Are your hormones in harmony?

At Ahuriri Pharmacy, we are very pleased to have a Naturopath, Belinda, on staff to be able to advise on natural ways to stay healthy and answer questions you may have. We often see diseases with an underlying cause of lifestyle, food intolerances, vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Hormones out of harmony in the body can have far reaching effects on health, so as we were planning this column, I asked Belinda to shed some light on the matter. Thanks Belinda.

Hormones are chemicals produced by different glands and organs in the endocrine system and are responsible for regulating many of the processes that occur in the body, including:

  • Appetite and metabolism
  • Heart rate
  • Mood, emotions, stress levels
  • Sleep cycles
  • Sexual function and reproduction
  • Body temperature

Ideally, the exact amount of each hormone required is produced by the endocrine glands when it is required, however, imbalances are now extremely common with our fast-paced lifestyles, environmental toxins, digestive issues, sore joints and other inflammatory conditions within the body.

Hormones play an integral role in our overall health, so there are many symptoms that can be attributed to a hormonal imbalance. Sugar and stimulant cravings may present as being unable to get going without a morning coffee, needing more sugar or caffeine mid-morning and again mid-afternoon. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or not feeling refreshed on waking can also signal hormonal imbalance. Alternatively, mood swings, irritability, energy crashes and other PMS symptoms can indicate imbalances as well. Weight gain, difficulty losing weight, sudden, unexpected weight loss or anxiety, depression, fatigue or difficulty concentrating may also point to hormones out of kilter.

Some of these issues can be addressed with lifestyle changes. Try these tips:

  • Eat organic foods where possible to avoid pesticides in fruits and vegetables and hormones in meat.
  • Avoid using plastic containers for storing food.
  • Reduce refined carbohydrates in your diet, including sugar, white flour, rice etc, rather eat whole foods.
  • Reduce intake of stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and cigarettes.
  • Add proteins to your meals with nuts, eggs and lean meat.
  • Incorporate exercise into your routine. Yoga is a beneficial activity mentally and physically.
  • Reduce stress, find time for a hobby or do things that nourish you!

A Naturopath can work with you to help restore balance with herbs and nutrients to address and harmonise your hormones. Belinda is available on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in store, appointments aren’t necessary and there is no charge to talk to her. If you have a more complex issue to discuss, personal consultations are available on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

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