The endocrine system is a delicate one. Hormones send the messages that our bodies need in order to function optimally. When our bodies aren’t able to manufacture these important hormones, we suffer from ill health. Here’s what you need to keep in mind if you’re looking to balance your hormones.
The Endocrine System 101
Essentially, hormones are our bodies’ messengers. They tell cycling women’s eggs to mature each month so that pregnancy becomes possible. They tell our brains to start shutting down when it gets close to bedtime. They tell our bodies to respond with alarm and intensity when we’re placed in dangerous situations. In short, they make our organs and bodily systems work together to accomplish all the necessary tasks of human hood.
When our bodies aren’t able to manufacture these important hormones, we suffer from ill health. Whether it’s menstrual irregularity, acne, weight gain, sleep disturbances or mood swings that plague us, we seek to balance our hormones so that we can return to good health.
Fats: The Building Blocks of Hormones
If you’ve decided to balance your hormones, it’s important to know how they are made. Amino acids and cholesterol are directly responsible for hormone manufacture. You need to be sure you’re eating a variety of healthy fats in order to promote hormone production.
If you have issues with high cholesterol, work with your doctor to determine the best kind of diet for you. Otherwise, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating healthy cholesterol sources on a regular basis. Consume healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, pasture-raised meats and eggs, wild-caught fish, nuts, seeds and legumes.
Caffeine and Hormones
Caffeine can also mess with your hormonal balance. Numerous studies have suggested a link between levels of cortisol—a stress hormone that plays a role in weight gain—and caffeine consumption. Even if you’re at rest, you may have higher cortisol levels than are healthy if you’ve consumed caffeine.
“Studies in humans have shown that caffeine increases cortisol and epinephrine at rest, and that levels of cortisol after caffeine consumption are similar to those experienced during an acute stress,” Precision Nutrition states. “Drinking coffee, in other words, re-creates stress conditions for the body.”
Finally, help your body recover its natural hormonal balance by adding some herbs to your diet. Cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, ginger and cumin all reduce inflammation, helping the body to return to its natural rhythm, according to Mindbodygreen.