Hormone levels are very important as high levels of hormones can be just as dangerous as low levels. The good news is that there are things you can do keep your hormone levels balanced.
Testosterone is the most well-known of all the male hormones and it does more than just help you bulk up. It does increase muscle and bone mass of course, but it’s also needed for proper male development across puberty and helps produce sperm in adulthood. Testosterone levels affect sex drive and energy as well.
Testosterone levels can be greatly affected by diet. Soy products such as tofu, bleached white flour, and edamame – along with drinking alcohol – can reduce testosterone levels. The good news is that grapes, pomegranate, tuna, and eggs can boost testosterone.
Diet can also affect estrogen levels. Estrogen is the female hormone that regulates menstrual cycles and affects the development of breasts and protects bones in both sexes. Estrogen levels can be kept stable by stabilising your weight, while losing too much weight can reduce estrogen production. Heightened estrogen levels, such as the levels that increase risk of breast cancer, are linked to obesity.
Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and soy products are recommended for maintaining healthy estrogen levels.
Adrenaline is linked to stress. It gives us the energy we need for the fight-or-flight response by opening up the airways, pumping blood to the most important muscles, and boosting strength. Heightened levels of adrenaline, especially when not facing down a predator, is potentially harmful. It causes dizziness, restlessness, irritability and other symptoms related to anxiety. Managing your stress levels is the best way to manage adrenaline levels.
Natural stress reduction methods include meditating or performing physical activity. Mindfulness exercises also reportedly reduce anxiety, and refocus your mind to your current situation. These exercises including taking deep breaths, drinking hot beverages, and just listening to the world around you.
Cortisol is another stress hormone. Cortisol is needed to maintain blood pressure and fluid balance during a survival scenario. Outside of such scenarios however, it can also affect your sex drive, digestion, and even immunity. Having high levels of cortisol negatively impacts the immune system, raises blood pressure, reduces sex drive, and causes other physical problems such as obesity and acne. Managing stress to reduce adrenaline levels will have a similar effect on your cortisol levels.
Appropriate levels of exercise can be good for your insulin levels, especially if you suffer from diabetes. This is because it can increase your insulin sensitivity. Increasing insulin sensitivity means that you get more out of your insulin, decreasing blood sugar levels.
If you do have diabetes though, you want to watch both your insulin levels and blood sugar levels and avoid overdoing it on the exercising. Exercising too much without replenishing your blood sugar – by eating a snack for example – and you can develop hypoglycaemia, which is when your blood sugar drops too low with potentially serious implications for your health.