Updated: October 12, 2019
Hormones are chemical messengers of your body that are produced in the endocrine glands and travel around your bloodstream to control the function of tissues and organs. They plays an important role in maintaining your mental, physical and emotional health.
They help control many major processes of your body, including metabolism and appetite, heart rate, sleep cycles, general growth and development, mood and stress levels, sexual function and reproduction, and body temperature.
Normally, your endocrine glands produce the precise amount of each hormone needed for various processes in your body. When you have a hormonal imbalance, you have too much or too little of a certain hormone. Even a small change in any of the hormone can have serious effects throughout your whole body.
Hormonal imbalances have become increasingly common with today's fast-paced modern lifestyle. Fortunately, your hormonal health can be improved by following a nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors. This will definitely allow you to feel you good and perform your best.
Below listed are few things to cope with hormonal imbalance in a natural way.
Dietary protein provides essential amino acids that your body can't make on its own. Therefore, consuming an adequate amount of protein is extremely important every day in order to maintain muscle, bone and skin health. In addition, protein influences the release of hormones that control appetite and food intake. Protein decreases levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone and stimulates the production of PYY and GLP-1 hormones that help you feel full. In take of protein can increase in metabolism and fat burning. Consuming a minimum of 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal is recommended to optimize hormone health.
Physical activity can strongly influence hormonal health. Regular exercise can reduce insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone that allows cells to take up sugar and amino acids from the bloodstream, which are then used for energy and maintaining muscle.
High insulin levels can lead to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. They can also develop insulin resistance, a condition in which your cells don't respond properly to insulin's signals. Aerobic exercise, strength training and endurance exercise can help increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels. It can help increase levels of adiponectin, a hormone that has anti-inflammatory effects and helps regulate metabolism.
Muscle maintaining hormones such as testosterone, IGF-1, DHEA and growth hormone that decline with age can be increased by physical activities. Even regular walking may increase these hormone levels if you are unable to perform vigorous exercise. A combination of resistance and aerobic training seems to provide the best results in reducing the insulin levels. However, any type of physical activity on a regular basis is beneficial.
Sugar and refined carbs are the main source of a number of health problems. Fructose can increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese people with prediabetes or diabetes. Fructose makes up at least half of most types of sugar which includes natural forms like honey and maple syrup, in addition to high-fructose corn syrup and refined table sugar.
Consumption of same amount of honey, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup will have similar increase in insulin levels and insulin resistance. Diets high in refined carbs like white bread and pretzels may promote insulin resistance in most of adults and adolescents. Avoiding these foods and reducing overall carbohydrate intake may decrease insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Overweight and obese people with prediabetes and other insulin-resistant conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are therefore advised to follow a low or moderate carb diet based on whole foods that may help reduce insulin levels.
Cortisol and adrenaline are two major hormones affected by stress which is also called epinephrine. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone as it helps your body cope with stress over the long term.
Adrenaline is the hormone that provides your body energy to respond to immediate danger and hence called as fight-or-flight hormone. Chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain elevated for long period which can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity, including increased belly fat.
Elevated adrenaline levels can cause high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and anxiety. However these symptoms are appears for short term as adrenaline is less likely to become chronically elevated. Engaging in stress-reduction activities like meditation, yoga, massage and listening to soothing music can help normalize your levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
Meditation is the practice of training the mind of an individual to induce a mode of consciousness. It can promote relaxation, build and channel the life energy, and facilitate effortless concentration. There are many forms of meditation, each of which are focused to target certain activity of your body and psyche. It makes the connection with your inner self stronger. Meditation is proven to reduce stress significantly. You will see a very evident change in your mood and stress level within two weeks of meditation. You will be able to feel inner peace even if you are leading your busy lives.
Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) techniques are effective stress relievers and result in significant reductions in stress levels in the majority of participants. This also helps improving quality of life and possibly benefiting functions of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal or HPA axis.
A massage, or other forms of touch, can help release oxytocin and decrease cortisol levels naturally while also lowering pain and other symptoms of stress.
Massage therapy in stressed patients decreases cortisol level, while also increasing serotonin and dopamine leading to stress-alleviating effects.
