In short, our hormones’ function is to improve our function. Hormones can make us stronger, smarter, leaner and happier, but only if they are in balance. We can eat for hormone balance quite easily, with just a few tweaks to our shopping lists and lifestyles.
If this sounds like something you can get behind, we will get to what you should eat shortly. But first, let’s take a closer look at hormones, and how they can dominate a woman’s health.
The endocrine system is a series of glands that produce and secrete hormones. The hormones produced by these glands are delivered to the body’s tissues via the bloodstream. They send signals to these tissues to instruct them on what they should do. Problems can develop when the glands do not produce the appropriate amount of hormones, which can affect many aspects of life. (1)
Hormones control different bodily functions, including respiration, metabolism, reproduction, and growth. (1)
Hormones that can become imbalanced are:
- Cortisol – helps regulate blood sugar and metabolism.
- Estrogen – responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle, and supporting bones, heart, and mood.
- Insulin – regulates metabolic processes.
- Progesterone – crucial for menstruation.
- Testosterone – supports bone health, and reproductive tissue.
- Thyroid Hormones – regulates metabolism. (2,3)
Many women feel sluggish, moody, bloated, and tired at various times of the month.
A diet high in nutrients can reduce many symptoms of hormonal imbalance, such as depression, headaches, mood swings, acne, insomnia, joint pain, and weight gain.
So let’s get into how you can eat for hormone balance. (6)
A Month Of Mood Food
Eating the right foods can make a significant difference to our energy and mood. You can expect to feel better in one to four weeks if you improve your diet.
This time frame varies depending on the severity of hormone imbalance, but this is a good average.
If you are still in the perimenopause stage and have a monthly period, you will likely be able to recognize changes in your usual pattern of symptoms. (5)
Get Rid Of Fake
Examples of “fake foods” may include shelf-stable foods, food with marketing slogans, food from fast-food restaurants, drive-in meals, convenience frozen food, gas station food, and television advertised food.
Many man-made chemicals in these foods can mimic or interfere with the body’s hormones, and even cause significant developmental and biological effects on hormones, possibly affecting fertility and reproduction. (7)
Clearing out cupboards of fake food can be a therapeutic start to a new regime.
Shop For Real
Real and whole food with nutritional value is what you should be shopping for:
- Fish and seafood
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole Grains – Whole Grain pasta, quinoa, oats, brown rice
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh vegetables
- Organic meat
- Beans and legumes
- Full fat dairy
- Tea, coffee, wine (8)
If your diet doesn’t supply your body with enough of the nutrients and energy that it needs, instead your body will produce excess stress hormones for survival. (9)
Eating too much or too little is unfavorable from a hormonal standpoint: overeating raises insulin levels, while undereating or chronic dieting lowers cortisol and sex hormone levels. (11)
Larger portions are linked with increased energy intake. Smaller portions lead to reductions in gastrointestinal hormone secretion but do not affect energy intake, suggesting small reductions in portion size may be a useful strategy to balance hormones. (10)
Storage And Cleaning Solutions
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are chemicals that interfere with the function of the endocrine system. EDCs, as they are sometimes called, can change how hormones are made, broken down, and stored in our bodies, allowing them to increase and decrease in levels. Other ways EDCs disrupt hormonal balance include altering hormonal sensitivities and mimicking natural hormones.
They can be found in cleaning products, food storage, and food containers and wrappers, leaching chemicals into food.
Your hormone-balancing routine:
- Skip plastic food storage containers. Ceramic or glass food containers (like Pyrex) are safer.
- Don’t microwave food or drinks in plastic containers.
- Avoid single-use plastic whenever you can.
- Use natural cleaning products or make your own.
- Use a paper towel instead of plastic wrap to cover food in the microwave.
- For cookware use cast iron, stainless steel, and oven-safe glass. (12)
Get your family involved, let them know how important it is that you begin to realize the health benefits of balancing your hormones. Show them meal ideas, satisfying snacks, and delicious homemade food that will turbocharge the metabolism of the whole family. Let mealtimes… the preparation and the eating… take an important place in your family’s day.
Eating protein lowers levels of ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry, and it also raises levels of hormones that help you feel full. Foods that are rich in protein include almonds, chicken, cottage cheese, oats, broccoli, lean beef, tuna, whey protein supplements, turkey, and peanuts.
Stay Sharp With Spirulina
Spirulina contains hormone-balancing nutrients that can help with mood issues, cramps, inflammation, and breast tenderness. As a result, by addressing the underlying cause of hormonal imbalance, spirulina can reduce the risk of blood sugar problems. (15)
Bee Pollen Benefits
Bee Pollen is a complete food, rich in protein and other essential nutrients such as vitamin B, and folic acid. These nutrients can help maintain weight, balance hormones, and improve mood.
Studies show that bee pollen may alleviate menopausal symptoms: fewer hot flashes, better sleep, reduced irritability, less joint pain, and improved mood and energy. (17,18)
Masticate Some Maca
Maca can be taken as a supplement, added to smoothies, put through a juicer, or added to oatmeal, baked goods, and energy bars.
It’s a superfood for hormonal imbalances such as PMS and menopause, containing calcium, potassium, iron, fiber, and protein, and it can help to balance hormones by regulating the brain’s hormone-stimulating hypothalamus, and pituitary glands. Maca root has traditionally been used to enhance fertility, and sex drive. (16)
Vitality Through Vitex
Vitex is a medicinal herb that helps the body raise progesterone levels. Vitex has been shown to alleviate a wide range of PMS symptoms, such as anger, irritability, depression, headache, bloating, skin disorders, fatigue, drowsiness, breast fullness, and sleeplessness. (19)
Create A Path To Whole-Body Health
Fitness, stress levels, social life and relationships, drinking lots of water, and getting enough sleep all play their part in whole-body health, and if you add in a hormone-balancing reboot, you have nothing to lose except a few pounds.
By cutting out certain foodstuffs and adding in others, this can be a detoxification designed to get you back into conversation with your body, so that you can create a clean slate. (4,5)
If you’d like to stay motivated when you are balancing your hormones and be provided with guidelines to work with The Happiest Hormones Method
can help you access a list of resources to treat and heal yourself.
And if you’d like to start eating for hormone balance, know that this can bring vitality back into your body, and be an experience that is both uplifting and healthy.