Insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, acne, obesity, and menstrual issues are just some of the many hormonal imbalance problems that can ruin your entire day. Hormonal imbalance arises when you have too little or too many hormones in the bloodstream. It can affect anyone. Your hormones play a vital role in metabolism, growth, sleep, cardiac cycle, and fertility. In addition, they are your body’s chemical messengers. So, any minute hormonal fluctuation is the onset of long-term illness. When hormone imbalance occurs, your body releases adrenaline, insulin, and stress hormones at unhealthy levels. However, it’s not impossible to figure out and treat those out of control hormones.
If you experience hormonal imbalance, it’s time to make some dietary changes. Follow the recommended levels of calorie intake. Start by eating healthy fats, a rainbow of vegetables, quality proteins, and probiotic yoghurt. Incorporate them into your breakfast, lunch, smoothies, or soup. Although foods help with hormonal imbalance, they won’t show their magic overnight. Remember, give these foods their fair time to start working. Also, a healthy lifestyle is a must to see a long-lasting effect.
Causes of Hormonal Imbalance
Your diet is the key culprit for disrupting the hormone balance. What you eat and what you’re not eating plays a role. A healthy diet keeps the hormones in sync while an unhealthy one interferes with hormone signalling pathways, making the hormones go out of balance. If you deprive your body of enough nutrients, it downregulates hormone production.
Lack of exercise mostly leads to a high percentage of body fat. It eventually makes the hormone-producing glands underactive. The severity may vary from person to person as everyone has a different body type and metabolism rate. Nonetheless, a person with poor physical activity levels is always prone to unfavourable hormonal fluctuations.
It’s natural to experience hormonal imbalance once you enter puberty or the reproductive cycle. It majorly affects women. Sex hormones are responsible for these hormonal changes. In women, the most common causes of hormonal imbalance during the reproductive phase are:
- Birth control pills
- Ovarian insufficiency
- Premature Menopause
Depending on the gland type and health conditions, there are varied risk factors for hormone imbalance. For example, cancer is a medical condition that impacts hormone levels even after treatment, as hormone imbalance is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Misuse of steroids among athletes is another leading factor of hormone imbalance. Other causes may include the following.
- Hyperactive thyroid
- Underactive thyroid
- Pituitary tumours
- Exposure to toxins, pollutants, and pesticides
Relation between Food and Hormonal Imbalance
There is always a role in the food you eat. The chemical contents in your food can control the hormone system. For example, foods contaminated or adulterated with preservatives and growth hormones adversely affect hormone imbalance. Similarly, pesticides and phytoestrogens are the worst in the situation. Avoiding these foods and eating the right ones eliminates most hormonal imbalances. Along with food, factors like supplements, better sleep, and exercise largely contribute to balancing your hormones. However, it’s important to note that food is the primary focus.
Some foods are naturally hormone balancers. Fermented dishes and high-fibre veggies are some agents that primarily work to boost your hormonal health. You may even find certain seeds, such as flaxseeds, hormone supporting seeds. When you eat unhealthily, then the results are also wrong. A diet exceptionally high on fatty ones is more likely to affect our hormonal levels. Eating nutrient-dense food is deemed necessary for a precise hormonal balance.
The Best Foods for Hormonal Imbalance
Most people are aware that green tea aids in weight loss. Along with that, it helps balance insulin levels. People with obesity and diabetes have insulin hormone imbalance due to the body’s insulin-resistant conditions.
A detailed study shows that drinking green tea will improve your body’s response to insulin, leading to its balanced production. If you aim to balance insulin hormones, consuming around 4 cups of green tea per day is enough to reap the mentioned benefits.
Green tea has higher concentrations of compounds with antioxidant activity, particularly theanine. In addition, it is an amino acid that lowers elevated stress hormones. As a result, it helps you feel relaxed during the day and sleep better at night. If you’re a postmenopausal woman with hormonal imbalance, drink tulsi-infused green tea regularly. It maintains the metabolism of the oestrogen hormone and controls the oestrogen levels in your body.
Fatty fish is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. They’re delicious and relatively easy to add to your diet. In addition, studies show that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish boost cell to cell communication. Why is that so important? To answer, it improves hormonal communication, thereby preventing any decrease or increase in their levels.
Women entering menopause and teenage girls should include fatty fish in their daily diet. The Omega 3’s from fish act as the building blocks for ovarian hormones’ balanced production and function.
Like green tea, fatty fish also brings down any rise in stress hormone or cortisol. Some options that you can consider are salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, tuna, and trout. Don’t sweat it if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet. You can replace fatty fish with walnuts, chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, algal oil, and hemp seeds without compromising on the Omega 3’s benefits.
