Hormones have profound effects on your mental, physical and emotional health.
These chemical messengers play an important role in controlling appetite, weight and mood, among other things.
Normally, your endocrine glands produce the precise amount of each hormone needed for various processes in your body.
However, hormonal imbalances have become increasingly common with today’s fast-paced, modern lifestyle. Also, certain hormones decline with age, and some people experience a more dramatic decline than others.
Fortunately, a nutritious diet and other healthy lifestyle behaviors can help improve your hormonal health and allow you to feel and perform at your best.
This article will show you 12 natural ways to balance your hormones.
1. EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN IN ALL MEALS
Consuming an adequate amount of protein (preferably vegetable) is extremely important.
Dietary protein provides essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own and must be consumed every day to maintain healthy muscles, bones, and skin.
Furthermore, protein influences the release of hormones that control appetite and food intake
Research has shown that eating protein lowers levels of the “hunger hormone”ghrelin and stimulates the production of hormones that help you feel full, including PYY and GLP-1
In one study, men produced 20% more GLP-1 and 14% more PYY after eating a high-protein meal than after eating a meal that contained a normal amount of protein.
Furthermore, participants’ hunger ratings decreased 25% more after the high-protein meal compared to the normal protein meal (6Reliable Source)
In another study, women who consumed a diet containing 30% protein experienced an increase in GLP-1 and a greater feeling of fullness than when eating a diet containing 10% protein.
What’s more, they experienced an increase in metabolism and fat burning.
To optimize hormonal health, experts recommend consuming a minimum of 20-30 grams of protein per mealReliable source
2. PRACTICE REGULAR EXERCISES
Physical activity can strongly influence hormonal health. One of the main Benefits of exercise is its ability to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity.
Insulin is a hormone that has many functions. One is to allow cells to absorb sugar and amino acids from the bloodstream, which are then used for energy and muscle maintenance.
However, a little insulin helps a lot. Too much can be downright dangerous.
High insulin levels have been linked to inflammation, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. What’s more, they are linked to the insulin resistance, a condition in which your cells do not respond properly to insulin signals.
Many types of physical activity have been found to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin levels, including aerobic exercise, strength training and resistance exercise.
In a 24-week study of obese women, exercise increased participants’ insulin sensitivity and levels of adiponectin, a hormone that has anti-inflammatory effects and helps regulate metabolism.
Being physically active can also help increase muscle maintenance hormone levels that decline with age, such as testosterone, IGF-1, DHEA, and growth hormone.
For people who are unable to engage in strenuous exercise, even regular walking can increase levels of these hormones, potentially improving strength and quality of life (19Reliable source)
While a combination of aerobic and resistance training seems to provide the best results, regular physical activity of any kind is beneficial.
3. AVOID REFINED CARBOHYDRATE SUGAR
Sugar and refined carbohydrates have been linked to several health problems.
In fact, avoiding or minimizing these foods can be critical to optimizing hormonal function and preventing obesity, diabetes, and other illnesses.
Studies have consistently shown that fructose can increase insulin levels and promote insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese people with pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Importantly, fructose makes up at least half of most types of sugar. This includes natural forms like honey and maple syrup, as well as high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar.
In one study, people with pre-diabetes experienced similar increases in insulin levels and insulin resistance whether they consumed 1.8 ounces (50 grams) of honey, sugar, or high fructose corn syrupReliable source
In addition, diets high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pretzels, can promote insulin resistance in a large proportion of adults and adolescents.
On the other hand, following a low- or moderate-carbohydrate-based diet whole Foods can reduce insulin levels in overweight and obese people with prediabetes and other insulin resistant conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) (Reliable source, Reliable sour28, Reliable source)
4. LEARN TO MANAGE STRESS
Stress can wreak havoc on your hormones. The two main hormones affected by stress are cortisol and adrenaline, also called epinephrine.
Cortisolis known as “the stress hormone” because it helps your body deal with long-term stress.
Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone that provides your body with a surge of energy to respond to immediate danger.
However, unlike hundreds of years ago, when these hormones were primarily activated by threats from predators, today they are often activated by people’s hectic and often oppressive lifestyles.
Unfortunately, chronic stress causes cortisol levels to remain high, which can lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity, including increased belly fat.
Elevated levels of adrenaline can cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate and anxiety. However, these symptoms are often short-lived because, unlike cortisol, adrenaline is less likely to become chronically elevated.
Research has shown that you may be able to lower your cortisol levels by engaging in stress-reducing techniques such as meditation, yoga, massage, and listening to relaxing music.
A 2005 study review found that massage therapy not only reduced cortisol levels by an average of 31%, but also increased levels of the mood-enhancing hormone serotonin by 28% and dopamine by an average of 31%.
Try to devote at least 10-15 minutes a day to stress-reducing activities, even if you feel you don’t have the time.
5. CONSUME HEALTHY FATS
Including high quality natural fats in your diet can help reduce insulin resistance and appetite.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are unique fats that are taken up directly by the liver for immediate use as energy.
They have been shown to reduce insulin resistance in overweight and obese people, as well as in people with diabetes.
MCTs are found in coconut oil, palm oil and pure MCT oil.
