Have you been struggling with unexplained weight gain or weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, sweating, stiffness, swelling in your joints, infrequent bowel movements, puffy face, acne, cramps, bloating, anxiety, or irritability? If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it could indicate a hormonal imbalance (1), (2).
Hormones are your body’s very own chemical messengers — they are powerful. They are responsible for some of the major processes in your body, so when there is an imbalance, it can impact your overall health. The good news is that with the proper diet and workout regime, you should bring your body back on track and balance your hormones. Read on to learn about seven foods you should incorporate into your diet to maintain hormonal balance:
Eggs have always been a healthy choice in many diets, and it is a staple in several homes. They’re chock full of nutrients, but most importantly, they provide the right amount of hormonal support. Eggs contain a powerful antioxidant called selenium. Antioxidants are beneficial for fighting free radicals, which are the main contributors to premature aging of the thyroid glands. Eggs are known to boost metabolism and can also help reduce the risk of certain cancers (3) , (4), (5).
Eggs are probably one of the easiest things to cook and you can make it any way you want to. So make sure your regular diet has ample eggs in it.
2. Healthy Fats
When asked to consume “fats”, a lot of people have reservations. This is because, more often than not, we associate fats with unhealthy diets that contribute to obesity. What many people don’t know is that healthy fats are a vital part of a healthy diet. Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and ghee, are all known to contain healthy fats and must be consumed daily in moderate amounts. It is best to avoid hydrogenated or trans fats as they may be detrimental to your health (6).
When you indulge in low-fat diets, there will be a decrease in the production of progesterone and estrogen, which can cause a hormonal imbalance. Additionally, by removing healthy fats from your diet, there will be a reduction in cholesterol, which in turn can lead to estrogen deficiency. Women who suffer from estrogen deficiency experience insomnia, night sweats, and heart palpitations. The bottom line is that healthy fats should be a part of your diet (7).
3. Healthy Carbs
Another common misconception is that we classify carbohydrates as an unhealthy food group, especially when trying to lose weight. However, carbohydrates are essential and must be a part of your regular diet. When your body does not get enough carbs, it tends to produce a stress hormone called cortisol. Excess production of cortisol can lead to hormonal imbalances. It can also have an impact on your body at the cellular level. Make it a priority to add unprocessed complex and whole carbohydrates such as quinoa, buckwheat, oats, legumes, and wild rice to your diet. Healthy carbs can help regulate your blood sugar levels, too, as they take a longer time to digest (8).
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring, and lake trout, have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids play a huge role in slowing down the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It is also beneficial in reducing inflammation during menopause and thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, the nutrients present in fatty fish can help improve cell to cell communication, leading to improved hormonal balance, cognition, and mood. If you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, replace fish with walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, perilla oil, or Brussel sprouts (9), (10), (11), (12).
5. Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are a great source of nutrition, and they should be a part of your daily diet. Filled with fiber and antioxidants, it can regulate sugar levels in the body, thereby helping with hormonal balance. Carrots, in particular, are known to prevent estrogen imbalance. Onions, radish, turnips, parsnips, and garlic are all known to help with the healthy bacteria in your gut. Additionally, sweet potatoes are beneficial in boosting the levels of progesterone in the body (13), (14), (15).
So chop them veggies up, add some sauce and have a delicious salad ready for any occasion. You can also pack it up to carry and have it at work or while you’re travelling.
6. Leafy Greens
There is a good reason why leafy greens are a part of almost every healthy diet. They are packed with micronutrients such as Vitamins A and K, trace minerals, and B Vitamins. Leafy greens are known to help get rid of toxins from the body. Kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, bok choy, and collard greens are beneficial in getting rid of excess estrogen and bringing back a balance of your hormones (16).
Fruits are healthy when eaten in moderation. But when consumed in excess, fruits can cause an increase in insulin levels and thereby impact the production of cortisol and estrogen. Three important fruits that can help manage hormonal imbalances are apples, strawberries, and blueberries. Apples contain quercetin, which is a powerful antioxidant. It also includes a significant amount of Vitamin C, which can help produce the progesterone hormone. Blueberries have a good amount of Vitamin C and antioxidants too. They also contain flavonoids and potassium, both of which can help fight cancer and regulate hormonal imbalance. Strawberries are rich in phytoestrogens — this is known to help with hormonal imbalance (17), (18), (19).
A healthy lifestyle, complete with the proper diet, exercise, and supplements, can put you on track to the good health of body and mind. Each individual is different, so in some cases, you may need medical intervention in addition to the above-mentioned dietary choices. Consult your dietician or doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet. What are your thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments below!
- The Endocrine System
- Chronic Hormonal Imbalance and Adipose Redistribution Is Associated with Hypothalamic Neuropathology following Blast Exposure
- The effect of an egg breakfast on satiety in children and adolescents: a randomized crossover trial
- Whole egg consumption improves lipoprotein profiles and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than yolk-free egg substitute in individuals with metabolic syndrome
- Consuming eggs for breakfast influences plasma glucose and ghrelin while reducing energy intake during the next 24 hours in adult men
- A healthy approach to dietary fats: understanding the science and taking action to reduce consumer confusion
- Very-low-fat diets may be associated with increased risk of metabolic syndrome in the adult population
- Increasing Dietary Carbohydrate as Part of a Healthy Whole Food Diet Intervention Dampens Eight Week Changes in Salivary Cortisol and Cortisol Responsiveness
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- Effects of dietary fish oil on thyroid hormone signaling in the liver
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- Advances in research on the carrot an important root vegetable in the Apiaceae family
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- Health Benefits of Fruits and Vegetables1
- Apple phytochemicals and their health benefits
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- Promising Health Benefits of the Strawberry: A Focus on Clinical Studies