Everyone has heard of hormones; these are the things that we have in our bodies that seem to control everything – they get the blame for everything too. Angry teenagers, for example, are excused due to the hormone changes that are happening in their bodies. Women find that their moods change throughout their menstrual cycle; again, this is down to different hormones being produced. So yes, hormones do get the blame, but they really are what is causing the issues.
This is why looking after our hormones (there are over 100 different hormone types in our bodies) as best we can is a good idea if we want to be happy and healthy for as much of the time as possible. Here are some ways it can be done.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
If your hormones are already out of balance then going on any form of deprivation diet won’t work; in fact, it will make you feel worse. Your body will think it is starving and go into a serious stress mode, storing as much fat as it possibly can so that it can use it when there really is no food to go around.
It’s cortisol, the stress hormone, that does most of this work. It tells your fat cells to stick where they are, and it also starts to shut down your metabolism so that nothing gets used up within your body. When you start to eat normally again (because it’s impossible to sustain a deprivation diet long term) you will, in fact, not only put on the weight that you might have lost, but you’ll put on even more on top because your body will want to ensure nothing like what it just went through will ever happen again.
It’s far better not to diet at all, but rather start the weight loss process by doing more exercise. Once you have started losing weight naturally that way, it will be easier to switch to healthier foods because you’ll be feeling positive about your weight and want to do something more about it.
Of course, it’s far easier said than done when it comes to suggesting you don’t stress, but it is important to stay as calm as possible. When you are stressed, cortisol is produced at high levels. As we’ve already seen, this particular hormone causes fat to be stored (especially around the stomach area), but it does a lot more than that; cortisol suppresses the immune system, so you pick up bugs and illnesses a lot more easily. It also causes digestive issues, so you have a lot of pain and discomfort. As well as that, it decreases your energy levels and lowers your libido.
Although it’s not always possible to be stress-free, you need to do your best to keep everything calm and peaceful in your life. Try to recognize what your stressors are – what is that makes you angry or tense? What keeps you up at night? – and make sure you have some form of stress management in your life such as yoga, music, mindfulness, or even cannabis which can be prescribed for anxiety and stress. If this latter idea appeals you can grow cannabis at home so take a look at the Buds Grow Guide led grow guide for more information.
If you are regularly getting less than six hours of sleep per night, your hormones could have something to say about it. Not getting enough sleep (that’s around seven to eight hours) can have an impact on your energy levels, mood, weight, and can even be the trigger for some more serious problems such as heart disease, strokes or type 2 diabetes.
It’s essential to prioritize a full night’s sleep to ensure that your hormones can become re-set and re-balanced as you sleep. If you know what time you need to be awake in the morning make sure you go to bed at the right time so that you can get enough sleep. Turn off all electronic devices and don’t watch TV or play with your smartphone. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, you might try reading a book, which can put your brain into the right mode for sleep. If you don’t need to be up for a particular time, then don’t set your alarm – wake up naturally and you (and your hormones) will feel better for it.
When you start to look into what hormones really are you’ll see that many of them are actually made of fat which is why it is important to have some fat in your diet. Without it, your hormones will become seriously unbalanced, and your mood and happiness levels will certainly fall.
Eating healthy fats has other benefits too. They make you feel fuller for longer, so you will be less likely to snack. You’ll also find that your blood sugar is more balanced, and this helps to reduce the insulin you’re producing. Since insulin is a fat storing hormone, you don’t want too much of this in your body at one time. Try to eat more oily fish, organic full-fat dairy products, grass-fed meat, nuts and seeds, olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados to keep your hormones well-balanced.
Add Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the vitamin that people are most likely to be deficient in because it comes (mainly) from sunshine. Since the northern hemisphere of the world doesn’t get enough year-round sunshine to keep our optimum vitamin D levels up, it’s a good idea to take supplements which will boost those levels and help to balance your hormones better. In fact, studies have shown that vitamin D is itself a hormone and one of its many important jobs is to support all the other hormones in your body. It also assists your immune system and can possibly protect against breast cancer.
Vitamin D can also be found in some foods, so if you want to boost your levels, even more, it’s good to eat foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and tuna, for example), orange juice, cheese, beef liver, and soy milk.