Plan your diet right and balance your hormones
Are you fed up with gaining extra pounds by just looking at your favorite cake roll? Are you suddenly experiencing hot flashes?
Or inexplicable mood swings are causing an upheaval in your life? Don’t get too jerky, your hormone imbalance may be to blame.
Hormones profoundly affect our physical, mental, and emotional health. These chemical messengers play an important role in regulating our appetite, weight, metabolism, reproduction, and mood. Normally, our endocrine glands produce enough of each hormone required for the smooth functioning of our body. Sadly due to the fast track contemporary lifestyle, hormonal imbalances are very common in today’s times. Also, the levels of some hormones fall as you grow older, and for some reason, many people experience a more dramatic decline compared to others.
Fortunately, a hormone balancing diet plan and healthy lifestyle choices can greatly improve your hormonal health. Best nutritionists in India emphasized the importance of healthy hormones and devise a study plan to balance hormones with diet. In this article, we will discover the best diet to balance hormones and learn how a hormone balancing diet can do the trick for your body.
First, let us understand some basic facts about hormonal imbalance and its effect on our body.
What is a hormonal imbalance?
Hormones are chemical messengers secreted by the endocrine glands? They transport through the circulatory system to various organs/body parts and control/coordinate important activities throughout your system. A hormonal imbalance means your body secretes too much or too little of a specific hormone. Even small alterations can impact the systemic functioning of your whole body.
Symptoms of a hormonal imbalance
Hormones have a major role in your overall health. Therefore, hormonal imbalance largely does not go unnoticed. It manifests itself with a wide range of symptoms. Your symptoms depend on which glands or hormones are functioning improperly.
Symptoms in women
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal imbalance in women.
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women showcase as:
- An erratic menstrual cycle that is characterized by irregular or heavy periods, such as frequent periods missed periods or even stopped periods
- Hirsutism, the medical name for excessive hair growth on the chin, face, or other body parts
- An increase in weight or trouble losing weight
- The occurrence of acne, especially on the face, chest, or upper back
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- Occurrence of skin tags
- Skin darkening, especially around the neck folds, under the breasts, or in the groin area
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Vaginal atrophy
- Dryness in vagina
- Painful sex
Symptoms in men
Testosterone or the male hormone is integral to male development. If your body is producing little testosterone, it can manifest itself through a range of symptoms.
Symptoms specific to an adult male are:
- Problem in concentration
- Loss of muscle mass
- Less growth of body hair and beard
- Tenderness in breast
- Enlargement of breast tissue
- A decrease in sexual drive
- Erectile dysfunction
- The onset of osteoporosis (loss of bone mass)
- Hot flashes
Symptoms in children
Puberty is the time when a child’s body experiences maturity into adulthood. The boys and girls body starts producing sex hormones.
Some children have delayed puberty but eventually, move on to experience normal puberty. However, in some children with hypogonadism, sex glands produce very little or no sex hormones.
(Food to involve in your diet)
Symptoms of hypogonadism in boys are characterized by:
- No development of muscle mass
- No deepening of voice
- Sparse growth of body hair
- Impaired growth of penis and testicles
- A disproportionate growth of limbs to the body trunk
- Gynecomastia, the enlargement of breast tissue
In girls, hypogonadism shows the following signs:
- Impaired growth rate
- Undeveloped or Underdeveloped breast tissue
- No onset of periods
Causes of a hormonal imbalance
The causes of a hormonal imbalance are many. The symptoms and causes depend on which glands or hormones are affected. Some of the most common conditions that cause hormonal imbalance are:
- An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Overactive thyroid nodules
- Hormone therapy
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
- Cushing syndrome
- Eating disorders
- Benign or cancerous tumours
- Insufficient functioning of adrenal glands
In addition to these medical conditions, a host of other factors also makes your hormones go for a toss. Many medications, cancer treatments, stress factors, or trauma can also cause hormonal imbalance. The above-listed factors are common causes of hormonal imbalance in both men and women. However, in women, reproductive hormones are also sometimes responsible for hormonal imbalance. Common causes are:
- Drugs like birth control pills
- Premature or induced menopause
- Hormone therapy
- Primary ovarian insufficiency
Ways to balance your hormones
First of all, one must understand that hormonal problems are not uncommon. Some hormonal imbalances are genetic and some occur due to other unknown reasons. A doctor may suggest blood tests, pelvic exams, or ultrasound depending upon your symptoms. Sometimes further tests such as biopsy, MRI, thyroid scan, X-Ray, or sperm count may be required.
