We all have hormones coursing through our bodies in various amounts at various times. If you’re a woman you’ve likely experienced your monthly ups and downs and if you’re a man…. Well you’ve probably experienced a woman’s monthly ups and downs. All kidding aside though, your hormones affect many different and important aspects of your life such as mood swings, sex drive, blood sugar levels, muscle tone, fat burning capacity, metabolism and even your immune system. And that goes for both ladies AND gentlemen. There are several key players in the game here. Let’s take a look at few, how they affect our balance and what we can do to improve them.
Thyroid Hormone: This hormone affects your body’s overall “speed”. Think of it almost like the control center for your body’s functions. When thyroid hormone is low, as in hypothyroidism, the body decreases in activity. This means your overall metabolism will decrease as well. You will require less energy (calories) as the body’s activity slows. Low heat is produced and thus people with low thyroid will often feel cold, sweat less often and begin to gain weight despite a lowered appetite. The reverse happens when too much thyroid hormone is produced. We want the proper balance to keep the body on cruise control. Here are a few things you can do to support healthy thyroid function. Take a quality fish oil supplement, use coconut oil as a healthy fat source, use salt containing iodine, exercise and practice yoga. Ways to deplete thyroid: caffeine, refined carbohydrates, soy, inadequate sleep, and certain “goitrogenic” foods.
Insulin and Glucagon: Here’s a cool little balance you want to keep. Insulin is the hormone that is secreted during times of high blood sugar. When you have too much sugar in your bloodstream, your pancreas secretes insulin in response to lower the amount of sugar in your blood. However, insulin happens to do a few other not so pleasant things as well. Insulin also prevents your body from using its fat stores for energy and signals your body to hold on to the fat reserves it has. Glucagon does jus the opposite. It is secreted when adequate amounts of protein are consumed and blood sugar levels are low. This hormone allows your body to use fat as energy and signals the body to release its reserves! It’s also stimulated with exercise!! Here’s what we can do to make sure we decrease insulin and increase glucagon: eat adequate protein, consume high fibre foods like fruits and veggies, have small frequent meals, exercise and avoid high glycemic grains, fruits and veggies. What increases insulin and decreases glucagon: stress, simple carbohydrates, overeating, and sugar. These are just two of the many important hormones that are involved in keeping our bodies in a healthy balance so that we can achieve optimal weight, energy, mood, sleep and body shape. It feels good to feel good!