Now, ladies, health is important to all of us and has become a bigger topic lately, hormone health in particular. So, as everyone is talking about it, we thought it was time we discuss how your diet and what you eat can support hormone balance.
Getting those all-important nutrients into our meals and snacks is vital for our hormone balance. Let’s take a look into why these foods are so important and how they can help.
Your health and hormones
So, when we think about hormones, we tend to go straight to the sex hormones, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. When in reality, there are actually over 50 hormones in our bodies and every one of them has its own unique purpose. One of the most known ones we can refer you to is insulin. Now, insulin controls our blood sugar (thyroxine), this is then emitted by the thyroid gland to stimulate reproduction and growth. It also secretes melatonin which helps regulate circadian rhythm.
Maintaining the correct balance of these hormones is just as important for our health as any other bodily function. When our hormones are at the optimal level other systems in our bodies work better, including:
Increased energy levels
Better quality sleep
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This then means that on the other end, we have when things are not so settled. If this is the case then here can be a whole array of unwanted side effects such as:
Whilst there will be aspects of our hormone health that are out of our control, we can ensure that we’re eating the right balance of foods. When we consume all the correct nutrients required for hormone production, as we have already learned, our bodies work more efficiently and are more balanced.
Happy hormone foods
Of course, we now want to know which foods should be making a regular appearance throughout our meals and snacks to promote good hormone balance. Well, we’ve got them for you, so let’s do it.
As we know, salmon has so many great health benefits, especially for our heart and brain: this can also be beneficial for our hormones. Not only that, but the same omega-3 fatty acids that have those heart-boosting abilities can also help reinforce healthy hormones. Our hormones can be negatively affected by inflammation; however, omega-3-rich food such as salmon can help keep this at bay. To hit that omega-3 goal, aim to get three servings of salmon into your meals each week.
There are also many other foods such as mackerel, walnuts and chia seeds that contain high levels of omega-3. So, if you’re not one for salmon, there are plenty of other options.
2. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous veggies are packed with antioxidants to protect your body from free radicals. Now, if you’re not sure what a cruciferous vegetable is, they’re the likes of cauliflower, broccoli, kale and brussel sprouts. So, not only do they help to keep a fine balance, but they also have a great effect on our estrogen metabolism. These vegetables contain something called sulforaphane, which is a compound that encourages the detoxification of estrogen.
What is the importance of this? Well, there are endocrine-disrupting plastics, as well as other chemicals, that we become exposed to causing a build up of excess estrogen. This is typically referred to as “estrogen dominance” and can contribute to a whole plethora of changes from weight gain to loss of libido.
As us women have higher levels of estrogen than men, they tend to benefit more from the veggies on offer. Although men can also benefit from this, there has been some research conducted that implicates there is a connection between high levels of estrogen and prostate cancer.
In order to support your healthy hormones, we’d recommend eating between 1-2 cups of broccoli every week.
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- Grass-fed beef
If you’ve read anything from our page before, you’ll know that foods such as red meat are normally dragged through the mud. However, in this instance, they’re incredibly helpful, particularly grass-fed beef. This is because it tends to be of higher quality and has been shown to contain high antioxidants in comparison to grain-fed meats.
The biggest benefit there is to gain from beef is that it’s rich in iron. Iron is a vital nutrient in maintaining consistency in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Additionally, there is a connection between hypothyroidism and low iron levels.
Try to get around three servings of grass-fed red meat into your meals each week.
- Pumpkin seeds
A nutrient that is essential to the production of hormones is magnesium, and pumpkin seeds are jam-packed with them. Not only that, but magnesium also helps to calm the nervous system, meaning it also has a positive impact on our stress hormones. In turn, this also supports the production of thyroid hormones and helps regulate pancreatic hormones.
There is around 168 mg of magnesium in one cup of pumpkin seeds. In terms of our daily recommended intake, women should aim for 310-320mg and men 400-420mg.
Eating gut-healthy foods like yogurt is vital to hormone production. This is because our gut produces certain hormones and detoxifies hormones too, like estrogen, for example. So, it is really important that we look after our gut with probiotic foods to regulate the gut microbiome. As well as yogurt, other probiotic foods you could get into your meals and snacks can be foods such as:
If it’s yogurt you want to go for, stick to Greek yogurt or skyr as these are both rich in protein and contain less sugar than the standard types.
- Sweet potatoes
All root vegetables like sweet potato help to support healthy hormones by using fiber to balance our blood sugars. They are complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, this means that eating them won’t cause your blood sugar to increase. In addition, they also contain a high amount of vitamin C which we require for progesterone production, particularly in the luteal phase (second half of the menstrual cycle).
To ensure you can get enough sweet potatoes into your diet, swap regular potatoes out of your meals and opt for these instead. They are far healthier, have more nutritional value, and taste great too.
Who doesn’t love a cozy, warm bowl of oatmeal? Great news too, it’s good for hormones. Firstly, they provide B vitamins which have been associated with hormone balance and excreting spent hormones from the body.
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Additionally, the whole grain also offers fiber, which as we mentioned earlier, supports hormone balance. A study from 2015 discovered that fiber also has a good effect on insulin sensitivity, another hormone that is really important to our metabolic health.
Wanna up your oatmeal game? Make up some overnight oats and keep them in the refrigerator for the morning. They taste great and you’re getting out of bed with breakfast already made, what a great way to start the day.
- Pasture-raised eggs
Eggs, or more importantly, egg yolks, are a great source of vitamin D. This master hormone is rarely found in foods but is required to regulate the production and activity of hormones. So, if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, this would have a negative effect on your hormone balance.
To make sure you’re getting all the vitamin D there is to offer, opt for pasture-raised eggs; this means that the chickens have access to the outdoors. There has been research to show that because pasture-raised chickens are exposed to more sunlight, their eggs, therefore, contain higher amounts of vitamin D.
As well as eating your eggs, we’d recommend ensuring you’re getting outside and getting some sun and taking a vitamin D3 supplement when needed.
Who knew that the food you eat could affect your hormones so much?
Well, there’s a whole bunch of advice there for you on what foods to get into your diet to ensure you’re promoting happy hormones.
Getting some oats, green veggies and eggs into your diet seems like a relatively easy, noninvasive change to your lifestyle, compared to what could happen in the event of a hormone imbalance.
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