Hormones are “chemical messengers” produced by various glands, such as the reproductive, pineal, pituitary, thyroid, adrenal and pancreatic glands, in our body. The swift production and consumption of these hormones and their balanced ratio relative to one another is essential for a healthy metabolism, growth, and sexual activity.
Hormonal imbalance is an increasingly growing phenomenon in the modern world thanks to our frenzied lifestyles, disorganized eating habits, and the absence of routine exercise from our daily schedules. Common symptoms of hormonal imbalance include fatigue, exhaustion, acne, bloating, weight fluctuation, mental health problems, migraines, and a host of menstrual problems.
Apart from this, the number of some hormones in our system also declines with age because our system is too exhausted and worn out to produce them for us in sufficient quantity. Below are some ways to ensure that your hormones are balanced, without needing to use supplements such as pills, injections, and replacement therapies. These supplements can, in turn, adversely affect other functions of the body — for instance, irregularity in menstrual cycles and hormonal releases.
Stress is the top contributing factor behind and consequence of hormonal imbalance. The imposition of stress from any cause, be it physical, mental, environmental, or nutritional, results in the production of stress regulating hormones, Cortisol, and Adrenaline. If you are prone to getting stressed out easily and consistently, your body naturally tends to produce a high amount of cortisol to counter the effects of stress. This can result in an imbalance in the secretion of hormones and exhaust cortisol producing adrenal glands. This can result in possible weight gain because the constant production of cortisol is done by utilizing energy-providing glucose that your body gets from the sugary intake. Undeniably, countering stress is a matter of high importance. Prioritize your mental health by liberating and detaching yourself from the ‘fight or flight’ mode. Remind yourself that your boss or your professor wouldn’t chop you up to pieces if you fail to meet a deadline. You will find a way to pay the bills that scare you. Your mom’s heart surgery won’t get any easier with you biting your nails down to their cuticles. What may make it easier is meditation, a commendable activity to relieve stress from the mind and the body and allow it to breathe in peace. Remember that you are a support system for those around you, but your body is your ultimate reliance. Listen to your body when it’s straining due to pressure. Go out for a walk. Play ball with your kids. Jam to some music while doing house chores. Grab a novel or watch a movie to give yourself a mental and physical break before you have to face a meltdown.
Most of us are likely to sacrifice our sleep to meet a project deadline, look after our sick toddler, or even binge-watch a TV series. Insufficient sleep is another reason our health can deteriorate. A lack of sleep can lead to diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and appetite issues as a result of hormonal imbalance. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep cycles in humans and functions according to the environmental observations made by the body. Exposure to unnecessary blue light, particularly at nighttime tricks your body into perceiving it as daylight and suppresses the signals for the body to rest. Getting an uninterrupted sleep of 6-8 hours not only helps you feel energetic and refreshed, but it is also crucial as it helps in regulating cortisol levels.
An ideal intake of quality food is crucial for the sufficient production and balance of hormones. There are a number of fruits, nuts, and veggies that facilitate healthy eating habits, and many others that can cause an alarming hormonal imbalance. Sugar, for instance, can cause the levels of insulin in our body to spike until your cells become resistant to insulin. Eating diets with minimal sugar intake help regulate insulin levels and keep your body energized. Processed carbohydrates and dairy products also contribute to haphazard hormonal activity. Carbs are another factor contributing to insulin resistance, apart from sugar. Dairy products, on the other hand, can lower levels of reproductive hormones in females. Lean fatty fish, fiber-loaded products, and Japanese green tea are other options to add to your diet plan for effective hormonal functioning. Avoid overeating and undereating. Construct a diet plan that provides you with around 1200 calories per day.
Exercise and Yoga
Gentle and regular exercise is effective in regulating and supporting the efficiency of hormones that control and regulate appetite, reducing the chances of insulin resistance and enhancing insulin sensitivity. Whether you are capable of performing an intense exercise such as aerobics, or are a gym freak, or just prefer a daily walk, exercise brings many benefits for muscle-maintaining hormones.
Avoiding Tobacco and Alcohol
Toxins, such as nicotine, are known to disrupt hormonal balance in several glands including the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid glands. This can cause osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, and reduce fertility levels. Smokers have to be careful not to be harmful to those around them. For instance, parents who smoke do as much damage to their infants as they do to themselves due to passive smoking. Alcohol consumption in males is also proven to cause disruption in conventional levels of sperm cells and testosterone production.
Hormones are responsible for numerous bodily functions, both voluntary and responsive. Regulating hormones in the most natural way is only possible by taking care of our body and its needs through healthy activities and lifestyle choices.