28 Jun How Stress Affects Hormones
When it comes to hormones, one very important thing is often overlooked.
Most people think about estrogen, testosterone or progesterone when they think of hormone issues. They often think a hormonal imbalance is a fluke or a genetic issue, but there is a player that can make everything a mess.
STRESS is a major key to hormone health!
So how exactly does stress affect hormone health?
A few ways…
1. When you’re stressed, you produce more cortisol which is – you guessed it – a hormone. It’s produced by your adrenals glands and is a key element in your ability to protect you from danger – physical danger. It’s the fight or flight response designed by nature so you can escape danger and survive the impending threat.
2. The problem is your body doesn’t not know the difference between physical danger threatening your survival and your boss yelling at you or even you running around, picking up kids, doing errands and just overwhelming yourself mentally and emotionally.
3. To secrete high levels of cortisol all day requires that your body prioritize its resources. So, the adrenal glands can affect other hormones such as estrogen or testosterone, progesterone and thyroid hormones. The adrenal glands are uber powerful and not to be messed with.
4. If you support the health of the adrenals glands by feeding them the food they need and find ways to reduce stress, you will have happier and healthier adrenal glands and a happier, healthier you.
5. Less stress means less cravings, less headaches, more energy, clearer skin, a stronger immune system, less intestinal and digestive upset and happier moods.
77% of adults experience physical symptoms of stress and 73% experience psychological symptoms. 48% report lying awake at night due to stress (sound familiar?) and 48% also said that stress has affected their personal and professional relationships.
Can stress reduction really make big changes?
A 2007 study in Alternative Therapies found that Mindfulness – Stress Reduction helped lower blood sugar for participants with type 2 diabetes, a hormone-imbalance condition. There are many other studies that show similar benefits for other conditions when stress is reduced.
Mindfulness is a meditation technique that can be practiced to help calm down overly-stressed adrenal glands. Other studies have found that meditation, yoga and tai chi can lower cortisol and turn on anti-aging enzymes that help us maintain our chromosomes.
To help support your adrenals
• You must first keep them healthy by feeding them foods with plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients and healthy fats. Think of citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, bananas, maca root, chia seeds and many others.
• Keep blood sugar stable by eating slow-releasing carbohydrates such as grains and legumes.
• Go to bed and get up at the same time every day and get plenty of sleep.
• And finally, find the stress-reducing techniques that work for you whether it’s yoga, mindfulness or just finding something every day that you enjoy doing.
The food part is done for you in the Metabolic Balance Plan, where specific foods are recommended based on their unique nutrients to support your distinct biochemistry.
If the Metabolic Balance Plan isn’t right for you right now, you may want to consider my 7-Day DIY Hormone Reboot where supportive foods and practices to restore hormone health are the focus for 7 days.
Next, pick a stress-reducing strategy and add it to your daily routine.
You may just be surprised how a few small steps can make a big difference.
This is just one way you can do to help your hormones.
In the meantime, take a deep breath and give yourself a break,