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  • Writer's pictureAmy Slater

10 Basic Habits for Hormone Health!

Before spending more time and money on medicines and supplements, you need to master these 10 basic habits for hormone health, FIRST!





1. LIMIT DEVICE/PHONE NOTIFICATIONS

A stress stimulus is a stress stimulus. If your device is frequently buzzing, your body and mind are constantly distracted and looking for this dopamine/cortisol surge, which subconsciously can also cultivate a sense of continuous perveived threats. Your nervous system stays in this mode of alert (fight or flight), which sets a cascade of effects on all your hormones because when cortisol takes over (chronically) it basically shuts down other processes.


SOLVE: Turn off your notifications to social media and or other apps that may be continually triggering this distraction.


2. MORNING SUNLIGHT

Morning light is the key for circadian signaling, which turns on/off hormonal processes, and supports sleep-wake cycles, which are key for cortisol/insulin/leptin function. These things all help regulate appetite, improve mood, focus and support metabolic and gut health.


SOLVE: Get bright morning light in your eyes and on your skin as soon as you can during the day. Get another dose around mid-day and again at night.





3. OPTIMIZE MINERALS

Minerals are the spark plugs in charge of supporting endocrine function, and the synthesis, activation and function of hormones. Essential minerals like magnesium, iodine, zinc, selenium and iron serve as cofactors in enzymatic processes that produce hormones such as thyroid hormones, sex hormones and insulin. Deficiencies or imbalances in minerals can disrupt hormonal pathways leading to metabolic issues such as impaired reproductive health, blood sugar dysregulation and thyroid dysfunction. This is why all of my one on one clients start by testing minerals with an HTMA.


SOLVE: Look for bioavailable animal protein, fiber rich fruits, non-starchy vegetables and starchy tubers at each meal. Use the plate method where 1/4 of the plate is animal protein, 1/4 starchy vegetable or fruit and 1/2 is non-starchy vegetables.




4. AVOID COFFEE ON AN EMPTY STOMACH

Coffee is not bad! But, if you are already chronically stressed and exhausted all the time, drinking coffee on an empty stomach will further tax your adrenals. Getting nutrients before drinking coffee can slow down caffeine absorption, leading to a more gradual release, reducing potential hormonal disruptions like insulin spikes (especially after a bad night's sleep) and adrenal stress.


SOLVE: Caffeine can be used strategically after you consume some energy in the form of solid food. If you like to have your coffee or tea along with breakfasts, just eat a bit first and then slowly enjoy your morning cup.




5. OPTIMIZE GUT HEALTH

Well, this needs a post all by itself. The short version, if you are not able to break down and absorb your food, your body will have a hard time making and supplying necessary hormones. Infections like candida, SIBO and even beneficial bacteria love an imbalanced gut. Decreased stomach acid will also impair gut helth and metabolic function. The gut microbiome impacts the nervous system and the production and regulation of key hormones like serotonin, estrogen and cortisol through its role in nutrient absorption and detoxification pathways.


SOLVE: This is not a one sentence solve as many things impact gut health from toxin exposure like fragrance and cleaning products to food sensitivities and insufficient fiber. But, the best place to start is with your digestion, are you having 1-2 complete bowel movements each day? Are you thoroughly chewing your food? Can you increase dietary fiber to hit the minimum of 25 grams per day? Going into more complex protocols and testing is often unnecessary if you aim for nutrient sufficiency and diversity with your meals.



6. PARASYMPATHETIC MORE OFTEN

Getting into rest and digest is super important and not just during meal times! Getting out of rush mode will do more for you than any detox or parasitic cleanse out there. If you are continually in a fast, rushed state, your thyroid will suffer right along with digestion. You need to be in parasympathetic mode to properly digest your food, recover from workouts and allow they body to efficiently produce and regulate hormones without the interference of stress induced cortisol spikes!


