Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Ever wondered who is responsible for important bodily functions such as digestion? Or how your body temperature changes according to the weather? Well, these functions are performed by different hormones.
Hormones play a vital role in metabolism, sleep, mood, sexual & reproductive health, and more. Any changes in the levels of hormones can directly impact your overall well-being, giving rise to various ailments.
Therefore, knowing the functions of some hormones and how they impact you can be very useful in maintaining your overall health.
In this article, you’ll learn about five hormones that are crucial for your health and the steps you can take to ensure their balance.
T3, T4 & TSH
T3 (triiodothyronine), T4 (thyroxine), and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) are the main hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. Their balance is vital for keeping your thyroid levels in check, regulating metabolism, and performing crucial functions such as:
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Regulating body temperature
- Improving skin health
- Enhancing energy levels
- Regulating hair and nail growth
The secretion of these hormones is affected when the thyroid gland starts functioning abnormally, giving rise to two conditions:
- Hyperthyroidism: Excessive hormone secretion
- Hypothyroidism: When the gland does not secrete enough hormones
The following home remedies can help keep the thyroid gland healthy:
- Reducing iodine intake
- Exercising regularly
- Having apple cider vinegar
- Consuming ginger (raw preferably)
- Increased intake of almonds, dairy products & beans
Melatonin hormone is secreted at night by the pineal gland in the brain and helps manage circadian rhythm (sleep cycle).
Getting sufficient sleep is of the essence. An average adult should aim for at least seven to eight hours of sound sleep every night for a host of benefits, including:
- Strengthened immunity
- Healthy weight
- Minimized the risk of chronic conditions (diabetes & cardiovascular diseases)
- Reducing stress and improving mood
- Improving concentration
The production of this hormone starts as it gets darker, and the secretion is at its peak between 2 AM and 4 AM. Any form of light can obstruct the secretion of this hormone, hence, melatonin is also called the hormone of darkness.
For healthy melatonin secretion – avoid using cell phones, laptops or watching television at least one to two hours before bedtime.
Estrogen is a women-specific hormone mainly responsible for sexual and reproductive health. The levels of this hormone can vary from woman to woman, depending on age and health conditions.
There are three types of estrogen:
- Estradiol: The most common type of estrogen during reproductive years
- Estriol: Main estrogen-type that supports pregnancy
- Estrone: The body produces estrone in postmenopausal women
Estrogen is one of the most important hormones in a women’s body as it aids in:
- Regulating ovulation
- Maintaining vaginal health
- Helps develop & regulate reproductive functions
- Formation of female sexual characteristics
Foods like soybean, flax seeds, and sesame seeds can help boost estrogen levels.
Testosterone is a male-specific hormone that plays a vital role not only in the development of a man’s reproductive tissues (testes & prostate) but also in:
- Distributing fat
- Improving bone mass
- Maintaining muscle size & strength
- Production of red blood cells
The testosterone levels increase during puberty and start to dip after the age of 30 or so. A person with low testosterone levels can experience signs like:
- Lack of energy
- Weight gain
- Feeling low or depressed
- Mood swings
- Lack of confidence
- Decreased sex drive
- Less body hair
- Thinner bones
Ginger, pomegranates, leafy green vegetables, and onions are some food options that can help maintain healthy testosterone levels.
Insulin is a hormone secreted in the pancreas that helps regulate blood sugar levels.
Any hindrance in insulin secretion can raise blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of diabetes. Here are a few causes of insulin resistance that you should know about:
- A sedentary lifestyle
- Poor sleeping habits
- Age (above 45)
The following tips can help alleviate the risk of insulin resistance and promote your overall health:
- Exercise regularly
- Quit smoking
- Eat more fruits & green leafy vegetables
- Avoid fried food
- Manage or reduce stress
The above-mentioned are five hormones that help your body function properly. Any changes in their levels can negatively influence your health. Therefore, you must take measures to keep your hormone levels in range.
Furthermore, you should also opt for preventive health checkups. These health checks provide you with a comprehensive insight into your wellbeing, allowing you to take necessary precautions to stay at the top of your health.
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