Are you over 40 and not quite feeling like yourself?
Estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, and thyroid hormones are extremely important chemical messengers that affect nearly every aspect of your health. Various endocrine organs work to control the level of hormones circulating throughout the body, and if even one is slightly imbalanced it can wreck havoc on your whole body.
Unfortunately, as we age these hormonal imbalances become more common. In fact, the amount of estrogen in a woman's body can begin decreasing as early as the mid 30's. The result of these hormonal changes can include cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders (such as unexplained weight gain and diabetes), hypertension, osteoporosis, brain changes (including memory and mood), and autoimmune disorders.
What's a woman age 40+ to do when hormone imbalance starts to affect her quality of life?
I recommend starting with lifestyle changes - including nutrition and movement strategies. These aren't a quick fix pill to solve all your hormone problems, but the big benefit is they have no side effects - except a leaner body, more energy, and better mood.
Eat more healthy fats
Medium and long chain fatty acids (including saturated fast and cholesterol) are fundamental building blocks for hormone production. They keep inflammation levels down and boost the metabolism. Choose healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut, or olive oils.
Focus on key nutrients
Hormones require an optimal amount of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Some key nutrients for hormone production are iron, zinc, selenium, magnesium, and B vitamins. Powerhouse sources of these nutrients include pumpkin seeds, avocado, and dark leafy green vegetables.
Relax while you eat
Eating all the right foods doesn't do us much good if our body isn't able to break it down and use it. The first step to proper nutrient absorption is eating in a relaxed environment and chewing food adequately. During a busy day, sit down and take three deep breathes before diving into your food in order to prepare your body to rest and digest.
Move your bowels regularly
Toxins hanging out in the body can affect hormone production. Our bodies eliminate this junk through our bowel movements. If you find you aren't having 1-2 easy to pass bowel movements a day work on slowly increasing the fiber and water in your diet to help this along.
Change up your workouts
Be sure your exercise regimen includes a combination of cardiovascular and strength training workouts. High-intensity exercises are best - including squats, lunges, push-ups, and pull-ups with minimal rest time in between. Consistency in exercise is also important to a steady flow of healthy hormones for the long term.
Get more sleep
A lack of sleep may be the worst habit contributing to hormone imbalance. If you are staying up too late your body isn't able to regulate the stress hormone cortisol. This, in turn, affects all your other hormones as well. If you are not getting enough rest your body is also not able to repair and recover adequately to function at it's best.
But, that's not all . . . In addition to these 6 tips, there are many other tweaks and changes that can affect your delicate hormone balance. It's important to listen to your body and monitor how it responds to any change you make. There is no one size fits all option here - everyone's hormones are different.
You may find you need more guidance along this journey. Perhaps it's support, encouragement, accountability to fully implement these changes to optimize your hormone levels and restore vitality to your life.
If this sounds like you, head over to our website and find out how wellness coaching can assist you on this path to a healthier, happier you (no matter your age)! Click the link below to find out more.