Hormones can have a significant impact on the way we look and feel. How can we manage them in a way that supports overall well-being? Much of what you know about good health habits can be used to balance hormones. There are no secrets or quick fixes, and it isn’t rocket science either. These six common-sense strategies may help you balance your hormones and feel better more often. Resolve to get back to the basics to feel better.
Regular, moderate exercise helps regulate hormones related to weight management, positive mood, muscle development, and inflammation. You’ll also lower your risk of chronic illness, such as diabetes and heart disease. Don’t worry if you haven’t exercised in a while, or ever. Start with walking at a comfortable pace and build from there.
Aim for seven to eight hours’ sleep each evening. Less than that puts you at risk for hormonal imbalance. Among the hormones impacted are insulin and cortisol (that’s the one we all know is associated with excess belly fat) and ghrelin, which controls hunger cues. Too little sleep not only puts us at risk for poor health outcomes, but it also wreaks havoc with our waistlines.
Fill up with fiber
Fiber not only helps us feel fuller, longer, it also regulates the digestive system. There are many benefits to adequate intake of fiber in relation to hormones. Two of the most important are improved insulin resistance and better satiety cues. If you don’t typically get in enough fiber, add it to your diet gradually to avoid gastrointestinal discomfort.
Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks
Sugar-laden soda and fruit juice reduce insulin sensitivity, increase belly fat and increase the risk of chronic illness. Alternate these beverages with water or club soda with cucumber, herbs or fruit slices.
Like fiber, protein promotes satiety. It also regulates ghrelin, the hunger hormone. There are many good choices including eggs, beans, broccoli, lean meats, legumes, and oats. Include protein with every meal but take care not to overdo. Protein in amounts that far exceed recommended daily allowances have not shown any benefit and may, in fact, cause harm.
It is okay to slow down and give up the losing race for a busyness badge. You will not win anything in the end. Instead, notice what is happening in your body. Is there tension or holding? Is your breath shallow? Breathe deeply. Notice your feet on the floor, drop your shoulders and relax your brow. Spend some time every day doing what restores you. Chronic stress and overwhelm causes hormonal imbalance. Bring your life and hormones back into balance with a stress management plan.