Eating for Hormone Health

Are you tired, bloated, and irritable? Does your skin look dull and lifeless, or are you still breaking out even though you’re well past the agony of adolescence? Your diet could be wreaking havoc on your hormones and triggering all of these disruptive symptoms.

How does my diet affect my hormones?

Your diet is far more important to your health than you probably realize. Your hormones drive every body function, from your metabolism to your sex drive. Your endocrine system needs essential nutrients to operate correctly, produce the correct amount of hormones, and keep your body working.

Additionally, the rest of your body relies on your food consumption for nutrients. A poor diet can cause problems throughout your body, from inflammation in your digestive system to diabetes and high blood pressure.

If you consume too many calories, you gain weight. Excess fat tissue affects your hormone levels, interfering with how your body produces and uses hormones like estrogen and insulin. This creates a cycle of declining health, as abnormal hormone levels can make it challenging to lose weight, but the more fat tissue you have, the more severe your hormonal imbalances become.

What’s wrong with the Standard American Diet (SAD)?

Where to even start with the problematic nature of the SAD? Not only does it include too many calories, but 58% of the calories an average American consumes every day come from ultra-processed foods.[1] Ultra-processed foods are chock full of sugar, dyes, preservatives, and other additives that your body isn’t able to digest or use.

These foods are calorie-rich, but nutrient deficient. They might taste good for a moment, but ultimately leave you unfulfilled, both in terms of satiation and consuming the nutrients your body needs for optimal functionality.

What does inflammation have to do with my hormones?

Two of the main problems with inflammation are reduced nutrient absorption and increased cortisol levels.

Inflammation is how your body responds to threats. However, when you have chronic inflammation due to a poor diet, it can trigger your adrenal glands and cause excess cortisol production.[5] When your cortisol levels are too high, it increases your glucose level, which stresses your pancreas and insulin production. This affects your estrogen levels, and the cycle of hormonal imbalance starts rolling.

Reduced nutrient absorption causes a cascade of poor health symptoms throughout your body. Your tissues are deprived of the nutrients they need to function, and as a result, you suffer from slow cellular regeneration, abnormal hormone production, and fatigue.

Best foods for hormone health

There are so many resources out there, extolling the benefits of green tea, probiotics, or jicama. Let’s make it simple: eat whole foods.

Whole foods are natural, unprocessed foods. Your meals should primarily include fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Whenever possible, you should opt for organic, especially when you eat:

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

When you purchase these fruits and vegetables in their conventional forms, they’re very likely to have a residue of pesticides. You don’t want to eat poison, do you?

We recommend following a natural, whole-food-based diet most of the time. However, we know that the allure of french fries, chocolate, and soda is powerful. Processed, fried foods are NOT good for you in any way. But an occasional treat is. If you really want a food-based treat, have one, but don’t make these treats part of your everyday meal plan.

That said, there are a couple of food products that are on every list of the best foods hormonal health: broccoli and soy.

Brassica foods, such as broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, and many others, contain indoles and sulforaphanes. These substances protect your estrogen levels and have anti-carcinogenic properties. Broccoli contains more of these chemicals than any other vegetable.

The healthiest way to enjoy brassica, and any type of fruit or vegetable, is raw. However, if chewing on a raw brussels sprout isn’t appealing, you should steam or bake your veggies. These cooking methods allow the vegetable to retain the highest amounts of their vitamins and nutrients. You should avoid boiling or frying your vegetables as these cooking methods suck the nutrients right out of the veggies.

You’ve probably read conflicting articles about whether or not to eat soy products. As a complete protein, soy provides many health benefits. Soy also contains isoflavones, a weak, estrogen-like substance.

Some studies tried to link soy to breast cancer, but other, more robust and recent studies have found that eating soy has no impact on your risk of breast cancer. However, if you have low estrogen, soy-based foods can help increase your estrogen levels. Not like hormone therapy, but it can help maintain your hormone balance.

Benefits of a hormone-healthy diet

When you commit to a hormone-healthy diet, you will see changes in your health and well-being. You will sleep better. Your skin will become clear and bright, people might say you’re glowing. You’ll have more energy. You’ll feel like yourself. And after a few weeks, you will probably notice that your pants are a little bit loose.

One of the best things about eating a natural, whole-foods based diet is that you can eat a lot, but still stay healthy, slim, and energized. Consuming a pound of fresh, organic vegetables provides loads of vitamins and nutrients and fills you up. While a pound of chocolates will leave you feeling sluggish.

While a healthy diet can help keep your hormones in balance and protect your health, sometimes other issues interfere with your hormone health. If you’re eating well, exercising, and doing everything you’re supposed to do, but still feel tired, fat, and overwhelmed, it might be time to explore hormone replacement therapy.

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If you consume too many calories, you gain weight. Excess fat tissue affects your hormone levels, interfering with how your body produces and uses hormones like estrogen and insulin. This creates a cycle of declining health, as abnormal hormone levels can make it challenging to lose weight, but the more fat tissue you have, the more severe your hormonal imbalances become.

Where to even start with the problematic nature of the SAD? Not only does it include too many calories, but 58% of the calories an average American consumes every day come from ultra-processed foods. Ultra-processed foods are chock full of sugar, dyes, preservatives, and other additives that your body isn’t able to digest or use.[1]

Inflammation is how your body responds to threats. However, when you have chronic inflammation due to a poor diet, it can trigger your adrenal glands and cause excess cortisol production.[5] When your cortisol levels are too high, it increases your glucose level, which stresses your pancreas and insulin production. This affects your estrogen levels, and the cycle of hormonal imbalance starts rolling.