Raw Food & the Endocrine System
The Endocrine System
The amazing Endocrine System. Our bodies could not function without it! But what does it do? The Endocrine System is the collection of glands that produce hormones, which regulate metabolism, growth, development, tissue function, sexual function, reproduction, sleep, our mood, and a number of other things. Our glands are the activating mechanisms responsible for nearly every function and procedure taking place within our bodies.
How The Endocrine System Works:
Each of us has internal and external secretion glands that manufacture hormones in small, time-released quantities. These Hormones are a product generated in the glands and then discharged into the blood or lymph system. Their action is somewhat like making an electrical contact in one place, to start, stop, or to modify an action in another separate, remote place.
Endocrine means that the manufacture of hormones takes place within the gland, but there isn’t a discharge duct for it. The discharge takes place by osmotic transmission from within the gland through its covering, and is collected by the blood or the lymph from outside the gland.
Glands of external secretion are those with a duct(s) leading directly from the generating point in the gland to out of the gland and into the blood or the lymph system, or into its environment. So while the Tonsils and the Appendix are external secretion glands that act as filters, the Endocrine gland is internal, injecting its product into the throat.
The volume of hormone secreted at any one time is so infinitesimal and so small, that in order to obtain one-quarter of an ounce of the Pineal Gland Hormone extract, for example, it would be necessary to collect hormones from more than 20,000,000 individual glands. That is almost impossible to comprehend!
Foods That Are Good for the Endocrine System:
Obviously, Fruits and Vegetables Are Key:
As you know, eating healthy affects the entire body. The endocrine system relies on numerous vitamins and minerals to function correctly, along with healthy fats and good protein. Calcium, vitamin C, and B vitamins are important to the formation and function of hormones. Leafy greens like kale, spinach, broccoli, turnip greens, mustard greens, and asparagus are always a good place to find the vitamins and minerals you need. Choose organic produce as much as possible to avoid the pesticides, herbicides, and chemicals that inhibit or imitate hormones. Vitamin D is also very important. You can get it from mushrooms! Short exposure to the sun each day can also help.
The building blocks for many hormones are fats. Your body needs a good amount of healthy fats to build the hormones the endocrine system relies on to send messages. Great sources of fats include coconut oil, chia seeds, avocado, olive oil, seaweed, sunflower seeds, nuts, pumpkin seeds and more.
Amino acids are major building blocks for hormones too. We don’t need a ton of protein, but we do need a steady supply of all the essential amino acids. Hempseed, quinoa, chia seeds, brown rice, oats, beans, lentils, nuts, and other seeds are all great vegan sources of protein. Supplements are available too for those who may not get enough complete proteins, who don’t always eat well, or who exercise enough that they need more than most.
The mineral iodine is important in forming thyroid hormones. It is an essential nutrient that is involved with growth, development, energy production, and hormone sensitivities. Too much can be a bad thing, so it is better to get it from food rather than supplements. Sea vegetables are the best source for iodine. Try kelp, seaweed, dulce, arame, hiziki, kombu, and wakame. Incorporating these foods can really improve endocrine health.
In addition to sea vegetables, cranberries, navy beans, and strawberries are also a good source that may be more familiar. Natural Himalayan sea salt is a good place to find iodine and other minerals too, unlike table salt that has been stripped of its minerals even if iodine is added back.
These herbs are believed to help the body adapt to and lessen stress. Ginseng, gingko, astragalus, withania, ashwaganda, and jiaogulan are a few to look at. Many of these herbs have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to increase resistance to stress, combat disease, and boost mental and physical stamina.
It doesn’t take much to get your heart pumping, alleviate stress, and enhance every aspect of health. Take a walk, jump rope, take a quick job, do some jumping jacks, jog, swim, bike, dance, and get yourself moving.
Like every other part of the human body, glands must have constant nourishment in order to be able to operate efficiently. The important, intricate, and delicate work these glands are called upon to perform we take for granted. The least we can do to help our beautiful glandular systems run at peak efficiency is to keep our bodies healthy and clean, and to nourish ourselves with the best raw foods and juices we can. It is very important to take care of glandular systems, so that they they can take care of you.
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