Balance Your Hormones
Fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, depression, mood swings, weight loss, weight gain, infertility, appetite changes or blood sugar issues are all signs that something is amiss with your hormone levels. When all is balanced and in harmony with your body and with your environment, your endocrine glands naturally produce the right amount of each hormone for your body. But when you get out of balance with your lifestyle (too much alcohol, poor food choices, stress, medications) this finely balanced internal scale can tip out of balance quickly. The impacts can be long term and debilitating.
If you are feeling some of the above concerns then seeing your Gp to ensure exactly what has gone amiss is pin pointed is important. Depending on your age (from 38-45 years for women) you may be starting to move into peri-menopause, the gradual decline of estrogen production within the body which can have impacts on cognitive function, bone density, heart health and muscle density. There are an array of reasons for feeling less than optimal so lets look at the ways you can naturally boost positive hormone function in the body.
Protein is an essential nutrient that your body needs to function properly. Protein-rich foods contain amino acids that your muscles, bones and skin rely on to maintain optimal health. When you eat enough protein, your body releases hormones that ensure you feel satisfied for longer which in turn helps manage portion and regualarity factors with meals. A diet rich in protein decreases ‘ghrelin’, which regulates your hunger, so you’ll be less likely to reach for seconds. Incorporate a variety of high-protein foods into your diet, such as chicken, fish, eggs, lentils, legumes and whole grains.
Ditch Sugar & Refined Carbs
Sugar and refined carbs spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in your blood, so high levels of insulin can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes and while your body deals with the sugar, it stops burning fat. Sugar also causes accelerated cell ageing and inflammation in tissue and joints. Ditch the breads and baked goods in favour of a protein source or even a piece of fruit. Fructose is still a sugar, but has far less impact on insulin levels spiking and fruit has other healthy micro-nutrients to support your overall health.
Increase Healthy Fat Intake
Healthy Fats do not make you gain weight or store excess body fat. Healthy fats, like monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and MCTs found in coconut oil, control your insulin response and the hormones that regulate your appetite, so consuming healthy fats makes you feel more satisfied and less likely to overeat. Healthy fats also keep your inflammation levels down, boost your metabolism and promote healthy weight management. Make sure to add avocado (also high in carbohydrates), organic butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, salmon or nuts to your meals, and limit trans fats found in fried foods, chips and nutella as much as possible.
Find Your ‘Portion Point’
Eating more or less than your body requires for fuel causes hormonal shifts, so it’s important to honour your appetite. Overeating not only packs on the pounds as can under-eating as you r body moves into starvation mode and holds everything. When you don’t eat enough for your body’s daily caloric needs, your body produces the stress hormone, cortisol, a fat storage mechanism. Chronic stress leads to weight gain, so eating too little can sabotage your goals.
Move with Joy
A combination of mobility and resistance training produces muscle-building testosterone, keeps cortisol levels down and generates appetite-suppressing ghrelin, helps joints stay health and increases the all important happy hormones (dopamine and serotonin) that keep you motivated and feeling empowered. Try one of the SPB Body Method ‘Glow’ sessions for a super sweat and motivational boost.
Keep The Equilibrium
Daily stressors aren’t usually life-threatening, but our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline to respond to the ‘threats’ as though they were. Chronic long term stress creates a trauma response in the brain, so over time you begin to process thoughts and emotions less effectively, weight gain, joint pain, mood changes and sleep problems. Carving out time for yourself and ways to build space into your day is important for staying connected to your body, to your emotions and also to give yourself permission to ‘be’, we don’t always have to ‘do’. Find what gives you joy and makes you feel good, laughter, immersive activities and connecting to others are great ways to be present in life and relieve tensions.