Hormones are important. They regulate our body processes and help us stay healthy and strong as we grow, age and function. One of these hormones is human growth hormone (HGH). It naturally decreases as we age, which can result in unpleasant symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, and depression. If you suspect you have an HGH deficiency, talk to your doctor. In the meantime, check out these healthy ways to boost healthy, natural HGH production.
What is HGH?
HGH is a natural hormone released by the pituitary gland of the brain. It helps children grow and adults stay in shape and regulates metabolism. It also helps adults maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Because it has so many health benefits, some people are tempted to take synthetic, supplemental HGH – but it is not recommended to do so without a doctor’s prescription and a diagnosis of a hormone deficiency. However, there are some things you can do to maintain your natural levels so you feel your best.
Eat foods rich in glutamine
Make a delicious chicken or steak dinner. Both delicious dishes are top sources of glutamine, an amino acid that the body needs to produce HGH. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who increased their glutamine levels by 2 grams (roughly the amount in one serving of beef or chicken) also significantly increased their HGH levels. Other tasty foods rich in glutamine: salmon, eggs and cheddar cheese.
Want a glutamate-rich dish that’s simple and delicious? Try this recipe for Tangy Lemon Chicken Picatta.
Spicy Lemon Chicken Piccata (For 4 persons)
- 2 teaspoons of chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- ½ cup low-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves
- 2 teaspoons of Greek herbs
- Heat garlic and oil in skillet over medium heat; cook for 2 minutes. Add broth. Simmer down to 1 tablespoon, about 5 minutes. Add sour cream, capers and lemon juice. Simmer for 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper; to book.
- Coat chicken with cooking spray; sprinkle with herbs. Cook chicken in skillet over medium heat, turning once, for 8 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes. Serve with prepared sauce.
Train in short, easy spurts
Physical activity causes changes in the sympathetic nervous system that enhance HGH secretion. And it doesn’t take long workouts in the gym to reap the benefits. In fact, research The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that simply enjoying three 10-minute bouts of easy activity a day (such as dancing in your living room for about three songs) can boost HGH just as effectively as continuous exercise. As an added bonus, it’s also easier to train in short bursts.
Develop a regular sleep routine
Your body produces HGH at different stages of your sleep cycle, scientists say Pediatric Neuroendocrinology. Investigate within Clinical endocrinology suggests that if you don’t get enough sleep, or if you don’t sleep deeply enough, the HGH production process may be suppressed. To catch more Zzzs and regulate your HGH production, take 1 to 3 milligrams of melatonin 30 minutes before bed. A study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests that supplementing with the sleep-inducing hormone may increase HGH levels.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your doctor before following any treatment plan.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine Woman’s World.