Written by Stephani Fenkanyn Remember Goldilocks who visited the three bears? Turns out our bodies have something in common with that blond, mischievous, little girl who entered the bears’ home looking for something just right! Like her, our body loves when our hormone levels are “just right”. Not too low, not too high, but that just right amount, to help keep everything else in check. The human body is programmed to maintain homeostasis, or otherwise described as ‘internal balance’. Hormones play an integral role in maintaining this balance by responding to direction and acting as messengers throughout the body to signal a response. These instructions act to control functions such as your mood, energy level, weight, growth, digestion and sexual function. For instance, thyroid hormone is essential in keeping our internal thermometer set at its normal level and keeping energy production revving in our cells. These magical messengers keep on giving to keep us functioning optimally, yet we really don’t appreciate them fully until they aren’t balanced. Our body functions as a whole and the endocrine system releases many different hormones. Because of this, it can be said that it works with every other system in the body. So, when one hormone goes rogue, it is unlikely that only one system will pay the price. In fact, the whole body will. Our body is pretty amazing at keeping things in check when we take care of it. The love you put in pays off when it comes to hormones. Here are simple things you can do to help support the endocrine system and reward it for all the over-time it puts in!
1. Get enough sleep
Getting in 7-9 restful, hours a night will help with hormonal balance. During sleep your body is able to reestablish normal levels and release more messengers. In particular, human growth hormone, also known as the youth hormone, is released during sleep, when you’re least responsive to external stimuli. The stress hormone cortisol, should be at its lowest in the evening. One study found that it decreased much less in the evening in those that were sleep deprived!
2. Clean up your diet
I bet you knew this one was coming. Our hormones respond best to a clean diet void of refined sugar & wheat, allergens and stimulants that would just get in the way. Another tip to help those hormones work in harmony is to add more cruciferous veggies, like kale and cauliflower, to your diet. These brassica family plants contain indole-3-carbinol. It’s action acts to bind with excess estrogen so it can be flushed from the system.
3. Limit toxins in your food environment
You may have heard the term “hormone disruptors”. This refers to toxins that interfere with the proper release and functioning of hormones. One of these includes parabens that are found in cosmetic products like shampoo. Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, is found in plastic containers and bottles and is another toxin to the endocrine system that acts as an estrogen-mimicker. Buying organic or thoroughly washing your produce to limit ingestion of hormone-disrupting pesticides and herbicides is also highly recommended. Stephani Fenkanyn is a Holistic Nutritionist at Village Juicery, who is enthusiastically committed to making people feel good about their bodies and nutritional choices. When working in health care as an occupational therapist, she became more aware of the lack of prevention and over reliance on prescription medications. This is why she decided to pursue her passion of holistic health. Stephani hopes to make the most impact in treating women with female and sexual health issues and hormonal health imbalances.