Are you less happy and at ease, did you gain some pounds, is your sex drive gone? Chances are this is due to hormones.
We know that hormones can affect our mood, but what influence do these hormones have on our body?
From the first menstruation to the last and far beyond, our hormone balance has a major influence on how we feel and behave and how our body looks.
Hormones control metabolism, growth and the immune system, among other things. They play a role in almost all physical discomforts, diseases, behavioural disorders and ageing symptoms. Hormones also determine how much energy we consume and they affect our mood, for example during pregnancy or just before our period. In addition, hormones determine whether muscle mass or fat is built up.
Around the age of forty the biggest changes start, the production of the hormone oestrogen and progesterone decrease considerably in the run-up to the transition. The drop in oestrogen especially, causes many complaints and unfortunately the stress hormone cortisol ensures that we store extra fat on our stomach. In most people, hormones become unbalanced due to poor eating habits, stress or incorrect exercise habits.
Hormones and Stress:
The hormone cortisol is responsible for responding to stress. When there is a stressful situation, our stress nervous system starts to work, it ensures that we can act immediately. Nothing is wrong with a little stress, but chronic stress can lead to major problems. If you are under a lot of stress, too much cortisol is produced. Cortisol has anti-inflammatory properties, soothes allergies, stimulates energy, reduces fatigue and increases your sugar cravings. This stimulates fat storage in your abdominal area. Stress is involved in many ways in obesity and is perhaps the biggest contributor to hormonal imbalances that make you fat!
Another hormone is DHEA, the mother of all hormones. DHEA is formed from cholesterol and is the precursor to many other hormones. DHEA makes other hormones that we need for our body to function properly. DHEA improves neurological functions, increases the feeling of well-being, stimulates fat burning and increases stress resistance. In addition, DHEA supports the immune system.
Hormones and our mood
Serotonin is one of the most important happiness hormones in our body. If the body does not make enough serotonin, you can get many complaints such as anxiety, depression and insomnia. Oestrogen stimulates the production of serotonin in our brain. If the oestrogen hormone decreases, this also decreases the release of serotonin. By adjusting your diet, you can stimulate the production of the happiness hormone serotonin.
Hormones and Fatigue
Melatonin indicates when it is time to sleep. We have started to sleep less with the Years. IN 1942 we slept an average of 7.9 hours per night worldwide. In the US this is now only 6.31 hours and in Japan 6.21 hours. A shorter night’s sleep makes us more stressed and tired during the day. Melatonin supports your night’s sleep, helps with jet lag, improves mood and supports the immune system (it lowers cortisol levels). Make your room darker, turn off all screens at least an hour before you go down. Keep tablets, phones out of your bedroom, and don’t eat and drink before sleeping.
Hormones and sex
Oestrogen is our female hormone and plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and breast growth. This hormone protects against heart disease and stroke, lowers cholesterol, improves memory, energy and mood. Oestrogen relieves menopausal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, bloating, hot flashes, fatigue, osteoporosis and decreasing libido. Among other things, it keeps our mucous membranes moist, not only on the throat, nose and eyes, but also on the vagina. When the oestrogen level dips, our mucous membranes become drier, which can cause pain during sex, so that women no longer feel like having sex. It can however, be the other way around because some women’s sex drive revives during the menopause because the hormone testosterone takes over more. Testosterone improves brain function, increases strength and energy, increases bone density. In addition, it stimulates muscle building and fat breakdown, gives strength in stress situations, increases your sex drive and improves your mood.
Hormones imbalance what to do?
The best solution is to tackle the problems from the ground up. As you can see, improving your hormone balance is a complex process. But fear not, the biggest profit can already be achieved with a few simple adjustments. This means that if you make adjustments in your diet and lifestyle your complaints will disappear quickly, and you will lose weight more easily than ever:
Eat more protein, especially in the morning. A higher protein intake keeps your blood sugars stable and your insulin levels low. This is very important to curb your appetite, reduce the storage of fat (around the belly) and stimulate the burning of fat.
Protein-rich foods such as beans, meat, fish and eggs also contain lysines. These substances can help to break down estrogens, especially important for women with a lot of hip fat, and men with a big belly!
Other high protein foods are chicken, turkey, cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt and vegetables such as legumes (lentils, brown & white beans, etc.), avocado and mushrooms. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables in particular (spinach, lettuce, endive, bok choy, watercress, arugula, kale, etc.) Green smoothies are a good way to get these vegetables..
Foods that contribute to hormonal imbalances and are therefore best removed: Sugar-rich foods, too many processed foods (for example packaged snacks, chips, nuts, white and brown bread, pasta, etc.), too much coffee, fried food.
- Improve your sleep
Get enough sleep, about 7 to 9 hours a night. Also improve the quality of sleep by no longer drinking coffee and leaving alcohol for a few hours before going to sleep. In addition, do not watch TV before sleeping, rather read a book. Sleep in pitch black darkness and in a relatively cold room to boost metabolism.
- Stress management
Avoid too busy a schedule and try to exercise regularly to clear your head and get rid of stress.
Don’t take too many tasks upon you, dare and learn to say no. Never take on more than you can handle! A true stress killer is to avoid people who give you stress! Connect with people who give you positive energy.
Exercise is an important factor in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer and depression. The more you introduce small changes in your lifestyle of movement and get that heartbeat up, the better. Every time climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator, every time get on the bike instead of in the car counts. Outdoor exercise is extra healthy. Doing the right muscle strengthening exercises every week stimulates the maximum production of hormones that stimulate fat burning.
Finally: More effective than just more exercise is a combination of things to improve the lifestyle. Endorphin production works very well against hot flushes. The hormone endorphins are a kind of natural pain reliever and a hormone that works great against too much stress. When you smile for 10 seconds, you make the same number of endorphins as when you exercise moderately intensively for 10 minutes. In theory you can laugh your hot flushes away!!