Hormones have risen to the forefront of health and wellness discussions lately. There has been a lot of research done to better understand their significance in our well-being. Let’s start with a basic understanding of what hormones are. In its simplest sense, hormones are chemical messengers who pass valuable information through our bodies with the help of neurons. They are the ones that regulate our body’s physical, emotional and metabolic functions.
Over the years, researchers have discovered over 30 hormones, to name a few important ones – serotonin, insulin, melatonin, estrogen, testosterone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, and cortisol. These work closely with each other and external stimuli to make bodily changes happen. Here are some functions regulated by hormones, thereby positively impacting our overall well-being.
1. Growth & Development:
The Human Growth Hormone (HGH) also known as Somatotropin is responsible for body growth and development. Fact remains that proteins are the crucial building blocks of the body. This hormone can help on a cellular level with processes like protein production and synthesis.
HGH is known to directly impact muscle building. This characteristic of the hormone helps in understanding the role of exercising in enhancing certain body processes. The hormone is better regulated after a good workout session. Somatotropin also improves the body’s metabolic rate and plays an essential role in immunity building.
2. Good Sleep:
In a fast-paced world, a good night’s rest sleep should be our priority. Several studies vouch for the connection between good sleep and improved health. It allows our body to rest, recover, and rejuvenate. The hormone which regulates our sleep cycle is Melatonin. It gradually starts building up as evening approaches, thereby signalling the body to slow down and rest.
The level of Melatonin is impacted by exposure to blue screens such as TVs, Smartphones, and laptops. Consequently, health experts strongly discourage exposure to screens before bedtime. This habit reduces the levels of melatonin secreted, making it difficult to fall asleep. Melatonin plays a part in the regulation of over 500 genes, one of which keeps our immunity in check. Poor immunity makes the body weak and susceptible to frequent infections or diseases.
3. Sexual Function:
Estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are the hormones that regulate the human reproductive system. Slight hormonal fluctuations are considered natural for women during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. However, unnatural hormonal variations can occur due to poor food or lifestyle choices. If not addressed, this can lead to worrying ailments like PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), endometriosis, infertility, hormonal acne, and low libido.
In men, fluctuations in hormones like testosterone and androgen affect the reproductive fat metabolism system. This can often lead to infertility and visceral obesity.
4. Weight Management:
To manage weight, one has to catch the hints given by their bodies, and especially the hunger cues. Hunger can be either physical or emotional. Understanding the difference can help with avoiding overeating. Dietitians and health coaches often encourage mindful eating practices. Insulin, ghrelin, and leptin are the key hunger and satiety hormones that work in sync.
For some people, diverse lifestyle reasons are responsible for poor signalling of the hormones especially leptin (fullness hormone). As a result, the fullness signal doesn’t reach the brain and leads to overeating. The gut is responsible for functions like immunity building, production of a happy hormone (Serotonin), absorption of nutrients and water. If the gut isn’t healthy, the absorption of nutrients is impacted, thus resulting in poor health. Exercise and the right nutrition can promote the better functioning of these hormones.
Hormones are regulated by the hypothalamus. Fluctuations in hormones due to various stimuli directly impact our mood. Women especially experience mood swings and other symptoms during menses, pregnancy, and menopause as the reproductive hormone levels variate. Bloating, acne and constipation are some other side effects that come with it.
Improper functioning of thyroid hormones is said to cause irritability, fatigue, and restlessness among patients. An increase in Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone is proven to cause various ailments including anxiety, depression, low energy, irritability, etc causing hindrance in day-to-day activities and quality of life. High-stress levels can also affect our weight. You can learn more about how stress affects our weight here.
In addition to the above-mentioned functions, hormones also significantly influence our cardiovascular system, bone density, gluconeogenesis, and thyroid functions. As such, it is important to ensure the optimal functioning of hormones. The most effective way to do so is by leveraging consistent and healthy lifestyle practices.
A well-balanced diet with proper hydration is sure to provide our bodies with the essential nutrients and energy. Regular physical activities, propers sleep cycles, and stress management can aid with the better functioning of hormones, thereby bringing us wellness on a silver platter. Here are some diet changes that can help with managing stress.
A professional nutritionist and dietician can help you strike the right hormonal balance. If you have been looking for an expert nutritionist near me, your best bet is Natasha Kanade, founder of www.transformwithnatasha.com, a dietitian & nutritionist in Mumbai. She specializes in lifestyle management programs for women with hormonal imbalance and can provide you with simple weight loss tips. Ready to embrace wellness all naturally? Get in touch with us today!