Hormones. When we heard the word hormones, we tend to think of negative thoughts. Menopause, PMS, andropause, and other hormonal-related moments throughout our life. But, even if you follow a balanced diet, you never miss a yoga class, you make sure to get your greens in your smoothies, and everything else you do for wellness, sometimes you might think something is off. That essential piece is your hormones.

Your hormones can affect much more than your mood, including your immune system, your energy levels, and more. So, as you care for your body, here are some things you should know about your hormones.

1. Hormones Protect You from Illness

While your hormones won’t make you immune to all illnesses, having your hormones balanced can actually keep you healthy while all of your co-workers show up with the flu. In women, estrogen levels can help prevent common illnesses, such as the flu. As we mentioned before, hormones do have a strong influence on our immune system.

2. Micronutrient Deficiencies Often Cause Hormonal Imbalances

While countless things can lead to hormonal imbalances, it often boils down to a micronutrient deficiency. So, if your minerals, vitamins, or amino acids are out of whack, it is likely that your hormones will be too.

3. Your Workout Affects Your Hormones

All of your hormones follow a specific pattern, or cycle if you wish. So, when you practice the same workout every day, your hormones fluctuate according to your cycle. This is why you might not be able to sustain a repetitive workout routine. Instead of beating yourself up for not keeping up, take into consideration your hormones fluctuations next time.

4. Hormones Affect Everyone

There’s a big misbelief only women can be hormonal. In reality, hormones don’t have a gender preference, and the way hormones affect us is universal. Regardless of gender, stress hormones and other common hormones can fluctuate and give us imbalances symptoms that can change our daily lifestyle.

5. Digestive Issues Can Be Hormonal

We tend to attribute our digestive and bowel symptoms to food poisoning, foods that just give us acid reflux, and that your body just works like that. Whenever digestion is off, it means our bodies are not absorbing nutrients the right way, or that we’re not releasing toxins as we should. Hormones can definitely play a significant role in our digestive health, and when there’s an issue, it might be related to hormonal problems.

6. Caffeine Messes Up Hormones

Your morning cup of coffee is a quick stimulant, caffeine gets you going when you’re feeling sluggish. But, that same cup of coffee can spike up your cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and when your cortisol levels are high your sleep is disrupted, your weight fluctuates, and you might end up feeling more tired after all. Once your cortisol levels are imbalanced, your other hormones start changing as well, which leave you with a hormonal imbalance problem.

7. Red Meats and Hormones Don’t Go Well

Since we’re on the subject of foods that mess up your hormones, let’s talk about red meats. One of the biggest causes of estrogen imbalances is red meat. High levels of estrogen can lead to water retention and weight gain, to name some issues. The problem with some red meats is that they’re packed with steroid hormones, which can affect our estrogen levels. If you’re experiencing headaches, mood swings, bloating, and weight fluctuations, looking at your estrogen levels and cutting back on red meat might help.

8. PMS Is Not Hormones

We’ve all heard the phrase, “It's that time of the month” or, “She’s hormonal, she has her period.” The truth is, PMS is not normal. Common PMS symptoms like acne, mood swings, and cramps are not normal, this just means there’s an imbalance between your progesterone and estrogen levels. It is this imbalance that’s actually associated with all those PMS symptoms.

9. Alcohol Messes Up Hormones

Another thing that messes up your hormones: alcohol. Whenever you go out for drinks, too much of it, or indulging in a drink too often can affect bone density, hunger, blood sugar, and you guessed it, your estrogen levels. Every once in a while, skipping the drink and going for the virgin cocktail may give your body a break and let it restore its normal hormonal balance.

10. Hormones Are Not Your Enemy – They Are Your Friend

For years, we were told to believe that being hormonal was a bad thing. When in reality, it is the complete opposite. Having healthy hormonal levels are connected to glowing skin, weight management, high energy, and other benefits. The key is to understand your hormones, know how they change throughout the month, and to seek out help when you know something is off.

11. Hormones Control Everything

Headaches, mood swings, weight gain or weight loss, acne, bowel movements, you name it, hormones are involved. We usually look for ways to pair our symptoms with a condition, when in most cases it can be related to hormonal imbalances. Hormones are more related to our body’s functions than we know.

12. Sugar Messes Up Hormones

Overall, our bodies don’t like sugar. Countless studies have proven the effects of sugar in our bodies, in fact, some scientist has even shown that sugar can be as addictive as many drugs. When we follow a diet high in sugar, our brain receives many triggers that start a sequence of processes that release certain hormones. When this happens, we end up with a hormonal imbalance that can have significant impacts on our health.

13. Hormones Affect Your Memory

Hormones are tightly related to your brain functions. Even the sightless imbalance can result in memory loss, poor concentration, confusion, and other related symptoms. But, hormones can also intensify your memories. Certain hormones can trigger something known as increased memory function, which essentially means you get a more intense reaction to any memory.

14. Men and Women Share Hormones

Some people believe women have estrogen and men have testosterone. When in reality men and women share many of the same hormones. The only difference is that women have higher levels of certain hormones as compared to men, and vice versa. But, the way women and men bodies react to those hormones is also a difference. This is why hormonal imbalances and hormonal treatments are different in men and women.

15. Your Diet Balances Your Hormones

We know that certain foods can disrupt your hormone levels. But, your hormones also need essentials from your diet to survive. For example, they need fat to remain stable. Your food options can affect your fertility-related hormones, and your overall diet preferences can alter your hormone levels.

Make it a practice to listen to your body. Being more mindful of the many symptoms you may experience can help you treat the problem at the source. Learn how to stabilize your hormones and have a balance that helps you feel and look great.