When you think about your health, how often do you consider your hormones? Chances are, they’re almost always lucky last on the list. Your physique? Well, if you’ve been hitting the gym those gains will be staring right back at you in the mirror. Your fitness? It’s harder to pin down, but you’ll feel it when you finally conquer that stubborn climb.
So what about your hormones?
Controlled by the Endocrine System, these chemical messengers are secreted by various glands throughout your body. Such as your Thyroid. If one or more of these happy hormones falls out of balance, it can lead to numerous health issues.
When talking hormones, your mind likely immediately turns to mood swings and menopause. But hormones are responsible for more than that, you guys! So it’s time to sit up and take notice.
One example you’ll want to pay attention to is low Testosterone levels. At best, this can see your sex drive in a slump. At worst, you might start noticing the signs and symptoms of erectile dysfunction and other performance issues in the bedroom. But like a bad infomercial, it doesn’t end there.
Yes, there’s more!
‘Low T’ isn’t your only concern when your hormone levels are haphazard. Muscle loss, weakness, weight gain are just some of the signs your hormones could be suffering.
While your hormones may be hidden, the ways you can lend them a helping hand are hidden in plain sight. Conventional treatments like Natural Bio Identical Hormone Therapy is one such option, but there are a number of non-medical changes you can make to your daily routine to ensure you’re living a healthy, hormonally balanced life both in and out of the bedroom.
Eat well, live well
They say you are what you eat, so it makes sense that your hormones would be happiest when you’re eating healthy, hormonally balanced foods. Right? Processed meals such as those that are high in refined sugars are a big no-no. Liquid sugar in particular. A healthy, balanced diet may sound self-explanatory, but it can make a big difference.
In its place, a largely plant based diet of fresh fruit and vegetables that’s high in fibre will keep your hormones humming. These foods are great erection supporters, libido boosters, and strength restorers. When you’re writing up your shopping list, consider increasing your intake of foods that are high in short, medium, and long-chain fatty acids. Foods – and fats – like these are the fundamental building blocks for hormone production. They also promote healthy weight loss, and give your metabolism a boost.
Coconut Oil, Avocados, and fish are particularly great sources of fatty acids. Not only do they have anti-inflammatory properties, but they may also benefit your hormones by reducing stress-inducing Cortisol and Adrenaline. So when you’re looking to help your hormones and spice up your sex life, sit down and craft a week long menu of meals that’ll have those male hormones of yours feeling that much healthier.
Say sayonara to stress
Stress seems to make a habit of sneaking up on you. If you’ve ever surfaced from a work-induced slance to find you’ve been clenching your jaw, or find you’ve fallen into a habit of indiscernible twitch or leg shake…well, you might be stressed.
No matter how it manifests itself, stress puts your body under strain and sets your hormones into a downward spiral. Identifying stress is the easy part, but cutting it out is where things get difficult. How often have those work emails worked their way into your weekends? And let’s not even start on those drama-filled relationships and family gatherings. Oh my!
We get it. Life is stressful. That’s why finding time to kick back, relax, and decompress is so important. Stress produces high levels of Cortisol which, when held at elevated levels, leads to an increase in appetite and calorie intake. As you may have guessed, this encourages increased weight gain and even obesity.
Stress is also responsible for high levels of adrenaline. If left untreated, this can cause high blood pressure, a rapid heart rate, as well as depression or anxiety which can quickly take control of your life.
While you can’t cut out stress entirely, there are ways to minimise it. Setting aside just 10-15 minutes a day can help to relieve stress and bring those haphazard Cortisol levels back down to a healthy level. Meditation, Yoga, and Massage Therapy are all proven, viable solutions. As is simply taking time to listen to some songs or engage in a little self-reflection.
Get up and get moving
We’re gonna be honest here: that modern, sedentary lifestyle absolutely sucks for your hormones. In fact, your physical activity – or lack thereof – has a strong influence on your hormonal health. So while you may not want to get moving, your hormones will more than thank you for it.
How so? For one, exercise reduces insulin levels while also increasing your insulin sensitivity. This matters to you because while a little insulin goes a long way, too much of it can be dangerous. High insulin has been linked to heart disease, for one, so if you’re wanting to keep your heart – and your hormones – healthy, it’s time to get those runners on and, well, get running.
Aerobic, strength, and other physical activities – even walking – can help boost the levels of muscle maintaining hormones in your body that decline with age (including Testosterone), while also helping your body regulate insulin. Even if you’ve never seriously worked out in the past, now is the best time to start. Particularly with helpful guides to getting started with exercises at your fingertips.
Slip into a healthy sleep cycle
Late nights are commonplace throughout your teens and early twenties, but as you get older your body loses the elasticity it once used to bounce back from those bedless hours. Heck, it doesn’t even need to be a night spent on the town. Sometimes you can get caught working late in the office, or losing hours of sleep staring at the ceiling fighting insomnia; you’re tired, but never sleepy.
7-8 hours is considered the ‘ideal’ amount of rest, but this differs between guys. Some will need more. Others, a little less. Either way, laying your head down early and getting a good night’s rest is exactly what the hormone doctor ordered. Sleep helps keep your stress under control, replenishes your energy, and allows your body to recover properly.
Without proper sleep? You’re setting yourself up for higher levels of Cortisol, decreased immunity, and trouble with work performance. With that said, aim to be under the blankets before 10PM on the regular. A healthy sleep schedule is just as important as a good night’s sleep. If you’re struggling, apps like Sleep Cycle, Rainy Mood, or even Relax & Sleep Well can help put you in a sleepy mood much faster than counting sheep.
Kick coffee to the curb
If you’re a caffeinated coffee addict, chances are you’re leaving your hormones in a world of hurt. How bad is it really? Well, caffeine is responsible for spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels. It can also trigger the release of Cortisol if you’re already stressed, which then leaves you that much more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle.
Giving up on coffee can be difficult, especially if you rely on caffeine as your mid-morning crutch or for your afternoon pick-me-up. That said, making the switch to the likes of green tea has more than a few health benefits to tide you over.
Green tea has been found to increase insulin sensitivity while lowering insulin levels, particularly if you’re overweight or suffering from diabetes. If you still find yourself craving that morning boost, consider a green smoothie that combines hormone-balancing nutrients and the healthy fats of Avocados plus other fruits and vegetables.
At the end of the day, staying fit and health can be tough. The requirements placed on the modern man can leave you struggling for time, and your hormones are often the first to pay the price. From morning to night; waking up to going to sleep, making small adjustments in order to fill your day with stress-free activities, healthy foods, and an early night’s rest are all great ways to ensure you’re living a happy, hormonally balanced life.