Daily Habits For Happier Hormones
You may not know that a women’s hormonal health is delicate and fluctuates everyday. As women, our main hormone production are more of a dance between oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone, where as men dominantly produce testosterone. Testosterone is commonly known as the male sex hormone. However both men and women actually need and produce testosterone. With that said the levels of testosterone produced and their functions are significantly different between the genders.The balance between the three is optimal for overall health and productive function.
Focusing on women’s health, these are the hormone’s function and roles. The main reproductive hormones oestrogen, testosterone, and progesterone are instrumental in, fertility and overall wellbeing.
Here is a more in depth description of each:
Oestrogen stimulates the growth of tissue, such as development of breast and reproductive organs and ensures their function. In the brain, it boosts the synthesis and function of neurotransmitters that affect sleep, mood, memory, libido, and cognitive factors such as learning and attention span. Oestrogen decreases the perception of pain, preserves bone mass and increases good cholesterol. It also preserves the elasticity and moisture content of the skin, dilates blood vessels and prevents plaque formation in blood vessel walls.
Testosterone enhances libido and sexual response. It strengthens ligaments, builds muscle and bone, assists brain function and is associated with assertive behaviour and a sense of well-being. The level of testosterone influences both stamina and restful sleep. It has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease in both men and women.
Progesterone is made primarily by the ovaries. The adrenal glands, peripheral nerves, and brain cells produce lesser amounts. Progesterone ensures the development and function of the breasts and female reproductive tract. In the brain, progesterone binds to certain receptors to exert a calming, sedating effect. It improves sleep and protects against seizures. Progesterone is also a diuretic. It enhances the sensitivity of the body to insulin and the function of the thyroid hormones. It builds bone and benefits the cardiovascular system by blocking plaque formation in the blood vessels and lowering the levels of triglycerides. Progesterone also can increase libido and contribute to the efficient use of fat as a source of energy.
As you now are aware, this balance of hormones not only contributes to our sexuality and fertility but also to generally how we feel as women. Without balanced hormones we are not going to feel optimal or be able to feel and operate as the best we could.
What women do on a daily basis creates the fundamental building blocks for our hormone production and cyclical patterns. Below are 7 ways to naturally balance hormones, that are easy to integrate and implement in day to day living.
7 Natural Ways to Balance Your Hormones
- Check Protein Intake. I know from experience, if you are under consuming protein you will begin to make it more challenging for your body to produce optimal amounts of hormones. Whilst previously eating a low protein diet, I felt lacking in energy and saw poorer performance in my workouts. I was unaware at the time but after switching to a diet incorporating more sources of protein, I have experience being able to go stronger in my workouts and not feeling completely depleted after a session. Protein intake is actually contributes to levels of oestrogen and prolactin (linked to immunity, metabolism and breast milk production) and with a decrease of protein the likelier increase in stress responses and thyroid imbalance.
- Low Impact Workouts. For anyone who thinks low impact is not effective, head to a pilates class. As once a dedicated HIIT fan, I began to notice my energy levels being zapped for the whole day after a workout. Pilates has been a game changer for my own in my personal journey, I began yoga many years ago, however was desiring more full body strength and stability rather than flexibility. I began going to reformer classes at a local studio, and instantly appreciated the challenge of building up my strength whilst still being able to not spike my cortisol levels. Cortisol is not all bad but excess amounts of cortisol can cause several symptoms, such as weight gain, headaches, irritability. Try it out for yourself and let me know if you can tell the difference.
- Focus on gut health. I sound like a broken record but your gut health is never not important, especially when it comes to our hormonal health. The human microbiome (the collection of bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract) are crucial to our physiology and metabolism. Every system in the body is connected and our gut is intrinsically linked to overall health and hormone balance. The estrobolome is a collection of bacteria in the gut which is capable of metabolising and modulating the body’s circulating oestrogen. It is the bacteria in the gut, and the estrobolome, that affects oestrogen levels, which in turn can impact weight, libido and mood.
- Consume Healthy Fats. Our hormones love healthy fats! They literally are the building blocks for properly functioning happy hormones. Eating good fats is essential for hormone production as it is these fats that build our hormones as well as reduce inflammation. I always include a portion of fat in each meal, my favourites are olive oil, nuts or seeds, fatty fish and avocados.
- Stress Reduction. Our stress levels have to be under reins, if our hormones are to produce in a harmonious way. When our systems are stressed, our bodies feel threatened and under attack. we produce hormones to reproduce, if we are stressed our bodies our focused on survival rather than reproduction. As a result our hormones become out of whack and our of balance. Stress reduction can look like incorporating acts of self care and regularly checking in with out mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Get consistent, high quality sleep. Sleep is so underrated! Sleep is the time when our body rest, repairs and naturally detoxes. Getting adequate sleep is important for regulating a number of hormones, including: cortisol, oestrogen and progesterone. hunger hormones, like insulin, leptin, and ghrelin. Every noticed how of balance you can feel after getting of an overnight flight or staying up all night, a long time ago but I can relate to the horrible feeling of feeling so off balance, famished and out of sync after a night out, this is because our hormones and circadian rhythm are interconnected, when one gets off track so does another. Sleep is a super power!
- Do Not Run Off Caffeine. As a self proclaimed coffee snob myself, it is easy for me to run of just a coffee in the morning. In previous time’s a coffee on an empty stomach sounded like a great idea to boost my energy levels. I was wrong, after many years of getting away with this, it soon started to take its tool on my hormonal health. I was unaware of the havoc it was having on my hormones. Human’s studies have shown that caffeine increases hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine during resting periods. So drinking coffee actually re-creates stress conditions for the body. The release of too many of these hormones sends our body into a “fight or flight” behavioural mode. As an anxious person anyway, I thought the feeling of running off adrenaline in the morning totally normal, until I tried having my caffeine with some healthy fat, fibre and protein and saw the steadiness in my mood and energy improve dramatically.
I hope these tips help you create happier and healthier hormone balance in your own body. Enjoy trying these out for yourself and remember to stay consistent to provide more peace and to see results sooner.
Categorised in: Hormones
This post was written by Amelia Crossley