Do you feel like each month your hormones are taking you are on an emotional and physical roller coaster? You might not be aware how much these chemical messengers actually control your life.
The endocrine system is the human body’s network of glands that produce more than 100 hormones. They maintain and regulate your bodily functions and aren’t just about your monthly cycle. They control your metabolism, weight, energy, mood, brain function, sleep and much more…
Hormones really do control how we look, feel, think and perform – and for something so important it is great to have an idea on how we can support them.
Here are some things to know about your hormones
1. Importance of our stress hormone
When your body is in ‘fight or flight’ mode too often you will find that high levels of cortisol will store fat (usually around your belly). Your body will also suppress your immune system, cause digestive issues and your energy levels and sex drive will crash.
Suggestion: Recognise what is causing you to feel stressed (it might not be just the obvious ones) and prioritise daily stress management. I have a playlist that I like to listen which helps me to relax. Other things I do are: deep breathing, yoga and meditation.
2. Eating a balanced healthy diet
Your body will go into stress mode if it thinks there is a lack of food. Diets won’t work if your hormones are out of balance. Your body will go into stress mode as it thinks you are in a famine!
Once in stress mode, cortisol kicks in and tells your fat cells to hang on for dear life. Your metabolism will start to shut down – so when you start eating normally again, guess what? You will gain more wait.
Suggestion: Stop dieting for good and start nourishing your hormones instead so that they increase your metabolism and get you burning fat, not storing it.
3. Healthy fats and incorporating them into your diet
Many of your hormones are made from fat, so stay away from the skinny food & drink options. Eating healthy fats helps you to feel full; it helps to balance blood sugar & reduces insulin (your fat-storing hormone).
Suggestion: Choose avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, organic full fat dairy, grass fed meat and oily fish.
4. Over-training effects your hormones in the body
While regular exercise can have a lot of proven benefits — lowering stress levels, giving you more energy, better managing your weight and improving heart health. When you have a good workout session, certain hormones come into play such as cortisol (the stress hormone), growth hormone and testosterone to name a few. This is a good thing, and the body is generally very good at coping with the stresses placed upon it by exercise.
However, overtraining is a different kettle of fish and can wreak havoc on your body’s hormones
Suggestion: Exercise smarter. Listen to your body. Take regular breaks from sitting. Walk more. Short burst (or HIIT) training can increase fat burning hormones like testosterone and growth hormone. Do yoga. Vary your routine. If you are unsure get yourself a personal trainer who will have the expertise to how they can help you achieve your fitness goal.
5. The gut and hormone connection
It has been written that your gut and hormones are inextricably linked. Food sensitivities or gut flora imbalances can upset the way your hormones work and reduce the absorption of the nutrients your hormones need.
Suggestion: Work alongside a nutritionist who will advise which foods to cut out due to sensitives you may have (gluten, dairy, soy and corn are the big ones). Get tested if you suspect any underlying infection. It has been suggested that fermented foods (live yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha) can restore your good bacteria. I drink kombucha and feel so much better for it.
6. Liver health
Your liver can be congested with toxins and waste. This congestion can hang around longer than necessary, messing with the natural detoxification of your hormones, especially oestrogen.
If your liver is busy with that bottle of wine you had last night, it won’t be able to deal with your oestrogen. Your oestrogen will be recirculating back into your system, potentially causing PMS, bloating, headaches, mood swings and breast tenderness.
Suggestion: Reduce your exposure to toxins around you. Switch to more natural organic household and personal care products, avoid plastic, reduce alcohol and choose organic foods.
7. The Importance of a good night’s sleep
Getting less than six hours of sleep a night can seriously impact your energy, mood and waistline. It can also increase your risk of more serious health conditions as you get older.
Suggestion: Make sure you are prioritising a good night’s sleep. For me I need a different amount of sleep at different times of my cycle of which I am mindful of. Being aware of where I am at and taking the necessary steps to help me which can be anything from: turning off screens at least an hour before I go to sleep, No caffeine or alcohol in the evening, lavender oil, meditation & breathing techniques.
8. Peri-menopause starts earlier than you think
Some women sail through these years, but the majority will suffer with symptoms including fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, PMS, brain fog, poor sleep, low libido and hot flushes.
Suggestion: You are more likely to find this time a little easier if you have a hormone friendly diet and lifestyle. It is never too late or early to start.
9. Vitamin D is your secret hormone
Vitamin D is a hormone produced by the kidneys that helps to control the concentration of calcium in the blood and is vital for the development of strong bones. It supports all your other hormones, as well as being a huge friend to your immune system.
You are likely to be Vitamin D deficient if you live in the Northern Hemisphere and you find yourself inside working during the day. This will be because you may not be getting enough year round sunshine.
Suggestion: Get your Vitamin D levels tested and take supplements throughout the winter months.
10. Your thyroid hormones run your metabolism
If your thyroid hormones are too high, you’ll get anxious, sweaty, palpitations and weight loss. Too low and you could have fatigue, weight gain, brain fog, low mood, cold hands/feet, PMS, hair loss and a lot more!
Suggestion: Get your thyroid properly tested if you suspect you may be affected. Your nutritionist will help put together a balanced diet so that your Thyroid is supported.
Being aware of your hormones and how they affect your body will make a positive difference to you. There is so much more to know about hormones that it can be a little overwhelming. Start with making small steps each day and you will begin to notice a positive change.
If you’d like any help with your own hormone issues please get in contact by booking yourself in for a free consultation.
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All material provided on carolinedearlove.co.uk web site is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your Doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health program.