Your hormones are the messengers of your body. Each hormone sends instructions to your organs to direct how they work and determines everything from your energy levels to your weight, digestion, mood and much more.
It is not until our hormones are out of control that we truly appreciate and understand everything they do for our health.
Your hormones are produced in multiple different endocrine glands, including the brain, the adrenal glands, the pancreas, the thyroid, the parathyroids, the reproductive glands, as well as your digestive tract.
The key to proper hormonal function is reduced to balance. If the hormones are too high or too low, it can mean problems for the rest of your overall health.
If you eat to have good digestive health, you’ll have a good start with balanced hormones. Science now definitely shows us that intestinal health is equal to hormonal balance and vice versa.
Therefore, eating to obtain the best digestive health and elimination (increase beneficial bacteria and reduce inflammatory foods), begins a cascade effect that affects the production and use of all hormones.
Why does your diet matter when it comes to hormones?
The energy and nutrients you get from your diet are the raw materials your body needs to produce hormones and properly nourish your body.
For example, many reproductive hormones are derived from cholesterol, which comes from foods such as whole milk, eggs, butter or meat.
In addition, hormones always impact each other. That is why it is said that within the endocrine system “everything is connected”.
This means that if your body is producing high levels of certain hormones such as cortisol, the levels of other hormones will probably drop, such as estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormones or testosterone.
Your body produces most of its hormones from precursors, which are also called prehormones. The precursors serve as shortcuts to produce hormones with less effort and time.
For example, the pre-hormone called pregnenolone (often called “mother hormone”) can be converted into the reproductive hormone progesterone or the stress hormone DHEA.
Depending on the current needs of your body at any given time, any of these hormones will occur, leaving less energy to produce the other.
Here is the question:
If your diet does not provide enough energy or “materials” to produce all the hormones you need, you will prioritize the production of stress hormones first because they are essential for survival.
Your body does not consider reproductive hormones and those responsible for metabolic functions (ie, thyroid hormones) as your first priority.
Therefore, during times of high stress, you can develop unhealthy fluctuations in your hormone levels.
And the stress can come from emotional or physical sources, derived from something like not eating enough calories, not sleeping well or having an infection or illness.
So, how can you equip yourself against stress? Well, you cannot control what hormones your body naturally produces.
However, the first step is to give you a basis to effectively manage hormonal homeostasis through a high-quality, nutrient-rich diet.
The Causes of a Hormonal Imbalance.
There are many possible causes for a hormonal imbalance. The causes vary according to the hormones or glands affected. Common causes of hormonal imbalance include:
- Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid
- Cushing’s syndrome
- congenital adrenal hyperplasia
- Hyperfunctioning thyroid nodules
- Hormone therapy
- suprarrenal insufficiency
- tumors (benign or cancerous)
- eating disorders
- injury or trauma
- Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
- pituitary tumor
- treatments for cancer
The Causes of Hormonal Imbalance Unique to Women
Many causes of hormonal imbalance in women are related to reproductive hormones. Common causes include:
- primary ovarian failure
- the pregnancy
- premature menopause
- hormonal medications such as birth control pills
What You Can Do To Avoid Hormonal Disbursement
When considering the average lifestyle of most women today, it is not difficult to understand why insulin, estrogen and eicosanoids have become unbalanced, setting the stage for an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure , depression, premenstrual syndrome, arthritis and breast cancer.
These are my suggestions to keep blood sugar, eicosanoids and hormones in balance.
Eat at least three meals a day.
Many people skip breakfast or lunch, and sometimes both, thereby “saving” their calories for dinner.
The problem with this approach is that the metabolic rate increases naturally at noon and decreases after that.
Therefore, it is much more likely that the food you eat at night will be stored as fat. When you eat breakfast, your metabolism starts up during the day.
If you skip, your metabolism will decrease as a preservation and this can lead to weight gain.
Reduce refined carbohydrates and high glycemic index.
Not all carbohydrates are created equal. If certain foods with a high glycemic index, such as baked potatoes or bananas, can be part of a healthy diet for you, it depends on your unique metabolism.
If you are a true carbohydrate addict, you need to find what foods are healthy for you.
I find that eliminating refined carbohydrates, such as sugar, white rice, bread, alcohol and foods made with white flour, such as muffins, buns, pastas, pretzels and other snacks, helps the body burn stored fats and keeps insulin and blood in normal level.
Consume whole grains in moderation.
Even if you have eliminated refined grains, if you are a person sensitive to carbohydrates, you may still have problems with whole wheat, whole rye, whole oats or millet flour.
Research shows that the degenerative diseases that currently affect Americans did not come to the scene until agriculture became widespread.
In fact, the ancient Egyptians were fat and had a dental disease associated with a grain-based diet.
Eat a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits every day.
You want to shoot for five servings a day. And remember, one serving is small, about four ounces or a half cup.
Think about the color and you will be on the right path, because the deep pigments of these foods contain powerful antioxidants.
Choose broccoli, green leafy vegetables, berries, red, yellow and green peppers, and tomatoes, and vary your choices throughout the seasons.
Eat healthy fats every day.
The low-fat dietary fads of the past, which peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s, caused women to brainwash to believe that fat was the enemy.
In their attempt to eradicate saturated fat from their diets, many women eliminated all fat. None of these women was getting enough healthy fat.
Essential fatty acids, namely, omega-3 and omega-6 fats, are needed to help the body in many important functions, including those of the brain and nervous system.
Good sources of EFA include eggs, high quality flax seeds, soybeans, nuts and cold water fish harvested from the wild.
Again, the best way to obtain nutrients is in your food, but if your diet is lacking, high-quality EPT supplements are widely available.
Eat proteins at every meal.
