Most of us really try to make healthy decisions, but if you are struggling with a low energy level or unexplained anxiety or weight gain, your hormones may be off-balance. Research shows that hormone imbalance attributes to anxiety, weight problems, depression, even high blood pressure. They play an enormous role in regulating body functions like weight, skin, or energy levels, and having a better understanding of how hormones stay in balance is important for maintaining good health.
As we age, changes naturally occur in the way body systems are controlled. “Hormone balance is deeply connected to the food we eat, the exercise we get, the toxins we absorb, the weight we carry, and the stress levels we put up with,” says the Women In Balance Institute. “How these multiple factors impact the overall hormone picture is crucial, particularly at midlife when most hormone production is taken over by the adrenal glands.”
The process begins with the endocrine system.“When we witness changing behaviors in patients, such as insomnia, depression, or mood swings, we consider different causes, including endocrine function,” said Rob Mitchell, director of nursing at Pointe Meadows Health & Rehabilitation. “Aging is a natural part of life, and a decline in physiological functions is expected.”
Fortunately, doctors have found ways to straighten a hormone imbalance. And some simple changes in lifestyle can eliminate some of the symptoms. Here are three ways to control hormone imbalance.
1. Add a balanced diet
Our brain needs fat to function properly. To improve endocrine function, avoid simple sugars and carbs and focus on a diet filled with omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, oysters, walnuts, chia and flax seeds. Add fiber-rich foods like raspberries, oats, carrots, and bell peppers. Include foods loaded with protein like eggs, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt. And include medium-chain triglycerides like coconut oil or avocados. Be sure to talk with your doctor about any changes to your diet.
2. Control stress
The main culprit of stress is the hormone cortisol. “In a healthy body, once the stress has passed and cortisol levels decrease, the hypothalamus signals to the pituitary and adrenals to stop hormone production. But this doesn’t happen when chronic stress is involved,” says Kathryn Seppamaki. “It becomes a loop of continual release of all of the stress hormones.” The result? High blood pressure, heart disease, hair loss, cognitive impairment, skin problems, digestive problems—you name it.
3. Get some sunshine
There is no substitute for a pleasant day of sunshine. “After being exposed to direct sunlight for a few minutes, your skin will naturally produce a number of vitamins and minerals including vitamin D,” says health writer Anica Oaks. Doctors recommend at least 15 minutes of sun exposure every day.
“I believe the skilled nursing community recognizes that by better understanding the relationship between aging and endocrine organs, we can develop effective treatments and other related medicines that may not necessarily prolong life but can certainly improve the quality of life,” said Mitchell. By recognizing mental and physiological changes, we can counter those conditions with simple solutions that will help regain hormonal balance.