Many of us experience signs and symptoms of hormonal imbalance every day. Trouble getting out of bed in the morning, uncontrollable sugar cravings in the afternoon, high stress levels and chronic headaches are just a few symptoms.
Dr. Natasha Turner, a leading naturopathic doctor in Canada, explores these issues in her new book, The Hormone Diet. She says our bodies send these signals when something isn’t right, but often we are too busy to pay attention. Compounding the problem is a lack of understanding about the causes of these symptoms and future consequences if left unaddressed.
“Hormones are powerful chemical messengers in our body – they control everything from our reproductive functions to our mood, sleep, appearance and almost every other aspect of daily life,” says Turner, a native of Amherst, Nova Scotia.
She says the risk of conditions associated with aging – such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease – are magnified by a hormonal imbalance.
“In order to age gracefully and remain healthy, you’ve got to get your hormones in balance.”
Turner’s book, subtitled “Lose Fat. Gain Strength. Live Younger Longer”, is the first to describe the importance of healthy hormonal balance for both men and women of all ages. The book is currently the best-selling health book in Canada.
Turner presents a plan to balance reader’s lives, one hormone at a time. Along with advice for fat loss, Turner gives recommendations for an anti-inflammatory detox, nutritional supplements, exercise, sleep, stress management, toxic-free skin care, natural hormone replacement and a personalized diet plan.
But the book is not only for those with hormonal problems, she says, nor is it strictly directed at people wanting to lose weight.
“I have used this approach to successfully treat thousands of patients with a broad spectrum of health goals. Some needed to gain much-needed muscle. Others wanted healthier-looking skin. Still others wanted to get rid of their headaches, improve their sleep, ease their digestion, increase their energy, improve their fertility or sharpen their memory.”
Turner developed her approach over many years, during which time she cured her own hormone-imbalance related problems, including polycystic ovary syndrome and hypothyroidism.
Her exercise recommendations may surprise some readers, particularly dedicated long-distance runners. “Keep your workouts short and sweet, but give every workout your all,” she advises. “Keep cardio sessions short and infrequent and use intervals for intensity.”
She notes that excessive exercise can do more harm than good by raising levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that contributes to belly fat and impedes overall weight loss. Building lean muscle mass to boost the metabolism for efficient fat-burning is the key to success.