Hormones are our body’s chemical messengers. Without them all vital body process shut down. If our hormone levels can be kept close to the more balanced levels we see in our 20’s and early 30’s we can age slowly and gracefully, suffer a minimum of side effects, and enjoy a daily high energy level. But if any of those hormones makes a shift it throws a lot of things off. We may see changes in our weight, energy, skin, sleep quality, resilience during stress, and overall health and wellbeing.
Three of the many hormones in our systems that we hear about the most are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. This group of sex hormones work together with each other.
Estrogen is an umbrella name for a group of hormones: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Did you know that in addition to being produced in ovaries and adrenal glands, estrogen is also made in fat cells? Yup, the more fat cells we have the more estrogen is produced in our body. There is a need for this but not so much as we finish creating our little babies … An important biological detail to keep in mind is that progesterone and estrogen balance each other.
The magic of estrogen:
- prepares the body for having babies
- protects bones
- relaxes blood vessels to prevent high blood pressure
- helps to balance good and bad fats
- helps to balance blood sugar by lowering insulin levels
Unopposed estrogen (lack of progesterone to balance):
- allows body fat to accumulate
- causes bloating
- increased insulin resistance
- greater risk of breast cancer
- depression becomes more prevalent
- headaches are more likely
Progesterone is made from cholesterol in the adrenal glands. While estrogen’s job is to make things grow, progesterone is there to limit it so that things don’t go haywire.
- natural diuretic
- helps use fat for energy
- natural anti-depressant & keeps us calm
- helps prevent breast cancer & fibrocystic breasts
- helps with healthy sleep
The mention of Testosterone brings to mind a muscle-bound body builder, but this hormone is important to women as well.
- improves bone density
- develops lean muscle mass & strength
- contributes to a high energy level & overall sense of wellbeing
- improves sex drive
- promotes exercise endurance
So, how can we influence hormone levels naturally?
Keep a regular exercise schedule. Do some weight lifting to maintain those sexy muscles and find a cardio exercise that you can have fun with.
Prioritize sleep. Without it hormones will go totally down the tubes.
Avoid xenoestrogens which are chemicals that mimic estrogen. Stay away from pesticides, chemical cleaning products, and lawn chemicals.
Say no to processed foods and junk foods. These food-like substances are empty calories without any health value.
Pick up some stress-reducing habits. try a yoga class, download a meditation app, or just take a slow stroll in nature.