Eat for Happy Hormones!
Hormones are the chemical messengers that RUN THE SHOW in our whole body. They help our bodies know when to do what. From when to release insulin (in order for our body to absorb blood sugar to use for energy) to when to feel hungry or satisfied!
We need hormones... But more importantly, we need hormones in working condition! We require balanced hormones to make sure the correct message is communicated. When these messengers are out of balance, we can experience compromised quality of life and it can even lead to illnesses. This wrecks havoc in the whole body - across multiple hormonal pathways as everything is connected. One out of whack hormone can lead to LOADS of issues: For example: High stress-hormone levels (cortisol), may disrupt estrogen levels leading to weight gain and imbalanced blood sugar levels... Read on to find out how YOU can balance your hormones, naturally! Keeping the peace in your body starts here.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalances
- Unhealthy dietary intake and habits
- Unhealthy lifestyles with high stress levels; poor habits
- Environmental toxins and ingredients in household/cosmetic items
- Genetics and aging
There are many causes, some still unknown to us.
Since hormonal levels can be disrupted by various factors, it's not a surprise that to balance it, you need to give attention to a wide spectrum of things. "Fixing" the problem is not a quick-fix... It's multifaceted with a number of areas where you need to give attention.
1. DIETOur diet can help to equip the body to maintain hormonal balance. We need certain "ingredients" in our diet to make and remove hormones as required. Choose wise:
- Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. These vegetables are the number one dietary factor to help metabolize and process hormones correctly.
- Probiotics and prebiotics: Think of foods like bananas, mixed seeds, yoghurt and high fiber whole grains.
- Healthy fats: Include unsaturated fats into your diet daily. This can be found in fatty fish like salmon; nuts and seeds, avocado and olive oil.
- Raw, fresh and unrefined foods: A balanced intake is recommended. We need a variety of foods to get a variety of vitamins, minerals, and enough energy to support our bodily functions. Try to avoid fast food and ready-made meals as these items tend to be higher in saturated fats, salt and excessive energy levels. It may also contain refined, processed foods which can trigger hormonal imbalances due to increased inflammation. Keep it fresh, raw and uncomplicated!
- Manage stress levels. You can occupy your mind with relaxing hobbies like art, reading or doing something you love outdoors. Maybe you can also try doing some yoga, meditation or breathing exercises daily.
- Moderate caffeine and alcohol intake. Alternate your drinks with water and make sure to stay well hydrated all day long.
- SLEEP! Make your sleeping schedule a priority. Try to go to sleep and wake-up at more or less the same time every day. This will help to improve sleep quality and by sticking to a routine, you might have less issues falling asleep.
3. EXERCISEDaily and continuous physical activity is SO important for general health and well being. Find a training program that suits you, your fitness level and your daily schedule. Make it FUN!
4. PERSONAL & HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS
- Avoid BPA-containing products: This is most single-use plastics.
- Common chemicals to avoid in your personal care and cleaning products:
- Parfume and fragrances (look for fragrance-free" products); read ingredient lists. It can be found in sneaky places like in diapers, garbage bags etc.
- Phthalates & Parabens: Found in some cosmetic items: Read the labels to identify which products to use.