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What Do Hormones Do?
Hormones are chemical messengers and without them, proper functioning in our body does not occur. They control everything from reproduction, digestion, metabolism, emotions and even hunger and satiety.
When our hormones function properly, we feel great and when they do not, we can have health issues that make us miserable.
I know what it is like to struggle with issues like headaches, constipation, joint pain, PMS and the constant lack of energy.
My personal struggle with hormones has been pretty much since puberty. You can read my full story here, but in short, I suffered monthly migraines, woke up every day not rested, with a dull headache, suffered acne, and to top it all off went through menopause in my mid 30’s!
I have seen my friends experience similar issues, leaving us all to question what is happening to us.
Let’s look a few key hormones systems and you will get the picture as to how important they are.
The hypothalamus signals the production of other hormones and in doing so, helps regulate things like hunger, moods, sleep, body temperature and sex drive.
The Thymus produces the hormone thymosin, which helps regulate the immune system. The thymus shrinks as we age but scientists are not sure it is supposed to, which means that, perhaps, good nutrition could help maintain immune function as we age.
Insulin produced in the pancreas is a key hormone and its sole function is to help blood sugar get into the cells so we have the energy we need for our cells to function. However, too much insulin has been implicated in many health issues.
Hormones produced by our thyroid are associated with metabolism and heart rate. If you have trouble losing weight – your thyroid may not be functioning optimally.
There are many hormones produced by the adrenal glands but their main function is to help us cope with stress, both physical and mental. Because of this, the adrenals rule the roost in the body. This is because protecting us from danger is considered to be one of the most significant systems in the body and because of that when we are stressed, the adrenals can cause all kinds of havoc with other systems.
Pituitary: This is a master endocrine gland that produces hormones that tell other glands and organs to produce more hormones. However, hormones from the adrenals like cortisol or insulin from the pancreas can exert pressure on the pituitary and interfere with other hormones relationships where the pituitary is involved.
Of course, the hormones that often concern most people are the reproductive hormones.
In women, the ovaries produce estrogen, progesterone and small amounts of testosterone before menopause. After menopause, it is the adrenals that produce these hormones to keep women healthy.
For men, the testes produce testosterone and small amounts of estrogen and progesterone.
These are just a few hormonal relationships – it really is complex and often hormone problems are a result of several hormones exerting influence in a way that causes more than one issue. Food and lifestyle can help immensely to feed the various body parts so they work in a more balanced way.
A holistic nutrition professional can help you do this.
Balanced hormones are the key to a having a body in balance. Even small imbalances can cause an issue. Getting a proper diagnosis is key and from there, decisions can be made to help correct the issues.
If you feel like your hormones are out of whack, suffer from headaches, joint pain, exhaustion and a myriad of other PMS or menopause symptoms you may benefit from adding a few new foods into your diet. Thisfree guide outlines the top 10 foods that support your endocrine system.
Follow me at @healthybeetnutrition for more hormone supportive tips.
In conclusion, hormones balance can seem like a fire-throwing circus act at times but our bodies are an amazing machine, given the right fuel with regular exercise and maintenance it will put out those fires for you.
If you’re ready to start living the life you want without the mess & excuse of hormones getting in the way I’d love to chat with you. Book a free 30 min call.
Hormone supportive Protein Berry Smoothie Recipe
1 cup milk of choice (whole organic dairy, coconut, almond)
¼ cup unsweetened protein powder (rice, hemp, fermented soy)