Keeping Your Endocrine System Healthy

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Your hormones control every part of you, from how your body metabolizes the food you eat to the shifts in your mood. Every day, the endocrine system, a system of glands throughout your body, releases different chemicals that travel through the bloodstream, carrying a message and instructing the organs, muscles, and other tissues what to do and when to do it. Hormones also influence sleep, blood pressure and blood sugar, growth and development, and fertility.

When Things Go Awry

Maintaining the proper function of the entire endocrine system is necessary for one’s health. However, sometimes, things happen that prevent glands from producing the appropriate levels of different hormones within the body. An illness, taking certain medications, age, and life events can lead to hormonal imbalance. Glands can release too much or too few specific hormones, which affect the body’s regular function.

When there is a hormonal imbalance, you will experience symptoms. There is a long list of signs that occur when the endocrine system is not functioning. The symptoms usually appear depending on which gland is affected. People who have thyroid issues, for example, may experience sudden and uncontrollable weight gain or loss, increased or decreased heart rate, constipation or diarrhea, sensitivity to cold or heat, and anxiety and depression.

Other symptoms of hormonal imbalance include fatigue, muscle weakness, stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints, thinning hair, puffy and rounded face, darkening of the skin, hirsutism, night sweats, headaches, osteoporosis, difficulty concentrating, and decreased libido.

Have a Balanced Diet

Your diet matters when it comes to the health of your endocrine system. Many of the symptoms that come with hormonal imbalance involve appetite and weight. Therefore, it makes sense that to aid in restoring the balance in your hormonal levels, you have to eat a healthy diet.

Protein is an important nutrient that the body needs to survive. It provides the amino acids that the body uses to maintain muscle and bone health. Moreover, previous studies have found that protein consumption controls the release of the hormones responsible for food intake.

The so-called “hunger hormone,” ghrelin, is what encourages you to eat. The higher your levels of ghrelin, the hungrier you get. Its levels usually fall after you have a meal and your hunger is satiated. Protein lowers ghrelin levels in the body and triggers the release of leptin, the hormone that signals the body to stop eating.

Moreover, protein helps maintain healthy body weight by causing an increase in metabolism and by burning fat.

Get High-quality Sleep

Your body suffers when you do not get enough high-quality sleep every single night.

Sleep allows your body to repair and restore itself so that you are ready to face the challenges ahead of you by the time you wake up. However, if you are not getting enough sleep regularly, your health is badly affected.

Researchers have linked poor sleeping habits to hormonal imbalances. The lack of sleep influences ghrelin, leptin, insulin, cortisol, and growth hormone. In one study, scientists discovered that those who slept for 5 hours per night decreased their sensitivity to insulin by 20 percent.

Insulin is the hormone released by the pancreas to store glucose in the liver, muscles, and fat for later use. When you develop insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels rise and your risk of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes go up.

People who do not get enough sleep also tend to crave and consume more high-carbohydrate and high-calorie foods.

Better Manage Stress

Stress is a common culprit behind hormonal imbalance. It triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone responsible for the body’s fight-or-flight response. Cortisol is not bad. It saves your life by giving you the energy and strength you need to respond to danger. However, when its presence in your body is constant, it can cause various physical symptoms, including rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, excessive consumption of high-calorie food, and obesity.

To maintain the health of your endocrine system and restore the balance of hormonal levels, you need to find ways to reduce stress. Many strategies have been proven to work, such as yoga and meditation, massage therapy, listening to relaxing music, and spending time in the natural environment. Better yet, regularly devote time to activities you enjoy, such as reading, playing video games, exercising, participating in sporting activities, and others.

Your endocrine system plays an important role in your health. Once it stops functioning properly, you will start to experience different types of symptoms. You must maintain the health of your endocrine system by living a healthy lifestyle.

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