Hormone imbalance, which occurs when you have too little or too much of a specific hormone, can lead to physical manifestations such as weight gain. In addition, our post ‘Balance Your Hormones Naturally’ lists that symptoms such as headaches, hot flashes, and low libido are indicative of a hormone imbalance. If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s important to get yourself tested to understand what your hormone levels are like and how to manage them. Interestingly, a Nutrients report explains that diet plays a pivotal role in hormones. This is because the energy and nutrients obtained from food are the materials used to produce hormones and, consequently, fuel your body.
That said, this article will expound on the connection between hormones and diet and provide you with tips on how to eat healthily to regulate your hormone levels.
The link between hormones and your diet
As the referenced Nutrients report stated, your diet has the ability to influence your hormone levels. The substances found in the foods that you eat can not only provide your body with micronutrients, but they can also activate receptors and signaling pathways and change your hormonal systems. For instance, steroid hormones—such as estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone—are derived from high-cholesterol ingredients like cheese, shellfish, and yogurt. On the other hand, eating too many fat-rich foods can lead to weight gain as they can stimulate your brain’s fatty acid receptors.
Besides that, one’s diet can also impact hormone levels when food consumption is confined to earlier in the day. Case in point, a 2022 study published by The National Library of Medicine on reproductive hormone levels shows that intermittent fasting can enhance treatment for hyperandrogenism (which is when women have an excess amount of androgens in the body) by improving fertility and quality of life.
All these considered, it’s clear that cultivating good dietary habits is essential to balance your hormones and pursuing better health outcomes.
Dietary habits that can help manage your hormone levels
Avoid processed foods
Processed foods like cured meat, packaged baked goods and snacks, and sugary drinks are full of added salt and sugar and lack nutrients. But concerningly, a 2021 Frontiers study on ultra-processed foods reveals that compounds such as phthalates can mimic the body’s hormone production and disrupt your hormonal systems. As such, it’s crucial to avoid the abovementioned snacks. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives such as fiber-rich fruits and veggies that can help regulate hormone levels.
Increase your protein intake
Maintaining hormonal balance requires you to likewise keep a moderate weight. This is because obesity is associated with the development of insulin resistance. A 2021 Washington Post write-up on how to reverse insulin resistance points out that you can lower glucose levels by losing excess weight. However, individuals living with obesity may struggle to keep weight off due to hormonal and psychological changes and may need medical help.
Medical weight loss management, through FDA-approved medication, targets the brain and gut to manage hunger and signal feelings of fullness. Prescribed medication can take any hormonal challenges into account in order to treat chronic weight management. Still, it isn’t enough to rely purely on medication— you also need to make healthier food choices. Fortunately, consuming more protein supports fat loss and boosts your metabolism. Not only that, it can likewise ward off hunger as it’s more filling than carbs or fat. That said, incorporate foods such as beans, eggs, and fish into your meals to increase your protein intake and better manage your hormonal imbalance.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Drinking can impact women’s health in a number of ways. A 2022 Ria Health feature on heavy alcohol use reveals that chronic drinking can affect the ovaries and lead to a decreased sex drive, fertility concerns, and hormone deficiencies. On the other hand, in extreme experiences, excessive alcohol consumption can also result in missed periods. So on that note, it’s important to curb your drinking and instead reach for beverages like green tea or lemon water. These are rich in antioxidants and vitamins that can regulate hormones such as glucose and ultimately help improve your well-being.
By understanding the link between the food that you consume and your hormone levels, you can practice healthy eating habits that can bolster your overall health.
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