The body has a number of different hormones which help to regulate a variety of functions. For instance, hormones like estrogen and progesterone help with female reproduction, while epinephrine and norepinephrine impact our “fight or flight” response. Normally, glands in the body produce the exact amount of hormones needed for your body to function optimally.
However, there are a number of different factors that can have an impact on how our hormones function in the body. In some cases, modern lifestyles that tend to include a heavy reliance on processed foods, fast pace and high stress, can all contribute to changes in hormones. On the other hand, there are certain hormonal conditions, like thyroid or PCOS which can have a significant impact on hormones as well.
When it comes to hormone health, always make sure to check with your physician before making any dramatic lifestyle changes. Certain conditions (like thyroid or PCOS) require treatment from an MD to diagnose and manage.
Living a healthy lifestyle is one important factor that can contribute to hormone health. Here are a few healthy living tips to consider:
Make sure that you are eating enough important nutrients.
Eating enough protein at meals can actually increase hormones that help to control hunger levels. This can be helpful for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy body weight.
In addition, not eating enough food in general can cause hormone dysfunction, particularly for women. For women, a low body weight as a result of excessive exercise or not eating enough can cause something called amenorrhea. With amenorrhea, these factors signal the glands in the body to stop producing reproductive hormones. Consequently, a woman with amenorrhea won’t have her period regularly, which impacts reproduction.
Get regular exercise.
As mentioned in our article about Eating to Manage Blood Sugars, insulin is a hormone that helps to make sure the sugar in your bloodstream is used for energy throughout the body. When the body has too much sugar in the bloodstream (caused by a diet that is high in processed, simple sugars) and insulin levels are too high for a long period of time, insulin becomes less effective at doing its job.
One way to help your body become more sensitive to insulin (and help it do its job effectively) is through exercise. Figure out ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It can be as simple as parking your car further away from the office entrance so you are required to walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or biking to your destination.
Manage your stress.
Stress can lead to significant changes in a variety of hormones throughout the body. Sometimes, chronic stress can lead to certain endocrine disorders, weight gain and obesity. Although some stress is normal in day-to-day life, chronic stress caused by things like a toxic work environment or relationship, can be incredibly detrimental long-term.
Make sure you regularly practice stress-reducing strategies to help keep your stress under control. Things like engaging in activities that you enjoy daily, chatting with friends and family or seeking professional help can be beneficial!
Cell Press. (2006, September 6). Eating Protein Boosts Hormone That Staves Off Hunger. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060905225848.htm
Borghouts, L. B., & Keizer, H. A. (2000). Exercise and insulin sensitivity: a review. International journal of sports medicine, 21(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-2000-8847Ranabir, S., & Reetu, K. (2011). Stress and hormones. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 15(1), 18–22. https://doi.org/10.4103/2230-8210.77573