The effects of hormones on our mental, physical and emotional health can be extreme.
These chemical couriers have a vital role in managing our appetite, weight and mood, among other things.
In normal circumstances our bodies endocrine glands produce specific amounts of each hormone needed for our bodies various processes.
However due to the fast-paced modern lifestyle, hormone imbalances are increasingly more common, not to mention the decline of hormones as we age.
Fortunately, A healthy lifestyle and a nutritious diet can assist in improving your hormonal health and enable you to feel and perform at your best.
* Protein in every meal.
Eating sufficient amounts of protein is crucial in providing amino acids that our bodies do not generate on their own. Protein should be consumed every day in order to support and maintain muscle, bone and skin health.
Protein also effects the release of hormones that manage appetite and food consumption. To improve hormone health, experts recommend eating a minimum of 20-30g of protein per meal.
Physical activity can greatly improve hormone health. A crucial advantage of exercise is its capacity to reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. However, a little insulin goes along way. too much can be downright dangerous.
By performing physical activity we can modify our hormone levels in a way that reduces the risk of disease and protects muscle mass during the aging process.
* Avoid Sugars and refined carbs.
Sugars and refined carbs decrease hormone functions and put us at a greater risk of obesity, diabetes and other diseases, as they have shown to drive insulin resistance.
Avoiding sugars and refined carbs and reducing our overall carb intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
* Stress Management.
Stress can devastate our hormones, the two hormones primarily affected are called Cortisol and Adrenaline, also known as Epinephrine. (eh-puh-nch-fruhn)
Cortisol also known as "the stress hormone" helps us cope with stress long term.
Adrenaline the "fight-or-flight" hormone provides our bodies with surges in energy to respond quickly.
Regrettably, long term stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated, which is known to lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity.
Raised adrenaline levels are known to cause high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and anxiety. Adrenaline is unlikely to become chronically elevated.
Taking part in stress-reduction activities such as meditation, yoga, massage and listening to soothing music can help manage stress levels and in turn cortisol levels.
* Healthy Fats
High quality natural fats within our diets can also help reduce insulin resistance and appetite.
To improve our hormone health, we should eat healthy fat in every meal.
We should not eat trans fats as these are harmful to our bodies.
* How much should you eat
Eating too much or not enough has shown hormone shifts that cause weight issues.
Eating inside your personal calorie range can support maintaining a healthy weight and hormonal balance.
We should aim to eat at least 1,200 calories per day for optimal health.
* Green Tea and Fatty Fish
Drinking Green Tea has been linked to increased insulin sensitivity and lower insulin level for people who are overweight, obese or have diabetes.
For optimal health, we should include two or more servings per week of fatty fish i.e. salmon, sardines, mackerel and herrings.
Long-chained omega-3 fatty acids can help lower cortisol and epinephrine, increase sensitivity and decrease insulin levels in obese and insulin-resistant people.
No matter how nutritious your diet is and how much exercise you get, your health will suffer if you don't get enough restorative sleep.
To maintain optimal hormonal balances, we should aim for at least seven hours of high-quality sleep per night.
* Sugary beverages
Sugar in any form is unhealthy especially liquid sugars.
Avoiding beverages that are sugar sweetened has been proved to be one of the best things we can do to improve our hormone balance.
High intake of sugared beverages is consistently linked to high insulin levels and insulin resistance in overweight and obese adults and children.
* High Fibre
By eating fibre rich foods on a daily basis we protect ourselves against insulin resistance and overeating.
High fibre intake improves the hormones that control hunger, fullness and food intake.
One of the most nutritious foods we can eat are eggs, they are advantageous in affecting the hormones that regulate food intake, including lowering levels of insulin and gherlin.
The majority of studies are on eating eggs at breakfast, however these nutrition powerhouses can be eaten at any-time, and still reap the benefits.
* Bottom Line
Our hormones are intricately involved throughout our health. Imbalances cause obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. However by eating nutritious foods, exercising and taking part in other healthy behaviours regularly we can improve our hormone health.
Insulin resistance is a bad thing, while insulin sensitive is good.