Acupuncture works by stimulating points located in certain places. The stimulation is done most often by inserting needles through the skin. Every pain has a point somewhere in the body, which can be cured or reduced with massaging and stimulation. It is really beneficial in chronic pains like the lower back aches and neck pain. It is also used to reduce the intensity of headaches and somewhat prevents serious migraine pain.
Treatments can improve physical factors associated with both stress and health problems, including lowering pain, improving sleep and improving heart functions.
People with severe stress can get help alleviate symptoms, including digestive problems, addictions and trouble sleeping by hypnosis.
Deep breathing exercises can also help you manage your stress. Taking deep breaths helps turn down the sympathetic nervous system and kick in the body's natural relaxation response. Even if you don't have the time in your busy life, try to involve at least 10 to 15 minutes per day in stress reducing activities.
Including healthy natural fats in your diet and avoiding unhealthy trans fats can help reduce insulin resistance and stimulate the production of hormones that help control appetite. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are unique fats that are taken up directly by the liver for immediate use as energy. These are found in coconut oil, palm oil and pure MCT oil which can significantly reduce insulin resistance in obese and in people with diabetes.
Dairy fats and monounsaturated fat in olive oil and nuts are also helpful in increase insulin sensitivity, in people with diabetes, prediabetes, fatty liver and elevated triglycerides. Consuming healthy fat in your meals triggers the release of hormones such as GLP-1, PYY and cholecystokinin (CCK) that help you feel full and satisfied.
Food containing trans fats should be avoided as it promote insulin resistance and increase the storage of belly fat.
Cold-water, wild-caught fish like salmon or sardines contains omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce inflammation and help stabilize moods. Healthy fats support brain health and allow us to make important hormones, reducing levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce insulin resistance related to obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome and gestational diabetes. Consuming omega-3 fatty acid can have significant reductions in insulin levels, insulin resistance and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP). Include two or more servings per week of fatty fish like salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel for optimal health. Apart from seafood, you can also include nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil and coconut oil in your diet regularly.
Eating too much or too little may result in hormonal imbalance that can lead to weight problems. Overeating can increase insulin levels and reduce insulin sensitivity, especially in overweight and obese people who are insulin resistant.
On the other hand, levels of the stress hormone cortisol will be increased by cutting your calorie intake too much. Very low calorie diets could potentially trigger insulin resistance in some people.
1,200 calories per day is usually suggested for a healthy person for optimal health. However calorie range depends on person to person and can help you maintain hormonal balance and a healthy weight.
Green tea contains an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has several health benefits including increased insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels for people who are overweight, obese or have diabetes. In addition it can boost your metabolism. Drinking one to three cups per day can be beneficial.
Lack of sleep is one of the most prominent symptoms of hormonal imbalance. A lack of sleep means extra stress hormones like cortisol will be required to keep you up and battle low energy levels. This state of insomnia can be triggered in many ways. It may be because of caffeine, high cortisol levels, or restlessness which can cause daytime sleepiness. We have a defined sleeping cycle of our body and any disruption in it causes a disruption in time of secretion of cortisol. It may take several days to weeks to get regular again once disrupt. Sleep is as important as food and regular physical movement in our life. Sleep deprivation for prolonged duration of time can lead to chronic fatigue, weight gain, moodiness and other symptoms.
Your brain needs uninterrupted sleep that allows it to go through all five stages of each sleep cycle. This is especially important for the release of growth hormone, which occurs mainly at night during deep sleep. Rest when you feel tired and get as much quality, uninterrupted sleep as you can. Sleep for 8 to 10 hours a night depending on your specific needs. Try to stick to a regular schedule since your body loves a routine, and avoid staying up late.
High fiber intake can improve insulin sensitivity and the hormones that control hunger, fullness and food intake. Although soluble fiber tends to produce the strongest effects on appetite and eating, insoluble fiber may also play a role in reduction in appetite.
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods which beneficially affect hormones that regulate food intake, including lowering levels of insulin and ghrelin. It suppress your appetite and make you feel full. Eating whole eggs as part of a low carb diet increases insulin sensitivity and improve several heart health markers more than a low-carb diet that included only egg whites.