12.10.2010

Hormones, Part 3: Rebalancing


As you read on Wednesday, when our cortisol, adrenaline, and insulin levels are out of balance, our health suffers. It starts with minor symptoms and can progress to more serious issues.


So what are some ways to rebalance these hormone levels? I’ll give you one guess… nutrition! Oh, and exercise, stress management, and other lifestyle choices will help too.








Nutrition


  • Never skip meals! When you do, your blood sugar gets out of whack and you tend to experience increased cravings and mood swings. Not to mention your metabolism slows down because it’s waiting for the next time you eat.


  • Focus on whole foods and avoid processed or refined foods whenever possible. Whole foods supply us with the vitamins and minerals we need to sustain the processes inside of our body. When we don’t get enough of these important nutrients, our organs and tissues suffer, leading to health symptoms.


  • Make sure that each meal and snack you eat contains a balance of proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. All of these components are needed for balance. So, for example, instead of having an apple for a snack, try an apple with almond butter for dipping and some whole grain crackers.


  • Include fresh fruits and vegetables into your nutrition plan.


  • Drink plenty of water each day! Remember, the minimum is half of your body weight in ounces, each day. Increase this if you exercise, live in a dry climate, drink caffeine, consume sugar, or consume alcohol.

Stress Management





This is something that all of us probably need to work on. Why does managing stress aid in balancing the hormones? Because hormones are often secreted in response to stress, which contributes to an excess inside of the body. Make downtime an important part of each day. It can be something as simple as spending 5-10 minutes reading a good book each afternoon, or listening to music before you fall asleep at night. When you are feeling overwhelmed, practice deep breathing to keep yourself centered.


Exercise


It is important to include a variety of exercises into your routine: flexibility and calming exercises; resistance training; and cardiovascular or stimulating exercises. Rather than just running every day or lifting weights a few times a week, try a combination of running, walking, yoga, pilates, and swimming, for example. However, remember that exercising too much can wear the body out and lead to poor health by the buildup of oxidants. It is important to find the right balance and not overdo it.






Lifestyle


The last component to balancing your hormones is your lifestyle choices. Try to make decisions that will add to a healthy environment. Educate yourself on how toxins affect your hormones and your health, whether they are coming from things like lotions or shampoos, laundry detergents, or your food.


There are many components to finding a balance, and if you can work slowly in each category above, you WILL notice a difference in your mood, energy and overall health.



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