The treatment plan follows once the cause for hormonal imbalance is identified. A few of us may need medications or therapy for improving our body’s natural hormones. But there is more to this hormone journey. A hormonal balance requires a hormone balancing diet plan which leads to a healthy liver, robust digestion, and stable sugar levels.
A hormone diet plan restores your gut, liver health, and blood sugar levels. This helps rebalance your hormones, which in turn may also cure you of many unrelated ailments like chronic aches, seasonal allergies, rashes, hives, anxiety, and depression.
In addition to this, adopting certain lifestyle changes may also help–
- Go for weight loss- A controlled body weight in women can make periods more regulated and also boost the chances of getting pregnant. Ideal weight in men may improve erectile function.
- Consume a balanced diet– A balanced diet plays a key role in overall health.
- Get rid of unwanted hair- Use hair removing creams, waxing, laser techniques, or electrolysis to remove unwanted facial or body hair.
- Use vaginal comfort products- Use creams, lubes, gels, or moisturizers that do not contain glycerin, parabens, and petroleum.
- Avoid eatables that cause hot flashes- Many factors trigger hot flashes, such as spicy foods, hot drinks, or warm temperatures. Identify and avoid those triggers.
- Yoga- Yoga is considered a way of life. By performing yoga poses that aim to regulate our endocrine system or asanas that focus on certain glands, we can strive to spring back the hormonal system into balance. It is highly recommended that one performs these poses under expert guidance.
20 best hormone balancing foods
There are foods for hormonal balance which when incorporated into your diet can regulate sex, thyroid, and adrenal hormones. All of us have different body types that react differently, including these foods can at least ensure a healthy diet, which is essential to the smooth functioning of our system.
It is best to work with a nutritionist/health practitioner, who can determine which hormones need to be balanced, and devise a hormone balance diet plan likewise.
Best sex hormones balancing foods
Sex hormones aid the development of physical sexual features (breasts and hips), regulate our sexual inclination and aid in reproduction. Main sex hormones are progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone.
Our sex hormones fluctuate naturally during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. However, a host of other factors such as lifestyle choices, diet, and exposure to toxins can also throw them out of whack.
Here are some foods that are a good addition in your sex hormone balancing diet plan-
- Flax Seeds- Flax seeds are superfoods loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and contain compounds that help regulate estrogen levels in our bodies. Flax seeds are excellent foods are known to improve/prevent many other hormone-related problems.
- Salmon- Salmon is another superfood rich in omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin D. This vitamin helps in the production of sex hormones and also improves levels of testosterone. Vitamin D is important for bone health and immunity too. Omega-3 found in salmon is believed to reduce the risk of getting prostate cancer and breast cancer.
- Broccoli- Broccoli contains sulfur compounds that eliminate carcinogens. It also has isothiocyanates that reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers. Its high fibre content regulates estrogen levels in our body as it eliminates extra estrogen through bowels.
- Lentils- Rich in protein and fibre, lentils regulate estrogen levels. Zinc present in lentils boosts the levels of testosterone.
- Sunflower seeds- Sunflower seeds are rich in Vitamin E, which plays a major role in the production of estrogen and boosts progesterone. It is also believed to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
- Sweet potatoes- These tubers are an excellent detox for the liver which directly helps in eliminating any excess hormones.
