We’ve all heard the expression “food is fuel,” but what exactly does that mean? We, like a car, require fuel to perform properly. Cars, on the other hand, require gasoline or diesel; we, on the other hand, require nourishment! So, how do our hormones react to food? Food offers the nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy, including hormone production, metabolism, and detoxification. As a result, if we do not consume enough of the right nutrients, our hormone balance may suffer.
What Is The Role Of Food In Hormone Regulation?
In the human body, there are around 200 distinct hormones. These are chemical messengers that regulate a variety of functions in our bodies, including metabolism, immunity, menstruation, and reproduction. Certain foods can give the nutrients we need to help our bodies produce hormones more efficiently.
How does food affect your hormones?
Steroid hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone aid all of the foregoing systems, as well as others. They are among the body’s most significant and active hormones. But did you know that cholesterol is used to make them?
Unfortunately, cholesterol has a poor reputation because having excessive levels in your blood can cause cholesterol plaque build up, furring the arteries and contributing to heart disease. Having too little cholesterol, on the other hand, can be harmful to your health. Women with significantly little body fat, for example, may experience irregular periods (amenorrhea) and infertility. This is due to a lack of cholesterol in the body, which prevents the body from synthesising oestrogen and progesterone, which are important hormones in the reproductive system.
The Effects Of Extreme Dieting On The Endocrine System
We’ve seen the introduction of diets that cut food groups out totally, such as low fat and keto, as a result of food containing cholesterol, as well as carbohydrates. These diets are frequently unsustainable, requiring the elimination of key food groups for a period of time in order to achieve an ‘immediate weight loss solution.’ The majority of people who follow these diets gain weight when they finish them, since the body clings to its energy reserves in case of another period of nutrient deprivation- the so-called yo-yo dieting syndrome.
Furthermore, the effects of excessive dieting can have a major impact on the endocrine system. Rather than adopting an extreme or crash diet, the emphasis should be on maintaining a long-term diet rich in nutrient-dense, unprocessed wholefoods from a variety of food groups. The nutrients and foods that should be included in a well-rounded diet that can maintain balanced hormone levels.
What Should I Eat To Keep My Hormones in Check?
1. A Hormone Balancing Plate’s Anatomy
While we previously discussed how eliminating specific foods can have a negative impact on the endocrine system, it is also possible to overeat ‘good’ foods, which is why eating a diversified, balanced diet is so important. This will guarantee that your body obtains the nutrition it requires to maintain a healthy endocrine system, proper hormone function, and a healthy body weight.
We’ve created the ideal architecture of a hormone balancing plate, one that includes the recommended levels of the key meals for maintaining healthy hormone function.
- Fats (10%)
- Lean protein (20%)
- Grains (30%)
- Vegetables (40%)
A third to half of this dish should be made up of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables, 30% wholegrains, 20% lean protein, and 10% fat. While getting the ratios correct for each meal may not be achievable, you should attempt to consume these food categories in their respective percentages every day.
2. Fruits And Vegetables, That Are Organic
Pesticides like glyphosate, which function as hormone disruptors and have a deleterious impact on fertility, can be found in non-organic produce. Buy organic whenever feasible, and look for non-GMO foods, as these are less likely to be contaminated with glyphosate.
Along with eating organic, it’s also crucial to avoid buying food that’s been wrapped in plastic. Bisphenols in hard plastics (such as drinking straws and water bottles) and phthalates in soft and flexible plastics are endocrine disruptors, meaning they disturb the endocrine system’s natural function. If at all possible, store your foods in glass, paper, or other natural materials, and avoid microwaveable meals, as plastic contains hazardous chemicals that seep into the food during the microwaving process.
3. Foods With Prebiotics And Probiotics
Not only does the stomach create hormones, but it also detoxifies hormones like oestrogen. As a result, it’s critical to feed your gut prebiotic and probiotic foods that help to regulate the gut microbiome (the collection of microorganisms that live in the gut).
Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be taken orally to help the gut bacteria. Fermented foods such as yoghurt, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi contain them. Probiotics eat prebiotics to boost their growth and activity. Garlic, asparagus, banana, leek, tomato, and oats are among them.
Phytoestrogens are oestrogens found in plants that can be consumed. They have the capacity to control oestrogen, thus they may be useful to your diet whether you are oestrogen dominant or deficient. Flaxseed, chia seed, fennel, lentils, legumes, alfalfa sprouts, and liquorice are all good sources of phytoestrogens. Soy also includes isoflavone, a phytoestrogen that can reduce your risk of ischemic heart disease and decrease hot flushes.
5. Fats that are good for you
Because the body cannot generate omega-3 fatty acids, they must be included in a well-balanced diet. Flaxseed, chia seeds, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados are all omega-3-rich foods. Fatty fish, particularly those in the SMASH acronym (sardines, mackerel, anchovies, salmon, and herring), are a good source.
Omega-6 is also necessary for cell function, but in a diet strong in fried or processed foods, it can be over consumed. It’s critical to maintain a healthy balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, thus processed meals should be substituted with healthier options like almonds, chicken, eggs, and seeds.
6. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, in addition to being high in antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals, also have good effects on oestrogen metabolism, particularly when it comes to oestrogen dominance.
Any vegetable in the Brassica family, which includes cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and brussels sprouts, is considered cruciferous. Broccoli sprouts, on the other hand, have the highest levels of sulforaphane (a chemical found in cruciferous vegetables that promotes oestrogen detoxification) and are easy to grow on a windowsill at home.
7. Foods that boost happy hormones
Yogurt, beans, eggs, low-fat meats, and almonds are just a few items that have been associated to dopamine release. Tryptophan-rich meals have been related to elevated serotonin levels. Foods that contain probiotics, such as yoghurt, kimchi, and sauerkraut, that can also alter hormone release.