Harmonizing Hormones for Better Health
by Nina Lane
Hormones. There are many. They play many, many roles in our body and can have a large impact on our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. When they are balanced and in harmony, we feel and look our best. We can imagine our hormones as the musicians of an orchestra playing a beautiful symphony with many parts. In good health, our hormones harmonize in complex relationships, rising and falling like crescendos and diminuendos. All the instruments (hormones) need to play together to achieve harmony. However, when they become unbalanced, they can be a source of dysfunction in the body and poor health. Following the analogy of the orchestra, when out of harmony, the hormones can start to clash and the once beautiful flow can become an awful racket.
Hormones are substances produced in your body to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. They are messengers that create action and effect functions throughout our body. We wake and sleep with the signals of hormones. We eat and feel satisfied with signals of hormones. We feel joy, love, or even fear with the signals of hormones. Metabolism and energy along with our ability to regulate inflammation is regulated by hormones. These messages from our hormones shape our world and how we see it. Without the right messages, we can start to see the world as dysfunctional, stressful, and uninviting.
Hormonal health is controlled by many factors. Some factors, including hormones diminishing with age, are beyond a person’s control. However, our daily choices, environment, stress, and our diet can also influence hormone levels. Thankfully, if we are experiencing hormonal imbalance, we can follow these simple lifestyle and diet changes that can help to restore balance to our hormones.
Eat a nutrient dense diet. It is important to understand that you are literally what you eat. Without the right building blocks, it is impossible to have balanced hormones. For healthy hormones, we need essential amino acids, minerals, and fats from our foods. To ensure you are getting all the building blocks, you need to focus on eating a variety of whole or minimally processed foods, including quality protein, healthy fats, and lots of colourful veggies. As always, we must remember that nutritional needs depend on the individual. To get a better idea of what is right for you, consider a nutritional therapy consultation.
Balance your blood sugar. Too much sugar and refined carbohydrates have been linked to many health issues, and it’s no surprise they play a part in hormonal imbalance. Diets high in sugar and refined carbs have been shown to drive insulin resistance, which can lead to a cascade of hormonal and other health issues. Avoiding these foods and reducing overall carb intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Do a gut check and support digestion. You might not realize it, but your digestive system has a lot to do with healthy hormones. It might be one of the main reasons you experience hormonal imbalance. Even Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Your digestive system is responsible for breaking down your food to absorb the building blocks for hormones, as well as moving hormones out of your body to ensure balance. Supporting digestion, elimination, and gut flora can go a long way in bringing hormones back into balance.
Love your liver. When it comes to hormonal health, your liver is a work horse. It works to ensure the optimal amount of hormones within the blood. It also plays a role in blood sugar balance, eliminating waste from the body, and the absorption of healthy fats, to name a few. We don’t need to do a drastic cleanse to support it, but we can give it the nutrients it needs to do its job better. Try adding liver-loving foods to your diet to support hormone health: beets, cruciferous vegetables, dandelion root, garlic, green tea, and leafy greens.
Reduce toxins. We are exposed to hundreds of toxins each day. They can be found in our personal care products, household cleaners, and the environment around us. Many chemicals that are regarded as generally safe are hormone disruptors. They can impact your metabolism, immune system, and your overall health. Thankfully healthy alternatives are becoming more and more common as the demand rises.
Get enough sleep. The amount and quality of sleep you get is linked to hormone balance. In fact, poor or reduced sleep has been linked to imbalances in many hormones and shown to increase appetite, and impact metabolism and inflammation. Blue light blocking glasses used a couple of hours before bed help shift your hormones so you get a better sleep. Establishing healthy sleep habits can lead to healthier hormones.
Exercise regularly. Not only does exercise produce feel-good hormones and endorphins, it increases our sensitivity to insulin, leading to more energy and a better metabolism. Strength training may boost muscle-maintaining hormones, potentially improving strength and quality of life. Because of these hormone changes, physical activity reduces the risk of disease and protects muscle mass during the aging process.
Starting with one or more of these basic strategies can help you bring more harmony to your hormones. There are many factors in hormonal health, and hormonal harmony is essential for optimal health. Your daily choices in diet and lifestyle have an impact on your health. Every small change counts. To find out more on how you can optimize your hormones and health with nutritional therapy, visit www.ninalanewellness.com.
After spending time in academics and the pharmaceutical industry, Nina Lane decided to follow her passion to truly help people live their healthiest lives. Now as a practitioner utilizing Nutritional Therapy and the latest science-based evidence, she is helping her clients find their individual paths to better health. Her goal is to educate and empower individuals to take control of their health through sustainable, real life change. You can find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling her at (306) 380-6174. Also see the Directory of Services ad on page 19 of the 25.3 September/October issue of the WHOLifE Journal.