It seems like whenever anything emotional happens for a woman, we say, “it’s the hormones!” Whether she’s pregnant, PMSing, having her period, in menopause, pre-menopausal – whatever – it seems like there’s always a reason to blame hormones for a woman feeling a little out of whack – or acting that way. Sometimes, though, it is absolutely true. If this seems to be the case for you, consider these 10 things every woman should know about her hormones.

1. It must be your hormones!

Hormones are bio chemicals secreted by glands that travel through the circulatory system to target physiological functions in different organs of human body. They are delicate and can go out of whack if not handled carefully creating a host of health problems. Stress, unhealthy eating habits, medication, PCOS, pregnancy are some factors that can trigger off an imbalance in women.

Endocrine glands, which are special groups of cells, make hormones. The major endocrine glands are the pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, adrenal glands, and pancreas. In addition, men produce hormones in their testes and women produce them in their ovaries. Estrogen, Progesterone, Cortisol, insulin resistance, Testosterone are hormones that normally affect women.

2. How do they affect women?

Common symptoms are persistent weight gain, anxiety, depression, loss of libido, fatigue, infertility, growth and development, food cravings, digestion problems, belly fat and slow metabolism.

3. Keep them in harmony by detoxing correctly.

Toxins found in pesticides, plastics, household chemicals can contain hormone disrupting chemicals that mimic hormones in the body and keep the body from producing real hormones. Birth control pills can do the same thing. Detoxing helps. However, do not crash diet. Detoxing correctly requires specific daily nutrient intake.

4. Release tension and relieve stress.

Stress releases cortisol in the body throwing hormones out of whack. It is best to try some combination of low impact aerobic and strength exercise with stretching. Swimming and Yoga are best options.

5. Eat right foods at the right time.

If you follow a balanced diet which includes organic fruits and vegetables, grains, brown rice, lentils, nuts, cereals, chia seeds, quinoa and sprouts, much of the problems arising out of hormone imbalance can be avoided. You can even extend and improve your fertility by including Omega 3 fatty fish, blueberries, cinnamon, honey, oysters, dairy, poultry in your diet. They are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that are great for reproductive health.Natasha Turner, author of  best seller ‘The Hormone Diet’ suggests eating at the same time routinely.

6. Sleep 

According to Dr Turner, ‘Skipping out on sleep or even tossing and turning against your will can cause your body to make too little leptin, a hormone that is crucial for appetite and weight control. A lack of leptin can make you feel extra hungry the next day and lead to weight gain. To optimize your rest and increase fat-burning hormones, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a night and maintain a cool sleep environment’.

7. Don’t go overboard on caffeine.

Drink plenty of water and avoid too much usage of salt and sugar in the diet. Try avoiding caffeine and aerated drinks as well. Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system.

8. Supplements can balance hormones.

Magnesium found in bananas, dried figs, pumpkin seeds is great for sleep, PMS and cramping; Vitamin D is better for improving hormone functions; and Cod Liver oil is great for getting Vitamins A, D and K.

9. Choose coconut oil over polyunsaturated Omega 6 fats.

Polyunsaturated fats oxidize easily and cause inflammation in cells. When such cells become part of reproductive organs, they can cause problems like PCOS. So choose fats like coconut oil or olive oil over margarine or other chemically altered oils.

10. Hormones need fat to survive.

Extra belly fat can indicate one or more of the following hormonal imbalances: high estrogen, low testosterone, low DHEA (a hormone of the adrenal glands), high insulin and high cortisol. A major sign of a hormone imbalance is an inability to lose weight no matter how hard you diet or exercise.

Awareness is key step to prevention. Adopt right lifestyle and diet and stay healthy and happy.

Featured photo credit: Women Hormones via flickr.com

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