Hormones are chemicals with complex molecular structures produced by living organisms to signal some change. They control how the body behaves on a physiological and psychological level. People tend to neglect health, which causes the hormones to be disrupted, thus resulting in numerous complications, such as hormonal imbalance. Maintaining average hormones within the body is necessary for ensuring optimum health.
Managing Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance causes the endocrine glands to produce either insufficient or excessive amounts of hormones. This has become a prevalent issue in modern society owing to numerous reasons such as poor diet, lack of exercise and stress. The following 10 guidelines will assist in keeping a balanced hormone count.
1. Stress Management
Stress is a major reason for hormonal imbalance. It primarily affects cortisol and adrenaline, which is the fight-or-flight hormone of the body. It is released as a response to stressful situations. However, chronic stress causes the body to start breaking down from the continuous release of hormones. This causes dietary imbalance to stock on calories, a broken sleep cycle, higher blood pressure, and obesity. It is advisable to limit stress in daily life by understanding how to manage it. Reduce stressful activities and learn to tackle them in a manner that is less stressful, such as dealing with them in smaller portions.
2. Add Exercise to Routine
Exercise is among the top medically proven recommendations for treating hormonal imbalance. It also acts against insulin insensitivity and assists in properly utilizing the hormone. Exercise causes the body to become active, thus increasing the requirement for nutrients, hormones, and energy. The increase in requirement encourages the endocrine glands to start producing hormones and signals the body to start utilizing them properly.
3. Eating Adequate Protein
Consuming adequate proteins in diet is necessary for good health. Proteins are comprised of polypeptides that are chains of amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. There are 9 essential amino acids the body is unable to synthesize. Complete protein sources contain these proteins in adequate quantities. The body requires them to build and repair all kinds of organic tissue.
A diet with higher protein content as compared to simple carbohydrates and fats combined has been proven to be healthy. It reduces the production of ghrelin, which is a hormone that signals hunger. Moreover, it promotes the release of PYY and GLP-1, which are responsible for satiation. In a medical study, patients consuming a high protein diet experienced 25% less hunger as compared to those eating a normal diet.
4. Cut Back on Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white flour, sweets, ice cream, and instant fruit juices are packed with process/refined carbohydrates. They are readily digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. High levels of sugar in the bloodstream are the major cause of causing diabetes and insulin resistance. Moreover, a diet with high amounts of processed carbs causes obesity as the unused sugars in blood are converted into bodily fat. Obesity reduces the activity of numerous hormones and can cause medical complications such as PCOS.
It is prominently mentioned in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5094, that the Holy Prophet (SAW) did not eat refined flour but bread made from barley flour. It was wholegrain in nature, which made it healthier.
5. Avoid Saturated Fats in Diet
Saturated fats have full hydrocarbon chains and are not good for health when consumed in large quantities. They contribute towards higher bad cholesterol and are readily stored as body fat. Unsaturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats contain spaces in their hydrocarbon chains and are healthier for consumption. They are used by the liver as an immediate energy source. Foods such as nuts, olive oil, and avocados contain unsaturated fats. They signal the body to start producing cholecystokinin (CCK), GLP-1 and PYY, which are hunger satiation hormones. This ensures smaller portions are consumed for sating hunger, hence the overall caloric count is contained. Unsaturated fats not only allow control over hunger hormones but also allows controlling the calories, thus curbing obesity.
6. Cut Back on Sugar
Sugar infused foods such as sodas, instant fruit juices, and packaged junk food are a major contributor towards hormonal imbalance. It adds large quantities of simple sugars into the bloodstream, causing the insulin levels to spike. This, in the long, run, causes the body to develop insulin resistance.
7. Eat Fatty Fish
Fish fat is comprised of omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial for health. They also have anti-inflammatory properties, which makes them excellent for patients suffering from chronic inflammation. A diet rich in fatty fish has been medically proven to lower quantities of cortisol and epinephrine.
8. Dietary Portions
Eating both too much or little is bad for health. Overeating adds excessive calories to the diet, which are stored as body fat and contribute towards obesity. Eating less does not fulfill the bodily requirement for nutrients, hence the body catabolizes itself to compensate for their absence. Overeating causes insulin resistance, as the patient continually has excessive sugars in their blood, which needs more insulin. With the passage of time, the cells become resistant to the hormone and it starts losing the effect. The same starts happening with the hunger hormones. Consequently, it becomes increasingly harder to sate hunger.
The best way to avoid both over and under eating is to develop a proper diet plan which fulfills the bodily requirement for calories and nutrients. This will, in turn, keep it healthy and in sated at the same time.
9. Eat Eggs
Eggs are an excellent source of protein and fats. They directly affect ghrelin, leptin, and CKK, which are the hunger hormones. Adding eggs in diet is a great way to cut back on processed carbohydrates and add protein at the same time.
10. Take Care of Your Sleep
Increase your sleeping time to 8 hours for treating hormonal imbalance. Proper sleep refreshes the body and mind and ensures all organs are fully rested. The body switches to basal metabolism during sleep and performs growth and healing of cells and damaged organs. Good, uninterrupted sleep keeps the organs and endocrine glands in prime condition and to secrete and receive hormones.
As mentioned in the Holy Quran:
“And among His Signs is your sleep by night and by day, and your seeking of His Bounty. Verily, in that are indeed signs for a people who listen”
Managing Hormonal Imbalance the Right Way
Hormonal imbalance can be both a short-term and chronic problem. However, there are many treatments, both medicinal and alternative which can significantly alleviate the symptoms and aid the patients in leading a normal, healthy life. These 10 tips will help in managing the condition and living life to the fullest.