Having balanced hormones such as estrogen, adrenaline, testosterone, and insulin is an integral part of enjoying a healthy life. When our hormones are functioning properly, our bodies can operate at optimum levels and to our greatest benefit keeping us healthy. When we struggle with out-of-whack hormones, it can indeed throw our health and lives for a loop and this seems to be happening more and more lately. Luckily, there are simple things we can do on a daily basis to help our hormones stay on track and these easy things involve the foods you put into your mouth.
Before we begin getting into different foods that are helpful for balanced hormones, let’s dive into the importance of hormones to our health.
So what do hormones do? Hormones are tiny molecules that function as chemical messengers and triggers all sorts of responses in different parts of the body. There are various types of hormones, but here, I want to share about five important types of hormones.
- First, we have cortisol, the stress hormone. When you’re in a stressful situation, this hormone raises your heart rate, provides your brain with extra oxygen and releases energy from fat and glucose. Many of us have constant high levels of cortisol due to stress. This is the hormone that will leave a ring of belly fat around your stomach and it’s hard to get rid of the fat if you stress levels stay high.
- Secondly is testosterone, a hormone that we commonly know as a male hormone, but women have it too. Testosterone influences your sex drive, muscle mass, and brain function.
- Moving on to melatonin-- this hormone regulates your sleep cycle. Melatonin is activated by the pineal gland in the brain later in the day when the sun begins to set.
- Next up is estrogen, which is responsible for the growth and development of female characteristics and reproduction. Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands, and fat tissue.
- Lastly, adrenaline produced in the adrenal glands participates in the body’s fight-or-flight response. This hormone allows us to cope better with stressful and dangerous situations.
Foods That Help Balance Hormones Naturally
Healthy fats are the building blocks of many different types of hormones. Some sources of these important healthy fats include coconut oil, avocado, eggs, and certain kinds of fish such as salmon and tuna. Consuming these healthy fat sources allow you to fuel the healthy hormone production you need.
Walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is a building block of hormones, and it also helps reduce inflammation in the body. Additionally, Omega-3's are excellent at promoting cell-to-cell communication.
Other nuts and seeds high in Omega-3's include pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and beechnuts.
Probiotics are good bacteria that encourage a healthy gut. The link between probiotics and a healthy gut is that these two balance important hormone levels in the body. Several foods provide probiotics naturally. Fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut have live probiotics. Liquids such as Kombucha and bone broth are also filled with essential probiotics.
Turmeric is a spice that's extremely beneficial to you. This spice helps to balance your hormones naturally, and luckily, it is very versatile for how it can be used! Turmeric is also an incredible anti-inflammatory that can assist you with having healthy digestion. You can use this spice in your meals, take it in capsule form, or even create a turmeric latte and enjoy it as a hot beverage.
- Green Veggies
How many times have you heard it's important to eat your greens? This isn't new information, for sure -- but it certainly is ever so true. Green veggies including things like Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, broccoli and asparagus help metabolize estrogen and balance hormones. So try to find a place for green veggies on your plate as often as possible.
What To Avoid
Now that we know some foods that will help balance your hormone levels, it’s also important to know which foods you can avoid so they do not interfere with your hormone levels.
- If you consume caffeine, be mindful not to overdo it. When you do consume too much caffeine, to the point that it interferes with your sleep, this can cause your cortisol levels to increase and your hormones to fluctuate as a result.
- Alcohol can be a deal-breaker too. Besides the fact that consuming high levels of alcohol can damage your organs, it can also interfere with your testosterone and estrogen levels.
- Sugar is typically a good thing to avoid anyway -- but indulging in processed sugar is another way to throw your hormones into a tailspin potentially. Sugar can be tough to kick, but lowering your intake over time is better than nothing at all. You can do it!
- Eliminate toxic bath, household and beauty products. The toxins in these products create havoc on your hormonal system. Switch to all-natural products.
- Reduce stress. We all know too well how we feel when we’re stressed and it doesn’t feel good.
Overall, add in more hormone balancing foods into your daily routine (all natural foods grown from the Earth) and begin reducing the "avoid" list. It's okay to make this change over time to make it last, so start one step at a time.
I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share how you keep your hormones happy and healthy.