Happy Hormones, Happy You!
Your overall health is directly impacted by the food you eat – from your metabolism and digestion to your immune system. But, did you know that your diet plays a key role in your hormone health, too?
The gut microbiota produces hormones and controls how much of each hormone should be released. Too little or too much of a certain hormone can throw off your metabolism, digestion, menstrual cycle, and much more.
To support healthy hormones and a healthy microbiome – you must first begin with nutrition. And, just like certain foods are labeled as “hormone-disruptors,” other foods work to balance your hormones.
Food groups that help promote hormone balance
Consider adding some of these hormone-friendly foods into your daily diet to keep your mind and body functioning at optimal levels.
Protein – Protein is extremely important for hormone balance since it influences the release of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that control your appetite and food intake.
Carbohydrates – Nutrient-rich complex and high-fiber carbohydrates are ideal foods for hormone balance because they help stabilise blood sugar and reduce cortisol levels. Fiber doesn’t break down in the body, and since it doesn’t convert to sugar, fiber can’t raise blood sugar levels like other carbs can.
Fats – Including high-quality natural fats into your diet can help curb not only your appetite, but also insulin resistance. Several studies show that consuming healthy fat at meals can trigger the release of hormones that can help you feel satisfied.
7 Foods that can help balance your hormones
Nuts – are rich in poly and monounsaturated fats, which are responsible for aiding in blood vessel health and hormone production. They positively impact your endocrine system and help lower cholesterol and insulin levels while maintaining blood sugar.
Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, a nutrient crucial to hormone balance as it supports overall thyroid health. Next, walnuts are anti-inflammatory and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote good brain health. Both walnuts and almonds are healthy sources of protein and antioxidants. They also improve your metabolism and promote naturally glowing skin. They’re great as a snack with a piece of fruit or added to a salad.
Avocado – Good news! The beloved avocado is good for so much more than fancy toast and guacamole! Turns out, avocados can help manage your stress hormones and balance out your estrogen levels.
Estrogen dominance is one of the most common hormonal imbalances among women, and it often results in unpleasant symptoms – such as weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings. But according to multiple studies, avocados may help! In addition to healthy fats, avocados contain plant sterols which can help block estrogen absorption and promote progesterone production. Avocados are also rich in beta-sitosterol – which can help balance the stress hormone cortisol.
Pomegranates – Not only are pomegranates full of antioxidants, but they’re also known to help block excess estrogen production. That makes it an important antioxidant-filled food that could be beneficial in the treatment of hormone-sensitive cancers, including breast cancer.
Flaxseeds – Not only are flaxseeds a rich source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but they contain phytoestrogens – plant-derived compounds known to have estrogenic and antiestrogenic effects. Studies show that consuming flax seeds can lower cholesterol levels, improve menopausal symptoms, and lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Add flaxseeds to your oatmeal, smoothies, and baked goods!
Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse packed with calcium and vitamins A and K – but did you know it can also help balance your hormones? Like flaxseeds, broccoli contains phytoestrogens, which are linked to multiple health benefits in menopausal women.
In one study, eating broccoli decreased levels of 16-αOHE1 – a type of hormone linked to breast cancer, while increasing levels of 2-OHE1– a hormone that protects against breast cancer.
Broccoli isn’t the only cruciferous vegetable that can help your hormones! Cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all rich in phytoestrogens.
This trendy grain has swept the foodie nation, and for good reason! Quinoa is packed with iron, fiber, protein, and all nine essential amino acids. And unlike other grains, quinoa can help stabilize blood sugar levels, which in turn helps balance your hormones.
Quinoa has also been shown to help balance cortisol levels. Adding quinoa to your diet is super easy! Add it to salads and veggies bowls, or use it as a rice substitute in casseroles and stir-fries.
Cherries are packed with hormone-balancing nutrients, such as magnesium and vitamin C. Magnesium prevents the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, while vitamin C works with estrogen to promote bone growth.
These juicy fruits can also increase melatonin levels and improve your quality of sleep – which is great news for menopausal women and anyone who struggles with insomnia and fatigue.
What’s the best way to prevent hormonal imbalance?
Eating nutrient-rich foods and cutting back on processed foods, alcohol, coffee, and sugar. These foods have been shown to have negative effects on your hormone levels and your overall health. Studies have also shown that pesticides have been linked to hormone disruption in women.
One of the best ways to avoid pesticides is to buy organic.
In addition to a healthy diet, frequent exercise and a good night’s sleep are great ways you can naturally balance your hormones. Not sure if you have a hormonal imbalance?
10 hormonal imbalance symptoms and what signs to look out for:
Weight gain, Fatigue, Hot Flashes & Night Sweats, PMS, Irregular periods, Mood Swings, Insomnia, Depression, Acne, Low Libido
5 foods you need to cut out of your diet to steer clear of hormonal issues:
Lower your caffeine intake – Studies show that if you suffer from symptoms of PMS, infertility, or other hormone-related health issues, caffeine is only making things worse. Especially coffee. Not only does coffee increase your cortisol levels and stress your adrenals, but it depletes your body of essential nutrients and minerals. This makes it more difficult for your endocrine system to balance your hormones. Caffeine is also metabolized slower in postmenopausal women and women taking oral contraceptives.
Red meat – is rich in saturated and hydrogenated fats which are considered unhealthy and should be avoided. Consuming red meat increases the production of estrogen in your body and can worsen hormonal imbalance. Good substitutes include eggs and fatty fish which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and will boost your overall health.
Soy products – It might come as a shock to you, but soy products which are generally considered to be healthy can actually disrupt hormonal balance. Soy contains a bioactive substance called phytoestrogen which acts like estrogen in the body. Due to this, your ovulation cycle gets affected which can cause an impact on your reproductive health.
Dairy products – Milk and its derivatives are considered to be one of the richest sources of essential nutrients. Many categorise dairy products as superfoods that can help you stay fit. However, they can disrupt your hormonal balance. Milk can lead to inflammation in the gut and mess with the hormones. Consuming milk in excess raises the triglycerides levels and can contribute to the development of diabetes. So, it is better to steer clear of dairy products if you are struggling with hormonal issues.
Processed foods – such as cookies, bread, and other packed foods are high on preservatives, sodium, and sugar. This dangerous combination increases inflammation and stresses the adrenal glands, putting you at risk of weight gain and severe hormonal imbalance.