It’s a popular punchline in movies and TV sitcoms when a woman is acting irrational — “It’s her hormones.” As it turns out, there’s more than a kernel of truth in this stereotype. While wonky hormone levels can’t be blamed for every strange thing a woman says or does, they can be the culprit in a variety of areas. Shape Magazine’s talking about the 20 most important hormones for our health (yes, 20!). We’re looking at the ones most key for women.
3 Important Hormones for Women’s General Health
This household-name hormone is produced in the ovaries and helps control sexual development (puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy) and also maintain bone strength. When levels are too high, it can cause increased risk of breast cancer, dementia and even uterine cancer.
As the uterus prepares for fertilization, these levels rise after ovulation, maintaining the uterine lining in preparation for implantation and throughout gestation. If pregnancy doesn’t occur, levels drop, causing menstruation to start. (more…)
If you’re looking to decrease stress, stabilize your hormones, boost your sex drive, neutralize the acidity of your body, and blast your system with nutrients, look no further than that section at the health food store you always ignore: the supplement aisle.
I know what you’re thinking: Supplements? Aren’t those the often untested, unapproved sorta drugs that always seem too good to be true. For the most part yes—I largely avoid most of the powders, pills, and formulas available in this section of the health food store. But there’s one supplement that’s definitely worth picking up for any of the above conditions: Maca powder.
Maca powder has also been called “Peruvian ginseng”. Although it’s thought of as a supplement, researchers suspect this South American staple has been consumed for around 2,000 years. The Incas considered maca to be a gift of the gods, due to its superior nutritional value, and it’s one of the only plants to thrive in the tough conditions of the Andes mountains. Maca powder comes from the root of the plant. (more…)
To detox or not to detox? That is the question I had for Gerard Mullin, MD of Johns Hopkins University as he spoke about nutritional detoxification at the 2013 Food & Nutrition Conferences and Expo a few weeks ago.
Dr. Mullin said that toxins are everywhere – in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the things we touch.
Bisphenol A (BPA), a carcinogen, is in plastics, dental sealants, canned food linings, and cash register receipts.
Phthalates, other carcinogens, are found in fatty milk, butter and meats, along with personal care products, detergents, children’s toys, printing inks, and more.
Heavy metals, like arsenic, mercury and lead, are in food, batteries, paints, plastics, and fertilizers.
For the most part, toxins are “endocrine disruptors” that change the way our hormones regulate bodily functions. In animal studies, endocrine disruptors are linked to cancers, birth defects, diabetes, and other diseases. What is worse is that, when they work together, the sum of their actions is greater than the whole, and they are stored practically forever in body fat. Whether or not an individual develops a problem depends on genetics, level of exposure, and the quality of nutrients in the diet. (more…)
Love it or hate it, unless you seek out hormone-free options, the food you eat likely contains additional hormones. From meat to milk, hormones are added to increase productivity. Some are produced naturally by the foods themselves. We teamed up with our favorite registered dietitian Mary Hartley to look at foods containing hormones, what their effects might be and how you can avoid them.
Hormones are most commonly found in meat, milk and plants. In meat and milk, they are added through production. Steroid hormones are given to beef cattle to make them grow faster, build more muscle and make their meat leaner. Two-thirds of all cattle and about 90 percent of the cattle on feedlots in the United States are given hormones. Six steroid hormones are approved by the FDA for use in food production. They are: estradiol, progesterone, testosterone, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate. Steroid hormones are released into the animal from a pellet that is implanted under the skin of the ear. Due to federal regulations, these hormones can only be used on sheep and cattle.
Peggy Bradford of Sewell, New Jersey hasn’t always been the avid promoter of health that she is today. Before losing 70 pounds the 47-year-old mother weighed close to 220 pounds and suffered from severe depression. The weight gain came after a major surgery that required her to be on a hormone replacement for one year, which left her feeling terrible both physically and emotionally.
After facing resistance from her doctor about getting off of her medications, Peggy told her husband she was going to take matters into her own hands, and that’s exactly what she did.
Peggy almost instantly began eating healthier and watching her calories, cutting out soda and choosing protein bars over candy bars. For exercise she purchased a pedometer to encouragement more daily movement.
“I started out doing 10,000 steps a day with 4 pound weights,” she said. “I’ve built myself up to between 20,00-30,000 steps a day and 12-15 pound weights. I not only jog in place when I do my workout, but I jog in place when I talk on phone, iron, do dishes, etc.,” she said. “It sounds crazy, but the steps add up and have been a huge part of my weight loss journey.” (more…)