Eating root vegetables year-round keeps the hormone balance in check. A study has discovered that root vegetables like turnip, garlic, parsnips, onion, and radish balance the hormones by providing food for beneficial gut bacteria. Fibres, in particular, found in root vegetables regulate blood sugar levels, thus balancing hormones. Furthermore, they’re abundant in Magnesium mineral that relaxes the nervous system. It, in turn, controls the stress hormone.
If you’re not a fan of raw veggies, then no problem. Cooking the root vegetables increases their vitamin C content, which fights the excessive stress hormones. It’s worth mentioning their complex carbs level but do not confuse it with refined carbs or sugars. Complex carbs in root vegetables release serotonin, the happy hormone. Making you feel relaxed and better.
Try to incorporate root vegetables into your daily diet—for example, sweet potatoes and carrots in soups. The former balances the progesterone levels while the latter prevents the unhealthy rise of oestrogen. Or you may add radish to a salad or eat those root veggies with your favourite dip.
These little berries can help with your hormonal imbalance. Blueberries are rich in vitamin B6, which assists in balancing the progesterone hormone. It is beneficial for women with the premenstrual syndrome as progesterone imbalance is a characteristic of PMS. If you’re on your periods, try doubling up the intake of blueberries. You can eat around three or four cups of blueberries per week. Or add them to yoghurts or smoothies.
In addition to their pleasant sweetness, it helps manage your body’s stress hormone level and protect the cells from stress. Nutritionists are still debating on the hormonal benefits of phytoestrogens in strawberries. However, a study states that consuming a moderate amount of phytoestrogens supports hormone balance and does not raise oestrogen levels.
Strawberries are also rich in vitamin C, which stabilises hormones. You can eat strawberries with salads, protein bowls, smoothies, pancakes, or cereals. The most hormone-balance-tailored diet contains strawberry milk as well.
Lignan is a compound that stimulates oestrogen production when you’re lacking and eliminates excess oestrogen when you have more than required. This mechanism normalises your oestrogen levels and prevents a hormonal imbalance. Seeds such as flax seeds and pumpkin seeds are the richest dietary source of lignans. Eating two tablespoons of ground flaxseeds helps to shift the direction of oestrogen metabolism from unhealthy to clean and regular.
In addition to lignans, pumpkin seeds supply magnesium, vitamin B5, and vitamin C. They may avoid hormonal imbalance related to the adrenal gland by lowering stress. You can add these seeds into baked goods, yoghurt, breakfast cereal, or smoothies. Infuse a spoonful of toasted flax seeds with a glass of hot water every morning.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, and at the same time, they’re low in carbs. These two properties promote stable insulin levels. In addition, the fats in avocados serve as building blocks for testosterone, progesterone, and oestrogen. So, in simple terms, they help produce sex hormones without any fluctuations.
If you have elevated oestrogen levels, avocados may reduce their absorption rate. Do consume them in moderation as avocados are relatively high in calories. Eating one-fourth portion of an avocado a day is enough to reap its benefits and avoid sex hormone imbalance.
Eggs are fan-favourite hormone-balancing foods as they contain a healthy dose of protein, omega-three fatty acids, and choline. Eating enough protein helps you to avoid hormonal imbalance. In addition, the combined effect of choline and Omega-3 fatty acids ensures a healthy nervous system. When your nervous system functions correctly, the body can better fight hormonal imbalance.
Eggs also benefit the endocrine system or the hormone-producing system. Few radicals often trigger premature ageing and damage the thyroid gland, leading to the unhealthy release of thyroid hormones. The antioxidant activity of eggs fights these harmful free radicals. There are a variety of ways to enjoy eggs. You can either have simple scrambled eggs or boil them. For an average adult, 1-2 eggs a day is sufficient.
Foods to Avoid During Hormonal Imbalance
What you eat every day has a direct impact on your hormones. Wrong dietary patterns could be disturbing the body’s hormone balance. Here are the top five foods to avoid during hormone imbalance.
Reliable studies have cited that consuming too many caffeinated drinks and food disrupts your hormone balance. Caffeine overdose is very common, and it triggers an increase in stress hormone production. There’s also a concern regarding caffeine’s effect on oestrogen balance and ovulation in women. You should limit caffeine to occasional consumption if you’re at risk for hormonal imbalances.
Asking you to steer clear of whole fruits might be a controversial statement but if you’re trying to achieve hormone balance, eat them in moderation. Apples, citrus, pineapples, and fruit juices raise blood sugar, increasing insulin. Spike in insulin levels increases cortisol and oestrogen levels. So do not go heavy on the fruits. Possibly stick to berries like strawberries and blueberries for better hormone support.
Red meat is high in unhealthy saturated and hydrogenated fats. Thus, people with hormonal imbalance must avoid it. Your condition may worsen as eating red meat causes a drastic rise in oestrogen production. In addition, hidden fats in conventionally raised red meat lead to poor metabolism, constipation, and bloating. This effect on the gut triggers hormone imbalance.
Are you facing hormonal imbalance? Then bingeing on sugar processed foods containing sodium and preservatives may worsen the condition. When you eat added sugars, your body starts producing more insulin, oestrogen, and progesterone. Any processed food can lead to these imbalances. They cause inflammation and pressure on your adrenal gland, leading to unhealthy hormone release. Stay hydrated and include protein in every meal to hold back the junk food cravings.
Milk and its derivatives always top the list of nutrients rich options. However, it’s best to avoid them despite their many nutrients during hormonal issues. Be a little cautious while feasting on the diary, as excess consumption leads to gut inflammation. It, in turn, negatively impacts the existing hormone abnormalities. You may have low-fat dairy products in moderation. Eat your diary with fruit and veggies to reduce acidity. In severe cases of hormonal imbalance, one should eliminate dairy until the condition has improved.
While hormonal imbalance and its effects sound complicated, certain foods serve as a natural way to heal and balance those abnormalities. Whether eaten cooked or raw, root vegetables offer abundant hormonal benefits. Its high magnesium content works by relaxing the nervous system to reduce stress hormones. You can add these foods into your comfort dish to bring that balance. Consider drinking three to four cups of green tea per day as that may help balance insulin and stress hormone levels. Nowadays, you may combine green tea with Tulsi extract to maintain estrogen hormone balance after menopause.
If you’re facing hormonal imbalance, cut down red meat, dairy, processed foods, and caffeine from your diet. For hormonal support, you may fit berries, fatty fish, eggs, avocados, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds into your daily diet. Although the mentioned foods are a great addition to hormonal imbalance, you might need other medications, exercises, and lifestyle changes. Every person is different. What works for your friend may not be the one for you. Sometimes, you’ll require a combination of multiple foods to balance your hormones. Remember, no food satisfies your hormonal needs in an instant.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What should I eat to avoid hormonal imbalance?
A. Fermented dishes and high-fibre veggies primarily work to boost your hormonal health. You may even find certain seeds, such as flaxseeds, hormone supporting seeds helpful. In addition, you can avoid hormonal imbalances by eating root vegetables, fatty fish, blueberries, strawberries, lignan, eggs, and drinking green tea.
Q. What foods affect hormones?
A. Your eating habits directly influence your hormones. Unhealthy dietary patterns disrupt the body’s hormone balance. For example, a diet exceptionally high on fatty foods is more likely to affect your hormonal balance. In addition, foods and beverages like coffee, whole fruits, red meat and dairy products may lead to hormonal imbalance.
Q. Which fruit is best for hormones?
A. Berries like strawberries and blueberries are an excellent food source to maintain hormonal balance in your body. In addition, you can also consume fruits like bananas, mangoes, pineapples, papayas, and peaches. These are the finest fruits for hormones.
Q. What can I drink to balance my hormones?
A. Green tea has a higher concentration of compounds with antioxidant activity, particularly theanine. In addition, it is an amino acid that lowers elevated stress hormones. As a result, it helps you feel relaxed during the day and sleep better at night. That makes green tea one of the finest beverages for hormone balance.
Q. Is lemon water good for hormones?
A. Yes. Lemon water can be an excellent addition to your diet. Warm lemon water will make you feel more energised. In addition, lemons also aid in regulating hormones such as glucose and leptin.
Q. Do bananas help hormonal imbalance?
A. Banana is high in folate or vitamin B9, which helps fight depression by generating serotonin. Serotonin is an antidepressant or the happiness hormone. In addition, banana also contains norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that modulates stress levels,
Q. Can water help hormonal imbalance?
A. Dehydration affects your body’s glandular function, leading to hormonal imbalance. Drinking adequate water helps flush toxins from your body and keeps your cells functioning at optimal levels. However, drinking a lot of plain water can dilute bodily fluids and create a stress reaction, increasing the stress hormones. You may also drink salt water because it helps maintain hormonal balance.
Q. What tea helps balance hormones?
A. The best tea to help balance hormones is green tea. Furthermore, you can also drink raspberry leaf tea. It is a popular herbal remedy for female hormone balance.
Q. Do eggs help balance hormones?
A. Eggs are fan-favourite hormone-balancing foods because they contain healthy proteins, omega-three fatty acids, and choline. Eating enough protein helps avoid hormonal imbalance. In addition, since eggs contain selenium, they help maintain a healthy hormonal balance.
Q. Can garlic balance hormones?
A. Hormonal imbalance may lead to inflammation, disrupting your body’s normal processes. Garlic can reduce that inflammation and prevent hormones from overcompensating for those cellular changes. It also helps regulate hormones by feeding the good bacteria in your stomach.