SOLVE: This one is both a self-awareness strategy and conscious implementation of ways to offload stress from the day. Think about the mom who works, goes all day and does everything for others...commiting to starting her day with a movement practice of 10+ minutes and some sort of mindfulness would completely transform her world. Or, adding intercepts in throughout the day like stress repreives or moments where you can step outside in the sun, go sit quietly and unplug or even use essential oils to break the sympathetic drive. This is VERY important for overall hormone health.




7. BALANCE BLOOD SUGAR

Oh man, another one that cannot be stated enough about the importance. Most of us have the ability to regulate the occasional surge in blood sugar that comes with a birthday party or special dinner out where we consume more sugar than we typically do. But, did you know that consistently getting poor quality sleep, short sleep or living in a state of existence where you are ALWAYS busy or short on time will also predispose you to having elevated blood sugar levels?


Stable glucose levels help maintain the proper functioning of insulin (master hormone that shuttles nutrients, including glucose, into the cell), produce other hormones (estrogen, testosterone, etc), keep inflammation at ba and prevent stress-induced spikes in blood glucose. Excess glucose gets stored in the liver, muscles, adipose/fat cells. High blood sugar levels are also very hard on body tissues and impact brain function.


SOLVE: Consider using tools like walking after meals or planning out physical activity to be used after meals to help reduce any blood sugar spikes that may occur. Pay attention to how you are consuming your food, aiming to first eat the protein and fiber before you consume the starchy carbohydrate. Bitter greens, citrus and vinegars incorporated into meals are also great tools to help support a healthy blood sugar level.





8. PROTEIN FORWARD BREAKFAST

High quality protein in the morning can set you up for a successful blood sugar all day by stabilizing glucose levels, improving insulin sensitivity and reducing cravings. Aim for 30-50 grams of protein at breakfast! If you are not use to eating breakfast, see my last post about why you do not want to skip breakfast. You absolutely need a balance of nutrients throughtout the day, but the majority of my clients are undereating protein. Aim for 0.8-1.0 grams of protein per pound of ideal body weight. This is especially true at breakfast. When we adjust the quantity and quality of protein at breakfast, these clients see massive changes in their health, body composition, cravings and energy throughout the day.


SOLVE: Eat 30-50 grams of protein at the first meal of the day which ideally is breakfast. An egg cup or peanutbutter toast will not suffice. Two eggs and a cup of cottage cheese, a 4 ounce chicken breast, 4 ounce filet, 6 ounces of salmon, 1.5 scoops whey protein powder will all set the foundation of your morning.





9. STIMULATE THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM

Stimulating the lymphatic systme is key for hormone balance as it enhances the clearance of metabolic waste, excess hormones, maintains proper cellular environment, aids in detoxification, supports the transport and delivery of essential nutrients and hormones. Think about it as water flowing through a river, you want your body water flowing. Stagnation in the tissue drives up fatigue, increases risk of injury and can deeply impact mood!


SOLVE: Check out my instagram for an endless source of mini movement series that you can build into your day. You can also use things like rebounding, a brisk walk, legs-up-the wall, stretching, foam rolling, dry brushing, sauna, hot/cold therapy, gua sha or massage. OR...just bounce up and down! SERIOUSLY! Stagnation is bad news!





10. PROTECT MELATONIN: BLUE BLOCK AT NIGHT

Protect your sleep-wake cycle by optimizing your light environment i.e. blocking blue light at night prevents the disruption of melatonin production (blue light triggers cortisol release), supports adequate sleep (key for proper regulation of other hormones, including cortisol and insulin, thereby contributing to overall hormonal harmony), and setting you up for a successful next morning!


SOLVE: Before the sun starts to set, put on your blue light blocking glasses. I use these that I purchased on Amazon. You can also move your work outside on a porch and work along with the natural light! This works great with a laptop. Keep your cell phone, ipad or tablet away from your bedroom. No kindle reading at night. Aim for a completely dark room when you sleep.


This is a simple list of practices that you can put into place today and help support your body as a 40 plus mom. We complicate health many times. Yes, it takes work, effort and focus but when you consistently implement these habits you will see great results!





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