Eggs, fish, whey, dairy products or non-animal protein sources such as whole soybeans, tempeh or spirulina are all good choices.
Beans contain protein, but they also contain a considerable amount of carbohydrates. If you are a true carbohydrate addict and are perimenopausal, beans may be too high in carbohydrates for you.
Protect your body with antioxidants.
Antioxidants fight cell damage from free radicals, which are known to be the cause of chronic conditions such as heart disease, cataracts, macular degeneration and cancer.
Antioxidants are found in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially colored ones bright Food is the best source of antioxidants, but if you do not always get enough in your diet, high-quality supplements can provide significant protection.
Best Hormone Balancing Foods
Flax seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds of plant origin that mimic estrogen, bind to our estrogen receptors and help us excrete excess estrogen from the body.
They can also help improve or prevent problems related to additional hormones, such as breast cancer, menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis.
Salmon is an excellent source of vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that helps us produce our sex hormones and increase testosterone levels.
Vitamin D is also important for bone health and immunity. Salmon also has a high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the risk of breast and prostate cancer.
Soy is a controversial topic for many reasons, including genetic modification and allergies, but when you choose good sources such as organic miso and tempeh, you can get the positive benefits of soy isoflavones, which have phytoestrogenic properties and can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
The source of soy is definitely important, and a fermented choice like tempeh or miso will bring you the beneficial probiotics that improve digestion and mood.
The balanced digestive flora also reduces the activity of an enzyme called beta-glucanidase, which is linked to cancers related to estrogen.
Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables (which also includes cauliflower, kale, cabbage and Brussels sprouts).
Crucifers are rich in glucosinolates, which are sulfur compounds that help to neutralize and eliminate carcinogens, as well as isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol (I3C) – important nutrients that prevents estrogen-related cancers.
Broccoli is also high in fiber, which helps us eliminate excess estrogen through our bowel movements.
These small gems are a great source of protein and fiber, which can reduce estrogen levels.
The lentils (and the sunflower seeds below) also contain zinc, which increases testosterone.
These are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that is important in the production of estrogen and can reduce the risk of breast cancer.
It also helps increase progesterone.
Do you love these tubers now? Now you have another reason: they are rich in vitamin B6, a vitamin that helps with liver detoxification.
Other foods rich in vitamin B 6 include spinach, turkey and chicken. Any food that helps with liver detoxification will also help us eliminate any excess hormones.
People with an underactive thyroid tend to have low levels of B12, and sardines are a great source of this important nutrient.
Sardines also contain a good amount of selenium and a small amount of iodine, so they are a food that supports the thyroid in general.
Quinoa is definitely a superfood, with a broad spectrum of minerals, proteins and fiber. A slow thyroid may also slow digestion, leading to constipation.
The high fiber content of quinoa can cause the intestines to move, and it is a good source of zinc, another mineral that helps us with the production of thyroid hormones.
Dark green leaves such as kale provide a broad spectrum of nutrients, particularly the antioxidant vitamins K, A and C.
Similar to peppers, vitamin C from kale will help prop up our adrenal glands and our B vitamins will nourish our nervous systems.
These antioxidants also help fight the damage caused by stress.
Imbalances of sugar in the blood can alter our adrenal hormones. Sugary foods in particular will affect our blood sugar levels.
Avocados are a rich source of healthy fats that will help maintain our blood sugar levels, and support our nervous system function.
They also contain vitamin B5, also known as pantothenic acid, a B vitamin that fights stress that helps us manage stress.
Pumpkin seeds are a source of magnesium. When we are stressed, we can exhaust our magnesium levels.
Magnesium is our anti-stress mineral that works together with vitamin C and vitamin B5 to help the adrenal glands and lower stress levels.
In summary, foods rich in magnesium such as pumpkin seeds can help us relax.
Arrive at the eggs to take a dose of choline, a vitamin that helps us produce the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is essential for the nervous system, brain health, memory and development.
They also contain omega 3, the anti-inflammatory fats that support the brain. When our minds and nervous systems are healthy, we are better able to cope with stress.
Try to buy organic eggs, raised on grass instead of conventional ones.
Millet is a gluten-free whole grain that contains a broad spectrum of B vitamins that will support our nerves and brains in times of stress.
It also contains magnesium and fiber, which helps balance blood sugar.
Aldosterone, one of our adrenal hormones, is responsible for fluid balance and blood pressure.
If our adrenal glands do not work well and the aldosterone levels fall, we can secrete more sodium, which leads to salt cravings.
A good pinch of sea salt to your food or even a glass of water will help replenish sodium levels and offer minerals.
You can also try the seaweed or the miso for its salt content.
Our hormones are a complicated business and it is important to work with a qualified health professional to ensure that you can properly correct any imbalance.
Once you know which hormones are out of control, you can use foods that balance hormones to harmonize your health.
Here are the relative glycemic indexes of some common foods. This is simply a guide; These numbers vary from one study to another, with plant varieties and methods of food preparation.
Use this table to help balance foods with a high glycemic index with those with a low glycemic index. Try eating smaller portions of foods with a high glycemic index and add some protein and fat to your plate.
Glycemic index table
Moderate to high glycemic: bananas, candy bars (most), potatoes, pita bread, oat bran, oat bread, raisins, carrots, brown rice, beans.
High glycemic: bagels, basmati rice, cakes, Cheerios, corn, corn flakes, cakes, pretzels, durum wheat pasta, white bread.
Low glycemic: broccoli, tomato soup, wild rice, cherries, milk, pears, plums, chickpeas, leafy vegetables, black beans, soybeans, tomatoes, yogurt.
Low to moderate glycemic: All-Bran, apples, chickpeas, ice cream, beans, oranges, peas, pinto beans, French fries.