peri/menopause, but also may be induced by stress, rushing priorities, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, and not enough sleep.
Some of the most common symptoms of hormone imbalance include:
Weight Gain with Belly Fat
We all know that prescribing to a healthy lifestyle of exercise and diet should allow us to maintain a healthy weight, but many women find that a hormonal imbalance makes it difficult to keep the weight off no matter what healthy choices they are making. In fact, overproduction of hormones such as cortisol can cause the body to store fat, which may also be a factor in fatigue of the adrenal glands.
Whether mood swings manifest themselves in depression, irritability, or anxiety, these may be indications that your hormones are imbalances, you are stressed out and overworked, or you may have an overabundance of toxins in your body.
Disturbed Sleep and Suffering Sex Drive
When our bodies do not benefit from regular, quality sleep, our hormone production will likely be lowered. This, in turn, causes a decrease in the libido.
Excessive Perspiration and Hot Flashes
Women who struggle with hot flashes and night sweats may be experiencing the first signs of imbalance of hormones. Waking up with soaked pajamas, or finding yourself standing with the freezer door open in mid-winter could be a sign that your body’s hormones are out of whack.
Beyond the typical tiredness due to life’s circumstances, excessive fatigue may signify that you are missing a thyroid hormone that controls the entire body’s systems. If this is the case, check with your physician to have your levels checked.
Excess eating may just be a bad habit, but if you are a woman in your 30s and 40s you may find that cravings for sugar, salts, alcohol, or other food and drink may come from insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue or hormonal imbalance. The sleep deprivation mentioned above may also increase that feeling of hunger. Limiting the amount of wheat, dairy, sugar, and alcohol in your diet may help you to control cravings.
Whether you’ve found yourself with excessive amounts of gas and bloating, or other signs of improper digestions, you may be carrying stress in your stomach. Other explanations may be that your body is overproducing cortisol due to stress, or your Irritable Bowel Syndrome may be related to unusual amounts of serotonin and/or an increase in estrogen. Getting your hormones into check could relieve digestive symptoms.
How to Create Hormonal Synergy
When women understand the impact that imbalanced hormones can have on our lives and health, then they are able to take control of their systems instead of allowing their systems to be in control. However, it is possible to introduce a few simple changes in our daily routines that will bring our hormones back to a place of equilibrium.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
In addition to eating the healthy foods mentioned above, making wise choices related to exercise and mindfulness can offer a great boost. Taking time to re-center yourself and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday pressures can be extremely beneficial in balancing out your body. For instance, a bit of exercise, such as a brisk walk at lunchtime, can help to ease the pressures of work and stimulate the brain and body. Setting aside even just a few minutes in the morning for meditation and stretching or Yoga positions can help stress to melt away and cause the mind to work in a more positive manner. This, in turn, encourages the balance of the hormones.
Self Care Rituals
In the words of Eleanor Brown, “Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Daily self care practice is amazing for recharging and reenergizing your body. A favorite self care ritual can be rooted around a morning routine of movement, journaling and time spent in nature.
Phytonutrients in Your Diet
That’s a big word that we don’t hear often! Really, though, phytonutrients are commonly found in healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes. Think of dark green and orange healthy foods and you’ll likely come across a source of carotenoids, flavonoids, resveratrol, ellagic acid, phytoestrogens, and glucosinolates—the six most important phytonutrients. Eating a diet rich in these foods offers a boost toward balancing hormones.
Instead of having your morning coffee, which can give your body a false energy boost, try substituting Matcha Tea. Matcha tea boosts the metabolism and provides energy throughout the day. Use Matcha tea (I choose Ujido Matcha) to balance out energy, reduce tension, and recalibrate your stressed, imbalanced hormones.
Essential oils are great at bridging the gap to healthy hormone synergy. Made from complete natural plants, essential oils offer significant health benefits. Not only can essential oils help to improve the mindset, create a more positive mood, relieve stress, and increase feelings of well-being, they can also support the body’s own hormone production. For instance, Clary Sage Essential Oil is often used to stabilize the mood and support hormone production in women. Try adding a few drops to a carrier oil and utilizing as a massage oil to relieve stress and re-balance the body.
Often times our bodies are lacking to proper micro-nutrients, amino acids and co-factors for our hormones to function properly, or even get produced in the body, especially if gut issues are involved too. Supplementation is very crucial to receiving the proper building blocks to get your body back on track. Important supplements include: methylated B Vitamins, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, Selenium.
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