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  • Writer's pictureSandy Jolles

Finding Hormonal Harmony

Hormones are chemical messengers with a profound impact on our health, wellbeing, cognition, energy levels, and longevity. 

 

Under normal circumstances, our hormones function as they should, allowing us to lead healthy, rich, and fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, hormonal imbalances can arise for numerous reasons, adversely affecting our quality of life and productivity.

 

To that end, let’s discuss a topic on most the minds of most individuals: finding hormonal harmony.


The Importance of Hormonal Health

Hormones are crucial for overall health, physical development, well-being, cognition, fertility, metabolism, sleep, and more.

 

Good hormonal health is linked to longevity, high energy levels, improved sleep efficiency, and improved neurocognitive health.

 

Because of their broad and nuanced impact on the body, taking good care of your hormonal health is necessary for optimizing your health and wellbeing. 

Activities With a Positive Impact on Hormonal Health


Good Sleep

Most individuals have a basic understanding of sleep and its importance for good health and wellbeing. After all, we have all had nights of poor sleep and can remember how irritable and unproductive we felt in the morning.

 

Sleep affects our hormones, which partially explains why we need at least seven hours of rest each night to feel good, stay healthy, and reduce disease risk.3

 

Research also finds sleep to be crucial for hormonal health. Poor sleep appears to affect several hormones, including:

 

  • Human growth hormone (HGH)

  • Leptin

  • Ghrelin

  • Insulin

  • Cortisol 


Healthy Nutrition

The foods and beverages you consume can have a positive or negative impact on your hormones.

 

Whole foods are rich in protein, dietary fats, and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), which the body needs to produce hormones and keep them balanced. For example, zinc is a mineral involved in numerous bodily processes and is necessary for healthy testosterone levels in both women and men.

 

Zinc is also vital for thyroid health.  Hypothyroidism can have multiple adverse effects on your health and wellbeing, including a higher risk of depression, chronic fatigue, and sensitivity to cold.

 

Ultimately, it is paramount to consume whole and nutritious foods, while reducing your intake of processed junk. Eat a wide range of fruits and vegetables to obtain the nutrients your body needs.


Stress Management

We all know that stress affects our health, with numerous studies suggesting stress increases the risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, alcohol abuse, emotional eating, sleep deprivation, and more. 

 

However, stress can also adversely affect your hormones. One prominent example is cortisol; your stress hormone. Going through a period of high stress can cause your body to secrete more cortisol, leading to a chronically elevated level, which can then contribute to:

  • Water retention

  • Extreme sugar cravings

  • High blood pressure

  • Sleep issues

 

Getting more sleep is the best first step to managing your stress. Other effective strategies include meditation, spending time in nature, having a hobby, and getting regular physical activity.


Physical Activity

Humans have evolved to move our bodies – whether to build, gather, hunt, mate, or care for our children. Simply put, movement is in our DNA, and countless studies show how beneficial regular exercise is.

 

Physical activity's most notable benefits include improved mental health, physical resilience, reduced stress, and superior cognition.

 

In addition, physical movement has a positive impact on our hormones – exercise improves hormone receptor sensitivity, signaling, nutrient delivery, and health outcomes.

 

For example, regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity, which means the pancreas produces less of the hormone for us to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Research suggests that higher insulin sensitivity can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

Second, exercise has an important regulatory impact on several hormones necessary for good health and wellbeing. These include:

 

  • Testosterone

  • Estrogen

  • Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1)

  • Human growth hormone (HGH)



Conclusion

Taking care of your hormones is one of the most beneficial things a woman can do to ensure good health, longevity, and vitality. 

 

Despite life’s challenges that come our way, we must make an effort to lead healthier lives by prioritizing sleep, eating well, managing our stress, and engaging in physical activity.

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