How to Stay Healthy With These Top Tips
Your hormones get a bad reputation, from making you feel bloated to being blamed for making you crave carbs. But they aren’t all bad – there are some that offer significant health benefits and can even help you to lose weight. Here are some ways you can work in conjunction with your hormones to maintain a healthy weight and harness their positive powers.
Ease stress with endorphins
Often referred to as the body’s ‘feel-good’ hormones, these can help you to ease the pain of stress and improve your wellbeing. There are ways that you can encourage the release of endorphins, such as eating spicy foods which activate the nerve endings on your tongue, prompting the release of these hormones. Similarly, you can stimulate the nerves near your nose that signal to your brain to produce endorphins by chewing peppermint gum.
Stay alert with dopamine
Dopamine controls your concentration and long-term memory, so a surge of this hormone can help you to feel more motivated and focused. Studies show that dopamine levels spike when you listen to music, so playing your favourite songs when you’re paying bills or doing the housework could help you to power through that little bit quicker. Alternatively, you could get a protein-rich snack such as a handful of nuts or a couple of hard boiled eggs.
Maintain a healthy weight with leptin and grehlin
Leptin is released by the fat cells in the body and lets you know when you’ve eaten enough. Grehlin, produced in the stomach, sends signals to the brain when you’re hungry. One study suggests that eating a carb-filled and protein-rich breakfast, alongside a cookie or a piece of chocolate, helps with this release. Sleeping more can also help to balance these hormones properly, so make sure you make time for sleep. If stress and worry are keeping you up at night, make a list of things that are worrying you to help you sleep.
Balance your mood with progesterone and oxytocin
Oxytocin is the bonding hormone, because it encourages you to feel loved and give you a sense of trust in others. Progesterone is produced by the ovaries and helps to create calm and balance. Studies have shown that singing is a great way of improving your oxytocin levels, so start the day by singing in the shower or humming when you’re feeling irritable. You should also hug more – researchers have found that women who hug more have higher levels of oxytocin and lower blood pressure. You should also feel closer to a friend to increase your progesterone levels, so walk arm in arm with a loved one or pet an animal to replicate the feeling. Anything that improves your mood and helps you to feel closer to someone or something could help with the increase of these hormones.
Boost your body confidence with oestrogen and testosterone
Testosterone can help you to feel more assertive and improve your self-confidence, whilst oestrogen can boost a better skin tone by boosting water to the cells to give you a youthful glow. Studies show that testosterone levels increase when you’ve been exercising so try to opt for burst training, which works by building up to a faster pace for thirty seconds after moderate exercise. Zinc can also help, for both testosterone and oestrogen production. You can use supplements of at least 25mg a day, or try eating more lean beef, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds or dark chocolate. If you’re opting for the supplement route, you should check with your GP beforehand to ensure that it is safe.