September 25, 2018
Men and Women both need to maintain a healthy hormonal balance. Hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and insulin play important roles in helping both sexes maintain good health and longevity. Hormones affect your appetite, weight, sex drive, and mood — meaning any imbalances can put you at risk for health issues such as weight gain, infertility, depression, and more. Achieving and maintaining a healthy hormonal balance is key to staving off these types of conditions and improving your overall quality of life.
Here are 7 effective ways to regulate your hormones and reduce your risk for health problems associated with hormonal imbalances.
1. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is shown to naturally reduce the stress hormone cortisol and increase the brain’s production of feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin to improve your mood and behavior. Exercise also helps boost estrogen and testosterone to ward off symptoms of menopause (in women) and andropause (in men), and also decreases insulin production, so you face a reduced risk for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Stick to activities and workouts you love so you can stay physically active for years to come.
2. Manage Stress
When you’re feeling stressed, your body produces higher amounts of cortisol and adrenaline to help you cope with the stressful event. But when you suffer from chronic long-term stress that doesn’t go away, these hormone levels stay elevated — putting you at risk for high blood pressure, obesity, anxiety, and other symptoms that can lead to more serious health problems like heart disease. Instead of allowing stress to take over your life, find new effective ways to manage stress such as meditating, exercising daily, or listening to relaxing music.
3. Get Quality Sleep Every Night
Lack of sleep puts undue stress on the body to increase cortisol and disrupts the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin, which can cause poor appetite, food cravings, and overeating. Sleep loss also leads to imbalances in human growth hormone that can interfere with your metabolism, muscle growth, and glucose control. Aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Make sleep a top priority by creating changes to your sleep environment and lifestyle, as needed, to ensure quality sleep is a top priority.
4. Reduce Sugar Intake
Eating lots of foods high in sugar and fructose can spike your insulin levels and eventually lead to insulin resistance, weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Even natural forms of sugar such as that in maple syrup and honey can increase insulin levels. Start eating less sugar — especially sugar in processed foods and refined carbs like cakes, donuts, and cookies that largely contribute to weight gain.
5. Stop Undereating
While reducing your calorie intake may help you lose excess weight, not eating enough food can stress the body and spike your cortisol levels. Evidence suggests that consuming fewer than 1,200 calories per day can increase cortisol production and may even trigger insulin resistance. If your goal is to lose excess weight, focus instead on eating high-protein foods and exercising regularly.
6. Avoid Harmful Toxins
Certain kinds of cleaning products, plastics, makeup, and deodorants are just some of the everyday household items loaded with harmful toxins that can trigger hormonal imbalances. A chemical found in plastics and canned goods known as BPA has been linked to higher estrogen levels, while arsenic found in tap water can disrupt the glucocorticoid system and cause weight gain, high blood pressure, and insulin resistance. Make a conscious effort to avoid toxins like these, such as swapping out harsh household cleaners with natural formulas that also disinfect, and using water filters that reduce your exposure to arsenic, lead, chlorine, and other dangerous chemicals.
7. Eat More Protein
High-protein foods are rich in essential amino acids that facilitate the release of hormones that control your appetite. Foods high in protein helps regulate the hunger hormone ghrelin to make you feel less hungry, and stimulate other hormones that make you feel full for longer periods of time. Boost your intake of healthy protein sources such as eggs, beans, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese — all of which can help you achieve a healthy hormonal balance, while also increasing your energy.
Healthcare Associates of Texas can help you address hormonal imbalances that can reduce your risk for weight gain, diabetes, heart disease, mood disorders, cancer, and other related health complications. Request an appointment today to learn more about our many treatments and services that can help you achieve a healthier hormonal balance.