Dairy and monounsaturated fats in olive oil and nuts also appear to increase insulin sensitivity, based on studies in healthy adults with diabetes, pre-diabetes, fatty liver, and elevated triglycerides
In addition, studies have shown thatconsuming healthy fat with meals triggers the release of hormones that help you feel full and full, including GLP-1, PYY, and cholecystokinin (CCK)
On the other hand, trans fats have been found to promote insulin resistance and increase belly fat storage.
To optimize hormonal health, consume a healthy source of fat with every meal.
6. AVOID EATING TOO MUCH AND EATING LESS
Eating too much or too little can result in hormonal changes that lead to weight problems.
Overeating increases insulin levels and reduces insulin sensitivity, especially in overweight and obese people who are insulin resistant.
In one study, insulin-resistant obese adults who ate a 1,300-calorie meal experienced nearly twice the increase in insulin as “metabolically healthy” obese and obese people who ate an identical meal.
On the other hand, cutting your calorie intake too much can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to promote weight gain when it’s high.
One study found that restricting food intake to less than 1,200 calories a day led to increased cortisol levels (53Reliable source)
Interestingly, a 1996 study even suggests that very low-calorie diets can potentially trigger insulin resistance in some people, an effect you can expect to see in people with diabetes.
Eating within your personal calorie range can help you maintain hormonal balance and a healthy weight.
7. DRINK GREEN TEA
Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages there is.
In addition to metabolism-boosting caffeine, it contains an antioxidant known as epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has several health benefits.
Research suggests that drinking green tea can increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in both healthy people and those with insulin-resistant conditions such as obesity and diabetes.
In a detailed analysis of 17 studies, the high-quality studies linked green tea to significantly lower fasting insulin levels.
Some controlled studies have found that green tea does not appear to reduce insulin resistance or insulin levels when compared to a placebo. However, these results may have been due to individual responses.
Since green tea has other health benefits and most studies suggest that it may provide some improvement in insulin response, you may want to drink one to three cups a day.
8. GET CONSISTENT, HIGH-QUALITY SLEEP
No matter how nutritious your diet and how much exercise you get, your health will suffer if you don’t get enough sleep to restore.
A falta de sono tem sido associada a desequilíbrios de muitos hormônios, incluindo insulina, cortisol, leptina, grelina e hormônio do crescimento (68Fonte confiável, 69Fonte confiável, 70Fonte confiável, 71Fonte confiável, 72Fonte confiável, 73Fonte confiável, 74 ).
In a study of men whose sleep was restricted to five hours a night for a week, insulin sensitivity decreased by 20% on average (69Fonte confiável)
Another study looked at the effects of sleep restriction in healthy young men.
When sleep was restricted for two days, leptin decreased by 18%, ghrelin increased by 28%, and hunger increased by 24%. In addition, men craved foods rich in calories and carbohydrates.
Plus, it’s not just the amount of sleep you get that matters. Sleep quality is also important.
Your brain needs uninterrupted sleep that allows it to go through all five phases of each sleep cycle. This is especially important for the release of growth hormone, which occurs mainly at night during deep sleep.
9. STAY AWAY FROM SUGARED BEVERAGES
Stay away from sugary drinks
Sugar in any form is unhealthy. Nonetheless, liquid sugars seem to be the worst by far.
Studies suggest that large amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages may contribute to insulin resistance, especially in overweight and obese children and adults.
In one study, when overweight people consumed 25% of their calories in the form of high fructose drinks, they experienced higher blood insulin levels, reduced insulin sensitivity, and increased belly fat storage.
In addition, research has shown that drinking sugary beverages leads to excessive calorie intake because it does not trigger the same satiety signals that eating solid foods does.(82Fonte confiável, 83Fonte confiável)
Avoiding sugar-sweetened drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your hormonal balance.
10. CONSUME A DIET RICH IN FIBER
Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is an important component of a healthy diet.
Studies have found that it increases insulin sensitivity and stimulates the production of hormones that make you feel full and satisfied.
While soluble fiber tends to have the strongest effects on appetite and diet, insoluble fiber can also play an important role.
A study of overweight and obese people found that consuming a type of soluble fiber called oligofructose increases PYY levels, and consuming insoluble fiber cellulose tends to increase GLP-1 levels.
Both types of fiber caused a reduction in appetite.
11. EAT EGGS ANYTIME
Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet.
They have been shown to beneficially affect hormones that regulate food intake, including reducing insulin and ghrelin levels and increasing PYY
In one study, men had lower ghrelin and insulin levels after eating eggs for breakfast than after eating a bagel for breakfast. (90Fonte confiável)
What’s more, they felt more satisfied and ate fewer calories in the next 24 hours after eating the eggs. (90Fonte confiável)
Importantly, these positive effects on hormones seem to occur when people yolkand egg whites..
For example, another study found that eating whole eggs as part of a low-carb diet increased insulin sensitivity and improved several markers of heart health more than a low-carb diet that included only egg whites.(91Fonte confiável)
Most studies have looked at the effects of eating eggs for breakfast, because that’s when people usually consume them. However, these nutritional potencies can be consumed at any meal, and hard-boiled eggs make a great portable snack.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Your hormones are involved in every aspect of your health. You need them in very specific amounts for your body to function optimally.
Hormonal imbalances can increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.
Although aging and other factors are beyond your control, there are many steps you can take to help your hormones function optimally.
Consuming nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and engaging in other healthy behaviors can go a long way toward improving your hormonal health.