Hormones are important for many of our body's functions. Hormones help to regulate growth, metabolism and fertility, influence our behaviors and immune systems, and are even responsible for turning our food into fuel. Hormones are especially important when it comes to women’s health, as hormones control the menstrual cycle and can impact blood sugar levels. To help you better understand the relationship between blood sugar, hormone levels, and women’s health we have compiled some information that you can use to maximize your athletic performance and more.
Blood sugar levels, or blood glucose, refers to the amount of sugar in your blood. When you consume food, your body digests it and the glucose from the food enters your blood. This is your blood sugar. When your cells need energy, the insulin hormone serves as the mechanism, helping to open the cell to the sugar energy from the blood. When your body does not properly produce or respond to insulin, your blood may experience a buildup of the blood sugar because it's not going into the cells, where it should be going. In this state, you have high blood sugar and your cells are crying out for fuel which they can't get, making you feel hungry even though you may have just eaten or already eaten enough.
Low blood sugar on the other hand can happen when you have too much insulin. In this situation, the sugar from your blood is leaving the blood to go into the cells faster than it should, leaving you feeling hungry and weak as your body tries to regulate the blood sugar and get it back up.
It's a fine balancing act: You can't have too much blood sugar, but you can't have too little either. Many bodies do an incredible job at keeping your blood sugar relatively stable, and when your blood sugar is low it's because you need more fuel not because your cells are absorbing all that you have consumed faster than they should. Those who are diabetic are unable to regulate their blood sugar in the same way and must take precautions to ensure that they are stabilizing their blood sugar. Regardless of if you have diabetes or not, hormones can impact blood sugar levels so ensuring hormone health can help to regulate blood sugar.
Over the course of the menstrual cycle, women will experience changes in hormone levels. On the first day of the cycle, estrogen and progesterone levels are low. These low levels signal to the pituitary gland to produce a hormone known as the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH then begins maturing a follicle, and more estrogen is produced. Around day 12-14, ovulation occurs and there is another increase in estrogen. Estrogen peaks which triggers an increase in Luteinizing Hormone (LH). LH causes follicle to rupture, and the ruptured follicle produces progesterone and estrogen. When the egg is not fertilized, estrogen and progesterone levels drop. The cycle repeats itself.
The drop in estrogen and progesterone towards the end of one cycle and at the start of the next is known to increase blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels also generally rise around ovulation. These changes are due to the fact that estrogen and progesterone can influence insulin and your body's sensitivity to it. When your body becomes less sensitive to insulin during certain phases of your cycle, your blood sugar will rise. These changes to your body's insulin sensitivity may be contributing to pre-period cravings and hunger. However, these changes can vary from person to person, so it is important to discover how your body may react during your cycle.
HORMONE AND BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE//
Seeing as hormones can influence blood sugar, taking efforts to balance both hormones and blood sugar may be important steps in tackling uncontrollable hunger or maximizing athletic performance. Luckily, many of the actions you can do overlap. For example, regular exercise benefits both blood sugar and hormone health. Exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity, meaning your cells are better able to use the sugars in your blood. Stress management like meditation and yoga can also help with insulin sensitivity and can help to regulate stress hormones.
Sleeping is also important, as inadequate sleep can increase cortisol levels (a hormone that plays a role in blood sugar control). Elevated cortisol can lead to increased blood sugar levels, which we do not want.
Consuming a high fiber and high protein diet can also help. Fiber helps to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and the rate at which our bodies absorb sugars. This helps to promote a slow more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. Research shows that fiber can also help to increase insulin sensitivity, stimulating the production of hormones that help you to feel full and satiated. Protein helps to keep you full, and the amino acids it provides are important for many of your body's functions. Research shows that consuming around 20-30 grams of protein per meal is important to optimize hormone health. Chocho can help you reach these targets as it provides 7 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein per serving.
You can also try seed cycling or cycle synching. Seed cycling is practice in which you consume different kinds of seeds during the month to help balance estrogen and progesterone levels. Cycle synching refers to a combination of diet and lifestyle hacks that seek to maximize your performance during your monthly cycle. Cycle synching suggests timing types of exercises depending on hormones and energy levels, for example doing light exercise during the start and ending of your cycle (when you may be more tired) and doing circuit training and HIIT during ovulation (when you may be more energized).
Hormones are integral to controlling blood sugar: The hormone insulin helps to get sugar from your blood into your cells, which helps to keep your cells fueled and your blood sugar from getting too high. Women in particular may experience additional changes to their blood sugar levels throughout their monthly cycle, as changes in progesterone and estrogen levels can impact insulin sensitivity and the amount of sugar that gets into the cells. In order to balance hormones and improve blood sugar, there are several things you can do. These include getting good sleep, regular exercise, and consuming lots of protein and fiber. Chocho can play an important role in your efforts to balance blood sugar and hormones as it provides an incredible amount of fiber and protein in each bite!.