When you think of hormones, teenagers or pregnant women might come to mind.
But the reality is, hormones affect every single living human - no matter your age or gender. Hormones are chemical messengers that control MANY biological functions including: appetite & metabolism; your immune system, your mood and behavior, as well as of course reproductive functions - just to name a few!
When you hear the term “hormonal imbalance” - this means that the hormones in your body are out of whack for one reason or another.
What causes hormonal imbalances? There are many different causes of hormonal imbalances. Certainly, they can be caused by various reproductive stages in life, health issues such as diabetes or thyroid issues, exposure to environmental toxins, but also lifestyle factors such as dietary choices, lack of exercise or sleep, and high stress levels.
What are signs of a hormonal imbalance? Symptoms include: skin issues (acne, eczema etc), fatigue, mood swings and even depression, digestive issues, hair loss, and weight gain - and many more.
What can I do about a hormonal imbalance? If you think you have a hormonal imbalance, you should absolutely see a healthcare provider to make sure it isn’t caused by a medical issue. But again, they are also often caused by lifestyle issues. That’s where we are here to help!
Here are 7 ways that you can help re-balance or keep your hormones in check:
Get enough protein at every meal. Research has shown that eating protein helps regulate the appetite and metabolism hormones.
Aim to get at least 20-30G of protein per meal from high-quality meat (such as free-range chicken and pasture-raised beef) and/or plant-based sources (such as tofu, lentils, chickpeas, almonds, or tempeh).
Exercise regularly! You already know that exercise has a ton of great benefits on your body, both short and long-term! One of the many, but perhaps lesser known benefits is that it can help regulate the levels of the hormone insulin, which is a good thing because too much has been linked to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. We agree - aim for at least 20 minutes of physical activity daily!
Limit sugar and refined carbs. These nutrient-lacking foods can affect your insulin levels and the hormones that increase your appetite, leading to weight gain and longer-term, even diabetes.
Enjoy healthier, complex carb options such as sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, oats, and whole-grains.
Try to lower your stress levels. When you’re stressed, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline are elevated - which can cause high blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, and increased caloric intake and obesity.
Try to regularly incorporate stress-relieving activities into your routine such as exercise, yoga, meditation, massage, and relaxing music.
Consume healthy fats. When you eat healthy fats, it triggers the release of appetite control hormones, so you’ll end up less likely to overeat!
One of our favorite ways is to get at least 2 servings of fatty fish per week- such as salmon, sardines and mackerel - which are full of Omega-3s - and can help reduce inflammation as well as reduce stress hormones and insulin levels.
Get a good night of sleep, regularly! Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep consistently can throw many of your hormones (including insulin, cortisol, leptin, ghrelin and growth hormones) out of whack, wreaking havoc on many of your bodily functions.
Aim for 7-hours of sleep per night, minimum!
Eat a high-fiber diet. Fiber has been shown to stabilize hormones that regulate appetite and fullness, and control insulin levels - lowering the risk of diabetes.
Load up on high-fiber foods such as peas and beans, almonds, oats, chia seeds, dark chocolate to name a few!
We challenge you to pick at least 2 of these hormone-balancing habits to start incorporating into your routine THIS WEEK! We know you can do it, and are certain you will see the positive effects soon!