Optimizing your hormone levels the natural way can help keep you strong, slim, energized, and happy — at any age! And with these science-backed tips, it’s surprisingly easy.
To lighten periods, aim for more vitamin A.
After age 35, we’re three times more likely to have a heavy flow. Why? Ovaries produce less progesterone, the hormone that controls growth of the uterine lining. Luckily, two studies suggest 5,000 IU of vitamin A daily encourages progesterone release, lightening periods for 92 percent of women in four months. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
To boost muscle strength, add whey.
When we were teens, our adrenal glands produced lots of DHEA, a hormone that builds muscle and burns fat, says endocrinologist Alex Forster, M.D. Fortunately, Australian researchers say you can boost DHEA production — doubling your ability to build muscle and speeding fat loss by as much as 65 percent — just by adding four tablespoons of whey protein powder to your daily diet.
To feel upbeat, bake a potato.
Serotonin keeps you happy during the day and helps you sleep at night. When your brain’s serotonin production drops after age 45, baked potatoes can help! According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, potatoes contain compounds that increase the brain’s ability to use serotonin, cutting your risk of blue moods and restless sleep by as much as half.
To keep skin aglow, dash upstairs.
Your liver produces an anti-aging hormone (IGF-1) that slows wrinkling, says dermatologist Chris Griffiths, M.D. And Canadian researchers say two-minute bursts of exercise spur IGF-1 release. Just four bursts daily can slow skin aging by up to 50 percent!
Drizzle olive oil to soothe cramps.
Eating one and a half tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) daily cuts even severe menstrual cramps by 83 percent in two months — better results than pain meds offer, Italian researchers say. Credit an EVOO compound (oleocanthal) that blocks the production of pain-triggering hormones called prostaglandins.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.