Hormones and Your Hunger

Hormones & Your Hunger

Did you know what you eat can affect your hormones?

Balancing hormones is complicated. But you have to start somewhere one of the many ways to balance your hormones is to eat foods that help keeps the body in balance.

Balance Blood Sugar

Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or alcohol. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

To keep blood sugar stable it is important to eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Complex carbohydrates are also good to help manage post meal blood sugar spikes as they are higher in fibre and digest more slowly. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils are examples of complex carbohydrates. Adding a good fat to a meal also helps keep your blood sugar stable and are excellent for hormone health.  Examples are good quality olive and coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

To balance your blood sugar it is key to include a source of protein, good quality fat and complex carbohydrates as well as stress reduction as this will go a long way to balance your hormones.

A story about one of my client
One of my clients came to see me as she suffered from intense sugar cravings as well as mood swings, PMS and poor concentration. She was under a lot of stress to the point she had difficulty making the simplest decision. She has been following the hormone program for 2 months and has seen vast improvements. The biggest changes were her sugar cravings have reduced and she has reported that she does have a sense of calm and her focus has improved.

Here’s the good news
And it does not involve buying expensive supplements or doing complicated exercise routines

It involves something you really like to do – eating.

l have developed a complete hormone balancing program that allows you to eat your way to re-balancing your hormones.

The Healthy Hormones 8 Week Program will help you re- balance your hormones, using the foods that the systems in your body need to function properly. Click here for more details

A “Hormone Reboot ” You Can Do In 30 Days?

Of course…l love to hear your feedback and comments what you would like to see more of in my blog posts. Email me your comments

Are You Experiencing the Effects of Whacky Hormones?

Does this sound familiar?

•Getting through the day is a struggle
•You feel tense and ready for a meltdown at any moment
•Your body feels sluggish and achy
•You have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night
•Weight gain seems to be your new best friend
•And you crave sweet or salty foods all the time
•One minute you are happy and the next minute the world is coming to an end
•Maybe you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or cholesterol or diabetes, arthritis, PMS, or menstrual issues
•Gas and bloating seems to happening much more often

If you suffer from any or all of these, then you are experiencing the effect of whacky hormones. When they are balanced, they make you feel great and when they are out of balance, they make you feel miserable.

When the word “hormones” is used, most think of reproductive hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The truth is, we have many hormones that interact with each other to keep your body in check making them more complicated than the average person would assume.

In addition to the reproductive hormones, other body parts that produce hormones include the adrenals, the thyroid, the liver and the digestive track. Hormones play a crucial role in our health and are responsible for controlling most bodily functions – everything from how well we sleep, puberty, how we manage stress and how we digest our food. When the hormones are balanced they help the body thrive. Yet, when they are out of balance they can be detrimental to your health. There are many causes that contribute to your hormones becoming out of whack such as chronic stress, nutritional deficiencies and inflammation.

Unfortunately, in this day and age we are under so much more stress. Research has shown that excess stress contributes to over 90% of all health related conditions. We all have stressors in our lives, some stress is a good thing, it keeps us alert, helps you focus and can keep you motivated. The problem arises when we have to much stress, we push our self to hard, take on more than we can handle and run from one appointment to the next. Let’s examine the role stress and the adrenals and ways to counteract it.

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is called our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol. The adrenals convert testosterone to estrogen and blunt progesterone production to allow for the production of more cortisol, the number one hormone the adrenals like to use to help you feel energized enough to deal with stress. The problem arises when you are stressed all the time the adrenals keep producing cortisol and they are not designed to do this all the time.

A surplus of cortisol is linked to many symptoms including fatigue, blood sugar problems, weight gain, depression, mood swings, anxiety and menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and low sex drive. It is also linked to the development of degenerative illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Excess cortisol can suppress thyroid function, put extra pressure on the liver, hinder sex hormones and inhibit digestive and intestinal function.

The key to hormone health is stress reduction. Choose something that relaxes you such as meditation, deep breathing or going for a walk as this helps lower cortisol. Exercise is also an excellent way to reduce cortisol levels. It stimulates the production of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body’s natural painkillers and elevates your mood. Positive thoughts and uplifting words helps you shift your focus to something good and in turn reduce the stress.

Diet is also important to counteract the effect of stress. When you eat well every cell in the body is nourished and in turn helps keep your immunity strong. The foods that support the hormones especially the adrenals are foods rich in the B vitamins. Listed below are some examples of foods that can be added into your daily diet.

Example of foods rich in B vitamins are:•Whole Grains: whole wheat (especially the wheat germ), rye, spelt, kamut,
•Nuts and Seeds: chia, hemp, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, pistachios, chestnuts, sesame seeds, tahini, walnuts, cashews
•Legumes and Lentils: peanuts, all types of beans such as adzuki, cannellini, green, yellow, kidney, fava, lima, black, pinto, soybean (including edamame, miso, tempeh), chickpeas (garbanzo beans), turtle, all types of lentils, all types of peas including green and black-eyed
•Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, mushrooms (Portobello, brown, white, cremini) artichokes, escarole, endive, okra
•Dairy Products: all types of cheese, yogurt, kefir whole milk, eggs (preferably organic)
•Meat: beef, chicken, lamb, pork, turkey, liver (from all of these meats)
•Vegetarian Protein Sources: tofu, tempeh (contains B12), eggs
•Other: spirulina, chlorella, nutrition yeast and brewer’s yeast, unpasteurized beer
Add nuts and seeds to your meals, they are not only high in the B vitamins but they are rich in good quality fat and protein which are also excellent for hormone health. You can add legumes to your favourite dishes such as soups and salads. They are a good source of fibre and complex carbohydrates to help balance your blood sugar. If you need that extra boost of the B vitamins you can add a multi B vitamin supplement to counteract the effects of stress on the body.

If you are experiencing the whacky effects of hormones it is key to reduce stress and eat foods that support your hormones. Attached is a hormone healthy recipe. Click here for my hormone healthy recipe.

Jennifer Barnes is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist with a focus on hormones health and rebalancing your hormones with delicious whole foods and lifestyle changes.

l love hearing from you, drop me a line at info@jbarnesliving.com and let me know what you would like to see more of in my blog articles