This week on the blog we are looking at hormones. They're critical to pretty much every function in our body, but most people don't know what 'hormones' actually do.
"As a general concept, hormones are the chemical messengers between your brain, your cells and your environment."
As a general concept, hormones are the chemical messengers between your brain, your cells and your environment. It’s the way your body perceives both your internal and external environment or situation.
Hormones are slow moving and will change over time to the conditions your body is exposed to. For example, if you have a busy home life, work life and you tend to do rigorous, high-intensity workouts, you're placing your body under a large amount of stress.
Once your body is in this mode of stress it will take some time for it to relax. While a holiday is a good start, we need to nourish our parasympathetic nervous systems with calming activities on a daily basis.
In my latest blog post, ‘What are hormones and how do they become unbalanced’ we talked about the relationship between our key hormones. In this blog post, we’ll be looking at those key hormones and what you can do to improve them for optimal health. We’ll also look at some common symptoms. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and there will be a range of symptoms or sometimes no direct symptoms at all.
Oestrogen is a hormone that both men and women have. Most commonly known as the female sex hormone, it's responsible for making you feel confident, extroverted, and in control. Oestrogen is directly tied to serotonin, the feel good hormone, so without it you’re more inclined to enter a depressive state.
However, too much of good thing is oestrogen dominance. This is something we are seeing more frequently at the BePure Clinic and it's largely due to our modern day environment. Today we are exposed to oestrogen-mimicking chemicals, called xenoestrogens. They are found in almost everything, from plastics, to chemicals used in skin care, to produce farmed with herbicides and pesticides. Unfortunately, our body has little or no counterbalancing hormone to mitigate these oestrogen hormones and they can block our receptor sites and load the liver.
1. Avoid plastics whenever possible. Plastics contain petrochemical molecules such as PCB’s and dioxins. Reducing your use of plastics will drastically reduce your exposure to xenoestrogens. Our blog on Oestrogen Dominance and 10 Tips to Low tox Your Life contain really good, practical tips that will help you identify hidden plastics and swap them out.
2. Eat spray free produce or organic produce when possible. Even with organic produce it's a very good idea to wash your fruits and veggies. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and kale all help to support your liver. We love this broccoli salad with pine nuts and halloumi recipe.
3. Reduce soy and liver loaders such as caffeine and alcohol which will help your body to clear extra oestrogens.
This is a female reproductive hormone that can easily become unbalanced. Although it's opposite to oestrogen, in that we usually see levels that are too low.
Progesterone is the dominant hormone in the second phase of our cycle. It's responsible for the development of the womb lining which prepares the body to receive a fertilised egg. It’s also responsible for keeping us calm and feeling in control, and it has an anti-anxiety and antidepressant effect.
Progesterone is also the precursor of cortisol. In times of high stress, our body will prioritise making cortisol resulting in low progesterone.
1. Managing your stress is a key way to lower your cortisol and boost your progesterone. Last week I shared 10 ways to slow down and reduce stress by supporting your parasympathetic system.
Testosterone is the dominant male hormone and is produced in the testicles of men, the ovaries of women and in the adrenal glands of everyone. Testosterone is closely tied to the hormone dopamine - our pleasure and reward hormone, making it important for a sense of get-up-and-go, well-being, confidence, maintaining muscle tone, bone growth, and sexual function.
If not used, testosterone will convert to oestrogen which contributes to the issue of oestrogen dominance.Common symptoms
1. Zinc plays a key role in healthy levels of testosterone, so eating foods that are high in zinc is a great place to start. A simple way to test if you have enough zinc in your body is with the BePure Zinc Taste Test. If you are low, then BePure Zinc Restore is a great way to increase your Zinc status. Some other food sources of zinc include oysters, red meat, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, kidney beans and green beans.
2. If you have excess testosterone you can burn this off through exercise.
Cortisol is the primary hormone of the stress response and is secreted by the adrenal glands. It’s part of your sympathetic nervous system and when elevated, it stimulates your body by raising blood pressure and blood sugars, plus it's an anti-inflammatory which helps you respond to danger with the ability to fight or take flight.
"Cortisol is the primary hormone of the stress response and is secreted by the adrenal glands."
1. Like the solution to increase progesterone, managing your stress is essential to lowering cortisol. In this blog, I go into more detail about why it is so important to slow down and allow your body to repair itself.
Hormones produced by the thyroid are responsible for regulating metabolism and the rate of biochemical reactions in the body. Specifically, your thyroid gland’s job is to combine iodine and tyrosine to produce two key thyroid hormones – a storage hormone called thyroxine T4 and active thyroid hormone called triiodothyronine T3.
When essential nutrients required for this process are not available in abundance our most vital functions will be prioritised.
1. Eat foods or take a high-quality supplement that is rich in iodine, selenium, zinc and copper to improve your thyroid health. Some foods include brazil nuts, seafood, organ meat (liver is particularly good), almonds, sunflower seeds, lentils and more. The BePure Everyday Health Pack is the baseline nutritional support I recommend everyone takes every day, on top of a healthy diet, to support their health.
Insulin regulates the amount of glucose (or sugar) in your blood stream. Essentially, when your blood glucose levels are high, insulin will store the extra sugar as body fat. High blood sugar levels could be the result of eating a high GI food, drinking a stimulant like coffee, or eating the wrong foods for your macronutrient profile.
When you need energy the insulin hormone will release glucose into your bloodstream. As the quantity of sugar in our modern day diet increases, we need more and more insulin to regulate the glucose in our blood. Over a sustained period of time, this can lead to insulin resistance and the development of type 2 diabetes.
"As the quantity of sugar in our modern day diet increases, we need more and more insulin to regulate the glucose in our blood."
1. Eat for your macronutrient profile type. This means eating the correct balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats for your unique body. We have a great test you can take to start working this out and information on how to eat right for you on the BePure Blog.
BACK TO TOP