Balancing your hormones is one of the most crucial things you can do for your overall well-being and health. Hormones are chemical messengers which travel within the body delivering important information. Sort of like internal memos or emails, keeping the business of our body running smoothly and efficiently.
How do we keep our hormones happy and humming you may ask? We’ve got five ways you can keep your hormones balanced to share with you in today’s post.
Add protein to every meal
Not only do the essential amino acids from protein help your body to build and maintain muscle, skin and bone, they’re also influencing the release of hormones. Specifically, those that regulate our appetite.
Research has shown a dip in your levels of appetite-stimulating hormone ghrelin when you eat high-quality protein.
Look for high quality and unprocessed fish, meat, poultry and other animal products. Strive for of 20–30 grams of protein in your meals.
Exercise on the regular
Exercise has an essential and significant effect on the hormone insulin. Insulin helps our cells to absorb amino acids and sugar from our bloodstream, promoting the creation of energy and maintaining muscle. We don’t want too much insulin though; this can lead to insulin resistance. Research also links high insulin to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Avoid this by partaking in regular physical exercise including aerobic activity (any cardio, including walking) and weight training.
Get your healthy fats in
Every body needs fat to help create hormones, including both saturated and unsaturated fats. They are the essential building blocks of our hormones. Some of the best sources of fat for you are avocado, nuts, high-quality butter, olive oil and oily fish.
Try to avoid eating too many foods containing omega-6 fats (canola, soybean and sunflower oil) and go for the omega-3s instead. Look for salmon, sardines, mackerel, flaxseed, chia seeds, nuts and high-quality dairy and meat products.
Get enough sleep
Too little sleep and poor sleep, which both disrupt our natural rhythms, can contribute to a hormone imbalance. This is because our hormones have a rhythm as well!
Sleep helps your stress hormones remain balanced, increasing your immunity, efficiency and performance. It can also help you to avoid weight gain and susceptibility to mental health issues.
To boost your hormone function, try to keep a regular sleep schedule.
Manage and reduce stress
We’ve touched on this above, but destressing deserves its own paragraph. The two primary hormones linked to stress are cortisol and adrenaline. Hundreds of years ago these hormones helped us to stay alive when we were under threat from predators.
Today they are triggered by less life-threatening situations in our lives. Unfortunately, our bodies can’t tell the difference between the threat of a tiger and the threat of a stressful phone call – we respond the same way. Elevated levels of both cortisol and adrenaline can cause many physical and mental health problems.
Balance your stress hormones by participating in activities like meditation, yoga, exercise and mindfulness.