Hormonal imbalance in the body can cause many problems, including the appearance of extra pounds, the development of diabetes and the occurrence of infertility. At the same time, scientists have proven that certain foods can help maintain the balance of hormones. What foods should be included in your menu more often to stay healthy and live long?
How hormones affect health
Hormones are biologically active substances that play an important role in the human body. They are involved in building cells and body growth, metabolism and digestion processes, are necessary to maintain fertility and combat stress.
When the hormonal background is disturbed — some hormones are produced in larger quantities, while others in smaller quantities, diseases develop in the human body. Proper balanced nutrition and doctor’s recommendations can help “synchronize” the level of hormones and thus maintain health.
On a note!
Scientists have found that Western diets and a sedentary lifestyle can affect the balance of hormones in the body, causing imbalances. Therefore, a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, as well as healthy habits can balance hormones and improve life.
What diet supports hormonal levels
What a person eats affects the production of hormones and their signaling pathways. “The body needs healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, as well as sufficient fiber from fruits and vegetables and quality protein from eggs, fish and meat, to maintain normal hormonal levels,” says the nutritionist. Melissa Groves Azzaro. — Conversely, pesticides, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners can negatively impact hormone levels.”
In addition to the availability of nutrients, sufficient caloric content of the diet also plays an important role. “The body of a woman is especially sensitive to a calorie deficit,” the expert warns. — If the body does not get enough calories from food, it reduces the production of sex hormones. For him, there is no difference between war, famine and a new weight loss diet.”
On a note!
The best way to find out if the hormonal background in the body is not disturbed is to pass the appropriate tests. Hormonal imbalances can be indicated by weight fluctuations and mood swings, changes in energy levels, and fertility problems.
Best Foods for Hormonal Balance
There are more than 200 different hormones in the human body. The best known of these are estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, ghrelin, leptin, and thyroid hormones. All of them are closely related to metabolism, mood and well-being. Which products will help support their normal production?
Vegetables of the cruciferous family
“Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli and sprouts, help the body absorb estrogen efficiently. Regular consumption of cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, white cabbage and boi choy is one of the ways to prevent the development of cancer associated with the dominance of estrogen levels in the body,” says MD, nutritionist Isla Barmer.
Prepare the cabbage by drizzling it with olive oil and frying it in a pan. This allows the body to absorb more vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Salmon, sardine, herring
Healthy fats are essential for the body to produce sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. At the same time, it is very important to choose exactly the “right fats”, limiting saturated fat in the diet and completely excluding trans fats.
Fatty fish varieties are rich in beneficial omega‑3 fatty acids. “The healthy fats in fish improve overall hormonal communication. The endocrine system uses hormones to communicate with the brain,” explains MD, nutritionist Carrie Gabriel.
“Avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a substance that can positively influence blood cholesterol levels and help balance levels of the hormone cortisol,” says the nutritionist. Carrie Gabriel. “The plant sterols in avocados also affect the hormones progesterone and estrogen, which are responsible for regulating ovulation and the menstrual cycle in women.”
Eat half an avocado for breakfast or lunch. This will prolong the feeling of satiety after eating and will avoid unnecessary snacking.
On a note!
One 2019 study found that the combination of fat and fiber in avocados increased levels of satiety-promoting hormones.
Sweet potato, or sweet potato as it is also known, is a highly nutritious vegetable high in starch, antioxidants and fiber. Together, they support healthy blood glucose levels, thereby maintaining a normal ratio of various hormones.
Thus, it has been proven that the inclusion of sweet potatoes in the daily menu contributes to the normal production of the hormone progesterone, on which the mood and fertility of the body are directly dependent. It is easy to replace the usual sweet potato in the diet, the flavors of the dishes will only benefit from this.
Eggs are valuable sources of high quality protein, healthy fats and vitamins. They contain fat-soluble vitamin D, which plays a key role in maintaining healthy levels of several hormones. They also contain choline, which promotes the production of acetylcholine, a substance associated with the health of the nervous system and brain functions. In addition, healthy fats from eggs support the health of the body and reduce inflammation.
On a note!
Eggs are best eaten boiled or baked, but frying in oil should be avoided.
Flax and pumpkin seeds
These healthy seeds are loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats. For example, flaxseed has long been known as a superfood because it contains a huge amount of nutrients and essential fatty acids that support healthy hormone balance. And pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, which, along with vitamins C and vitamin B5, helps reduce the concentration of the hormone cortisol in the body and strengthens the health of the adrenal glands.
Seeds and sunflower seeds can be added to yogurt and milk porridges and smoothies, they can be used to sprinkle second courses. Flaxseed must be crushed before use, otherwise there will be no benefit from it.
Kefir, sauerkraut, soy
“More than 20 different hormones are synthesized in the intestines, which are involved in the metabolism of the body. These hormones control hunger and satiety levels,” explains MD, nutritionist Isabelle Smith.
Therefore, the diet must contain prebiotics — products that improve the intestinal microflora. And also probiotics — those beneficial bacteria.
Probiotics and prebiotics are found in dairy products — yogurt, kefir, some types of cheeses — mozzarella, cheddar, Gouda. They are also rich in fermented foods — sauerkraut, soybeans, tempeh, kombucha and kvass. At least one such product should be included in the daily menu.
What foods should be avoided
While there are healthy foods for maintaining healthy hormones in the body, there are also those that compromise the health of the body and can cause hormonal imbalances.
“Studies have shown that eating foods with artificial sweeteners can change the balance of bacteria in the gut, which can affect the production of the hormones leptin and ghrelin,” says the nutritionist. Carrie Gabriel.
And alcoholic beverages in general have a negative effect on hormonal processes. For example, they have been shown to increase the risk of developing breast cancer and other types of cancer.
Other dangerous foods for health are processed and fried foods, foods with a predominance of sugar and its substitutes. Their number in the diet should be limited, making an advantage in the direction of healthy products.