- Organic tempeh- Organic tempeh and miso are good sources of fermented soy. The compounds present in these can reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers and breast cancer.
- Turmeric- The benefits of this yellow superfood are manifold. Curcumin present in turmeric can help reduce menstrual cramps and pain.
- Pomegranate- This fruit rich in antioxidants controls the production of excess estrogen in the body. According to studies, pomegranate may help reduce the risk of estrogen-related breast cancers.
Best thyroid hormones balancing foods
Thyroid hormones provide stimulation, energy, and metabolism. T3, T4, and calcitonin are an important thyroid hormones. TSH, secreted in the pituitary, regulates the thyroid gland.
Thyroid hormones suffer an upheaval when one has Iodine deficiency, a condition in which the body does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Autoimmune disorders (the body attacks its thyroid tissue) is another leading cause that throws thyroid hormones off balance.
Following are a good choice of foods for thyroid hormonal balance-
- Seaweed- Excellent source of iodine, a mineral that helps in the production of thyroid hormones.
- Sardines- Most people suffering from an underactive thyroid are deficient in vitamin B12. Sardines are a rich source of B12, selenium, and also contain some iodine, all of which support the secretion of thyroid hormone.
- Quinoa- Quinoa is a superfood rich in fiber, zinc, protein, and many more nutrients. Zinc enhances the production of thyroid hormone. An underactive thyroid can cause constipation. The high fiber content in quinoa can ease constipation.
- Brazil nuts- Including a handful of Brazil nuts, a selenium-rich food, is the best way to meet your daily requirements of selenium. Selenium is rich in antioxidants and offers great protection for the thyroid gland.
Best adrenal hormones balancing foods
Adrenal glands help control our blood sugar, manage stress, and regulate blood pressure. They also help in the production of sex hormones. Adrenal hormones are adrenaline, aldosterone, cortisol, DHEA, and norepinephrine.
Factors such as chronic emotional and physical stress, insomnia, an imbalanced diet (too much sugar leading to increased blood sugar levels) throw this hormone out of balance.
Let’s check some foods that supplement adrenal hormone balanced diet-
- Kale- Green leafy veggies are nutrient-dense foods. Kale has a healthy load of vitamins A, C, and K. Adrenal glands act as a storehouse for Vitamin C and release this vitamin when we feel stressed.
- Bell peppers- Bell peppers contain good amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the smooth functioning of adrenal glands and acts as our stress buster at times of distress.
- Avocado- Avocados are loaded with healthy fats that regulate blood sugar levels. They also have a stress-combat vitamin, Vitamin B5.
- Almonds- Almonds are also superfoods rich in healthy fats that control our blood sugar levels.
- Pumpkin seeds- Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium. This mineral supports the proper functioning of adrenal glands. Stress and anxietyreduce magnesium levels in our bodies. Magnesium along with Vitamins B5 and C is a stress-fighting mineral.
- Eggs- Eggs contain choline and omega-3 fatty acids that support brain function and nervous system. Both these body systems help us cope with stress better.
- Millet- Millet has magnesium and essential Vitamins B that help regulate blood sugar and stress respectively.
- Sea salt- Aldosterone, a type of adrenal hormone, regulates our blood pressure and fluid balance. Any imbalance in adrenal hormones can lead to depletion in aldosterone levels. This can cause increased secretion of sodium, and lead to enhanced salt cravings. Add a good amount of sea salt to your meals to restore sodium in your body.
Health is not a destination but a journey, and how you embark on this journey depends to a large extent on the choices that you pick en route. We have learned that our hormones are predominantly responsible whether for this journey is rewarding or frustrating. Our hormones play a major role in the quality of our life as they are responsible for how we think, feel, and look. Balanced hormones make us feel energetic and upbeat. They maintain our emotional balance so that we are better equipped to deal with stressful situations. A sound hormonal function also boosts a healthy appetite and helps maintain an ideal weight.
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