Balancing Healthy Hormones
Working round the clock, our hormones act as messengers that interact with target cells throughout the body. Healthy hormones regulate our metabolism, energy levels, reproductive health, mood and blood sugar balance.
These processes occur without us giving them a second thought – it’s only when things go awry that we sit up and start to take notice. Mood swings, bloating, fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, low libido and irregular periods are just some of the symptoms that may indicate that your hormones may be out of balance.
Hormones are part of the endocrine system and they work closely with both the nervous and immune systems. This means that our hormones can easily be affected by what’s going on around us. Most importantly, things such as stress, chronic inflammation, weight gain, gut, liver and bowel problems and poor diet can have the potential to throw our hormones out of whack. Thyroid imbalances and oestrogen dominance are two of the most common hormone imbalances that can occur.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
Sure, you’ve heard of your thyroid, but what does it actually do? Your thyroid is a small gland that produces and releases thyroid hormones which have the important job of controlling your metabolic rate, body temperature, energy levels and growth and development. Too little thyroid hormone can cause a slowing down of the body’s processes causing fatigue, weakness, weight gain and constipation. Too much thyroid hormone has the opposite effect – weight loss, insomnia, restlessness and heart palpitations.
A simple blood test from your GP can measure your thyroid hormone levels and detect any abnormalities. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can be complex conditions are best treated by a qualified health professional. However, important nutrients for general thyroid health and thyroid hormone production include iodine, selenium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, tyrosine and myo-inositol. Speak to our qualified instore naturopaths and nutritionists about what supplements may be suitable for your individual thyroid health.
We all know oestrogen is important for reproductive health, but did you know that it also plays a role in bone health, memory and brain function, and fat and carbohydrate metabolism? Oestrogen dominance (also called oestrogen excess) occurs frequently and can be caused by excess oestrogen production in the body, exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment, or a build-up of oestrogen due to the liver and bowel not clearing it efficiently from the body. Heavy periods, painful or lumpy breasts, PMS, endometriosis, fibrocystic breast disease and fibroids may all indicate oestrogen dominance. Poor gut and liver function, high levels of cortisol, low progesterone, inflammation, stress, obesity and poor diet can all contribute to oestrogen imbalance. Addressing these factors can go a long way in reducing the oestrogen dominance. Herbs, nutrients and foods that may be of benefit include rosemary, broccoli sprouts, bupleurum, St Mary’s thistle, turmeric, molybdenum, methionine and flaxseeds.
General tips for hormone health
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get moving and exercise regularly
- Manage your stress levels through meditation, yoga, deep breathing, talking to someone or spending time in nature
- Minimise alcohol consumption
- Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and avoid processed foods
- Include healthy fats in your diet. Nuts, seeds (including hemp, chia, pumpkin and flaxseeds), avocados, coconut oil, olive oil and oily fish
- Eat prebiotic and prebiotic-like foods to maintain gut health. Garlic, onion, bananas, berries, beetroot, kiwi fruit, legumes, asparagus, and chicory root
- Include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim chi, yoghurt and kefir
Click here to discover some of our nutritious recipes to help you on your health journey.
By Alinda Boyd ~ Flannerys Naturopath
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