Hormonal health is a huge topic and one that isn't talked about enough. This blog post is just going to touch on the basics to get you thinking about the importance of your own hormonal health.
What are hormones?
Hormones are chemical messengers that are produced in the endocrine glands. When people think of hormones they generally think of the ones linked to reproductive health but it's actually a lot more complex than that. Different glands within our endocrine system produce hormones and have different functions, for example, our adrenal glands produce cortisol while our ovaries produce estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. This could be a whole series of blog posts on its own but hormones do a lot of interesting things in our bodies. Cortisol like I mentioned before regulates stress. Sometimes when we become overstressed we might experience adrenal fatigue. Then hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone are mainly linked to reproductive health.
What can cause hormone imbalances?
You should always speak with your health care practitioner if you think you are experiencing hormonal imbalances but there are a few things you may notice if you are experiencing imbalances. Now remember, we produce multiple types of hormones, for different purposes, so symptoms of hormonal imbalance overall might be quite varied. For the purposes of this blog post I am going to focus more on female reproductive health.
Your age is a big factor. As females we go through puberty, may have children and then experience peri-menopause and menopause. Each of these stages in our lives causes quite a bit of change and its important that we support them through proper lifestyle choices.
Stress is another huge player. Levels of progesterone may be impacted during highly stressful periods of our life as cortisol levels take over.
Digestion can also impact hormonal health. Lack of good bacteria and intestinal permeability can increase your risk of hormonal imbalances. This also leads to my next point on estrogen dominance.
There are multiple causes to estrogen dominance itself. Some factors may include stress, diet, heavy metals and chemical exposure, poor liver function, blood sugar imbalances and more, When this happens our liver and digestive system becomes burdened as a whole.
Xenoestrogens are something that may not be talked about as much but they are toxins that act like estrogens. They can be found in many household goods including plastics, cleaning producers, personal care products, and even in our foods.
What role does nutrition play?
To support and balance hormones, there are various things you can eat to support that. You want to opt for a well balanced and nutrient dense diet. Some people find that lower carb diets are actually helpful in managing their hormonal imbalances while eating higher amounts of healthy fats like avocados and coconut oil. Anti-inflammatory foods and essential fatty-acids found in foods like salmon, walnuts, flaxseed are recommended. Foods rich in B vitamins particularly if you are on birth control which depletes B vitamins.
Be sure to consume enough carbohydrates in order to help with digestion and proper elimination. If we are constipation our waste sits in our colon and toxins can leach back into our body. We also need to eliminate waste to remove excess estrogens.
Lastly, some people find that "superfoods", which is a broad spectrum of foods, can help balance hormones, particularly maca powder and adaptogens like herbs and medicinal mushrooms.
In good health,
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