“…hormone related cancers and diabetes, which has become a worldwide epidemic, and affects over 2 million Canadians.”
Did you know that an unhealthy endocrine system could lead to the following diseases?
• Thyroid Cancer
• Cushing Syndrome
• Conn’s Syndrome
• Addison’s Disease
• Grave’s Disease
• Puberty issues (delayed or precocious)
What is the Endocrine System?
To put it simply, the endocrine system is a collection of glands. Each gland secretes different types of hormones that regulate metabolism, growth and development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep and mood, and other functions of the body.
The main endocrine glands are the:
• pituitary gland
• adrenal glands
• pineal body
• reproductive glands (which include the ovaries and testes)
Each of these glands consists of groups of cells that produce and secrete chemicals. The glands select and remove materials from the blood, process them, and then secrete the finished chemical product for use somewhere in the body. Virtually every cell, organ, and function is affected by the endocrine system. It is for this reason that endocrine health is incredibly important to one’s overall well being.
In order for the endocrine system to be considered healthy, all of our glands must be performing properly. If a gland produces too much or too little of a hormone, it could be harmful to one’s body. Take for example, the pituitary gland. If it produces too much of the growth hormone during childhood, a child will grow to be excessively tall. Similarly, if it produces too little of the growth hormone during childhood, a child will grow to be unusually short. Doctors can often treat problems with the endocrine system by controlling the production and balance of hormones with certain medications. That being said, not all symptoms or diseases can be cured; therefore, it is best to take preventative measures when it comes to your endocrine system healthy. Below are some things you can do to naturally help improve endocrine function.
4 Ways to Maintain Healthy Endocrine Function
1. Eat a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy weight is important and helps to ensure balanced chemical excretions from the endocrine system. Not eating a healthy, well-balanced diet can lead to type II diabetes and other diseases beyond just your endocrine system.
2. Be aware of your family history. Do endocrine problems like diabetes or hypothyroidism run in your family? If so, it is important that you monitor your endocrine function as you age, and take preventative measures to protect it. Take note that most endocrine issues occur after the age of twenty.
3. Listen to your body and keep minor issues under control. Although symptoms range depending on the effected gland, most people with endocrine disorder experience extreme fatigue and weakness. Check your hormone levels through blood or urine tests to determine if you have an endocrine disorder, and treat it right away! Don’t wait until it’s too late.
4. Avoid Stress. Stress, whether psychical, bio-chemical, or physiological, can negatively impact your endocrine system. As discussed in a previous blog, your adrenal glands secrete hormones that help your body respond to stress. Unfortunately, however, our adrenal glands not built to deal with modern day stress, which is frequent and often long-term. Extended hormone secretion weakens the body’s defenses, leaving room for infection and sometimes resulting in high blood pressure and a lack of cortisol. Long term, this lack can lead to organ damage and even failure. Control stress by getting enough sleep, exercising on a day-to-day basis, and taking time to relax.
Foods to Eat to Keep the Endocrine System Healthy
A nutritious diet can help keep your endocrine system healthy. Here are 4 types of food you should include in your diet to keep your endocrine system functioning at its best!
1) Beans and Lentils. When it comes to your endocrine system fibre is very important. No natural food provides more fibre per serving than beans and lentils. According to nutritionist August McLaughlin, “Fiber-rich foods can also reduce symptoms and complications of thyroid disease, such as excessive appetite, constipation and undesirable weight gain.” Try to incorporate one cup of cooked beans or lentils into your diet per day. That one cup will provide you with 15 to 16 grams of fiber, or roughly three-fourths of a woman’s recommended minimum intake of 21 grams per day.
2) Fruits and Vegetables. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “antioxidant-rich foods can also help reduce thyroid disease symptoms.” Incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables such as berries, tomatoes, bell peppers and winter squash into your diet.
3) Whole Grains. Whole grains also contain iodine, a mineral added to table salt. Consuming too little iodine can cause thyroid disease. Eating more whole grains and fewer processed foods will help keep your iodine levels in check, and your endocrine system healthy. Consume nutritious whole grains like quinoa, barley, wild rice, brown rice, and oatmeal.
4) Cold-Water Fish and Flax seeds. Cold-water fish and flaxseeds are top sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Omega-3s also boost immune function and reduce inflammation in people with endocrine disorders disease. Incorporate salmon, albacore tuna, herring, halibut and sardines into your diet. Not keen on fish? Flax seeds are also rich in Omega-3s.
The Es-Teck Full Body Analysis and the Endocrine System
Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre offers the Es-Teck Full Body Analysis. The ES- Teck System is advanced technology and is a Health Canada registered Class III Medical Device. Using a finger “Oximeter” it allows for observation of heart rate, tissue oxygen uptake, arterial stiffness, hemodynamic indicators and autonomic nervous system (ANS) levels of activity. It is able to detect whether your endocrine system is functioning optimally and evaluate your hormone levels. Book your very own Es-Teck Full Body Analysis by calling the clinic at (613) 837-2883.
Thank you for reading! If you found the information in this blog useful, please pass it along to your family and friends! You never know…it could save their life! Oh, and be sure to leave any questions, comments, or feedback below! We’d love to hear from you.