Hormonal imbalances can have a major impact on your health. A lot of things can alter the delicate balance of your hormones and diet is definitely one of the factors that can do this. Unexplained weight gain, fatigue, acne, sleep problems and PMS can all be subtle signs that your hormones aren’t as balanced as they could be. Looking at your diet can be one of the simplest ways to start to balance your hormones and improve your hormone health.
Protein, carbohydrates and fats play an important role in balancing your hormones. Ideally, you should try to include them at every mealtime.
FOODS THAT YOU SHOULD EAT FOR HEALTHY HORMONES:
Pack in the protein
Protein is a really underrated way to balance your hormones, especially your insulin and oestrogen levels. Lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes are all great examples of ways to up your protein intake. Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are smart protein choices as they contain anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids.
Did you know that eating protein will slow down the digestion and uptake of sugar into your blood stream so that your blood sugar level will remain constant for several hours after eating?
Add some carbs
There are two types of carbohydrates that you should include in your diet:
- Starchy carbs: Your body’s primary source of fuel and provides long lasting energy.
Such as: Sweet potato, pumpkin/butternut, quinoa, cashews, brown rice, beetroot.
2. Non-starchy carbs: They are fibre rich and are good for your digestion and act as food for your good gut bacteria (prebiotics).
Such as: Kale, spinach, asparagus, brussel sprouts, broccoli.
Did you know that broccoli and kale are members of the cruciferous vegetable family and they both help to detox out excess oestrogen and support overall liver detoxification?
Don’t forget the fats
Choose healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). There is a reason some fatty acids are called “essential” – you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain as well as to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber healthy salads. You don’t need to overdo it here. Just make sure you’re eating some high quality fats such as:
Avocadoes, olives, coconut, organic eggs, nuts, seeds, butter, ghee, grass-fed meat, wild caught salmon, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil.
Did you know that eating cholesterol-rich foods like eggs has little to no effect on the cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream and it is not linked to heart disease?
Eat plenty of fibre
Eating lots of fibre keeps digested food moving smoothly through your system. It can also bind to oestrogen and help to reduce some of the effects of excess oestrogen.
Aim to eat a colourful array of fruits and vegetables at every meal as in addition to fibre, each colour represents a different group of healing compounds for your body.
Support your gut with probiotics
If you’re not already eating probiotics, you’re missing out on an easy way to support your hormone health. Probiotics are live, good bacteria that help to reduce inflammation and balance hormone production.
Probiotics are found in products like yoghurt, kefir, fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi, miso soup and kombucha. So start by adding a serving to just one of your meals a day.
FOODS THAT YOU SHOULD AVOID SO THAT YOU CAN HAVE HEALTHY HORMONES:
High glycemic foods
Foods that rank highly on the Glycemic Index (GI) – a measure of how much a particular food will raise a person’s blood sugar – increase insulin levels and alter the way that your body uses oestrogen. They’re also inflammatory and can raise your levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Refined carbohydrates such as white flours are a big culprit for hormone imbalances, partly due to their inflammatory nature. Eating more low GI foods helps to balance hormones. Such as: berries, apples, grapefruit, grapes, non-starchy carbs, whole grain products, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and dairy products,
Processed foods can raise oestrogen levels
Oestrogen dominance is essentially too much oestrogen. It’s the amount of oestrogen you have relative to your other sex hormones.
It’s best to avoid processed foods as they can significantly raise oestrogen levels. Experts suggest eating a diet rich in processed foods can lead to oestrogen levels that are as much as double the “normal” healthy levels. If you’re worried that your oestrogen levels are on the high side – symptoms such as fatigue, swollen breasts, mood swings, cold hands and feet, weight gain, PMS and more – cutting back on processed and sugary foods and alcohol is vitally important.
Ditch caffeine and alcohol
Caffeine and alcohol can both affect hormone production. Drinking a lot of caffeine can raise cortisol levels and can also have an impact on the adrenal glands. This can have a knock on effect for many areas of your health, from sleep to digestion. Alcohol has been linked to oestrogen dominance and can potentially increase insulin resistance and lower testosterone levels. The latter can be a factor in low libido, vaginal dryness and impotence.
So for healthy hormones you need a varied, nutrient dense diet full of minimally-processed foods (i.e. fewer “packaged”, “ready-to-eat” foods). This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, an abundance of energy and overall health and wellness.
“Food, what the heck should I eat”, Mark Hyman,MD,2018 Little, Brown and Company
Medical Disclaimer: All information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent health problems. For all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided in this blog is based on the best knowledge of the author at the time of writing and we do not assume liability for the information within this blog, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages.