Tips for Balancing Hormones Naturally

26th November 2014 by admin
balance hormones naturally

Hormones are chemicals produced inside the body, which travel through the blood stream and regulate the activity of certain organs. They’re essential for our everyday activities, as depending on the gland that produces them, hormones are involved in processes like digestion, growth, reproduction, metabolism or mood control.

Some hormones control multiple processes inside the body, and when their production is lower than normal, the organism’s functioning can be affected. Fortunately, an adequate diet and lifestyle changes can balance the secretion of certain hormones, ensuring the proper functioning of the body.

Cortisol

What it does: cortisol controls the reaction to stress, it quickens the heartbeat, helps the body access its fat and glucose stores for energy production and feeds the brain with extra oxygen whenever you’re in danger or in a stressful situation.

What to eat to balance cortisol: eggs, lean meat, rice, hemp and other vegetable protein, peas, avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil, citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, beans, sweet potatoes, wheat bread, low-glycemic fruits.

Additional solutions for balancing cortisol levels: do at least three hours of cardio and weight training per week to lower cortisol and keep stress away. Ideally, your workouts should last for up to 40 minutes, as longer training sessions can increase the levels of this hormone.

Melatonin

What it does: melatonin controls the sleep/wake cycle. It’s produced by the pineal gland located in the brain and is released in higher amounts in the evening and in lower amounts in the morning. This hormone can counteract the effects of cortisol, reducing stress and keeping depression away. Also, it acts as an antioxidant. Too low levels of melatonin seem to be linked with diabetes and obesity.

What to eat to regulate melatonin: sour cherry juice, sour cherries, walnuts, corn, brown rice, peanuts, barley, rolled oats, tomatoes, asparagus, black tea, bananas, broccoli, pomegranate, strawberries, Brussels sprouts.

Additional solutions for balancing melatonin levels: sleep in a dark room, turn off all the electronic devices that emit light and avoid sleeping in tight clothing.

Oxytocin

What it does: the so-called bonding hormone is released whenever you touch someone, and is produced by the hypothalamus. It acts as a neuromodulator in the brain, being of top importance for reproduction, birth and maternal bonding and playing a role in anxiety and social behaviors. Oxytocin can lower blood pressure, heighten trust and self-confidence, reduce stress and increase sex drive.

What to eat to regulate it: a combination of carbohydrates and fats is the best for stimulating the release of oxytocin, and there’s evidence that suggests that comfort food helps in this direction. However it’s preferable to eat a balanced meal that includes those nutrients instead of snacking on unhealthy foods, and to use other methods for increasing your oxytocin levels.

Additional solutions for balancing oxytocin: cuddle with your mate or your pet, it will stimulate the production of this hormone and make you feel better. Getting a massage can also help.

Thyroid hormones (T3, T4)

What it does: Thyroid hormones control the metabolism and energy production. Too low levels can increase stress, lead to nutritional deficiencies and favor inflammation, making you feel tired, constantly cold and moody. An underactive thyroid can make you gain weight.

What to eat to regulate it: iodine supplements, iodine-rich salt, seaweed, shellfish, prawns, whole-grain bread, brown rice, oats, beans, green peas, potatoes eaten with the peel, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, cashews.

Additional solutions for balancing thyroid hormones: exercise for at least 30 minutes a day and get plenty of rest.

Leptin

What it does: Leptin is produced by fat cells and has appetite-suppressing effects, telling your brain when it’s time to stop eating. Too low levels lead to an increased appetite, while too high levels of leptin are associated with increased body fat percentages and obesity.

What to eat to regulate it: cod, halibut, citrus juice, garlic, eggs, lean meat, omega-3 supplements, avocado, olives, olive oil, nuts, turkey, peanut butter, whole grains, beans, oysters.

Additional solutions for balancing leptin production: avoid snacking, exercise to regulate blood sugar levels and avoid working out on an empty stomach. Avoid simple starches and refined foods, as well as sugars. Get enough sleep.

Ghrelin

What it does: Ghrelin is produced inside the stomach and pancreas and sends messages to your brain when you’re hungry. This hormone stimulates the release of growth hormone and regulates the water intake; it affects the stomach acidity and intestinal motility. Imbalances in ghrelin levels seem to be linked with irritable bowel syndrome.

What to eat to regulate it: complex carbs like whole grains, brown rice, oats, low-fat meat, flaxseeds, nuts, omega-3 supplements, kale, walnuts, fiber-rich foods.

Additional solutions for balancing ghrelin production: Avoid dieting, reduce the intake of fructose-rich foods, don’t skip meals and get enough sleep.

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