Modern life sure is hectic – we are constantly tired, experience mood swings, headaches, sometimes we have trouble sleeping and get tummy cramps... But what if those are not necessarily facts of life, but rather symptoms of a hormonal imbalance? No need to get anxious that something is wrong with your body – many of us experience these symptoms and with the right hormone balancing diet we can make it better!
From happiness to envy
Hormones are those little messengers of the body that work in many different ways, therefore it’s pretty hard to establish a cause-effect relationship when experiencing hormone imbalance symptoms.
For example, there’s mood-boosting serotonin that we find so lacking in winter. There’s thyroid that regulates how quickly and efficiently you convert you food to energy… Unless it’s interrupted by cortisol, which is great for coping with stress, but if you’re stressing for too long, it will lead to excessive calorie intake and obesity problems. There’s the ‘love hormone’ – oxytocin – that everybody loves. It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling when hugging someone… But it may also induce envy, which, in turn, may lead to stress.
As you can see, hormonal system is by no means straightforward – it resembles a multi-player game the outcome of which you can never know.
It starts with your mind
But no need to get fatalistic about it! Even though there is no hard and fast solution to hormone problems, you can make some changes to your lifestyle in order to balance your body and your brain better.
Meditation, stress management, hormone–orientated diet, regular sleep… In our society it’s easier said than done. What I would recommend is to start with changing your approach – after all, hormones affect your mood and vice versa. And you won’t experience full benefits of healthy food if you’re eating it through gritted teeth!
Here are some advice for starting:
- Meditate for 20 minutes before going to bed. I know, I know – you feel ridiculous and you don’t want to waste precious sleeping time. But meditation is known to improve you sleep quality immensely, so you’re guaranteed to have a better rest. Sit comfortably and contemplate your breathing on a particular object. Try to avoid other thoughts. After a couple of days you’ll stop feeling ridiculous, I promise!
- Treat yourself to a massage. Studies have shown that it not only reduces stress hormone, but also boosts serotonin! Yes, massage is costly, but maybe your health is worth it? Another option – arrange a massage session with your partner. Stress levels will sure go down!
- Exercise! Regular exercise is sure to boost you mood and balance your hormones. If you keep it regular, you’ll see that you start craving healthier food. And so it’s time to search for the best hormone-balancing diet!
Are you ready to make changes to your eating habits? If you suspect you might be experiencing hormone imbalance and wish to make it better, adjusting your diet is essential. Some hormones are directly influenced by what you eat – and their imbalance may lead to serious health risks. Let’s meet one very important hormone and see what we can do to balance it better.
What is it?
Insulin is the hormone that’s responsible for your blood sugar levels.
What causes its imbalance and what are the risks?
When your body receives more sugar than it can handle, insulin isn’t able to do its job, and it triggers a syndrome called Insulin Resistance. This may lead to obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as increasing the risk of breast cancer.
How can we prevent it?
When it comes to insulin, the best hormone balancing diet plan is to throw away the bad carbs (doughnuts, fries, buns…) and embrace the proteins. Besides, protein decreases levels of ‘hunger hormone’ and you start feeling full quicker. Also, chew slowly while eating and stop before you feel completely full.
Ditch coffee in favor of green tea
A day without a cup of coffee is like… Just kidding, I have no idea.
That’s how many of us feel about quitting coffee – it has become such a natural part of our lives that it’s hard to imagine feeling even moderately functional without it. But don’t worry – it’s only excess coffee that causes hormonal imbalance (and painful PMS as well!). Most of us drink the first cup of coffee to wake up, and feel the continuous need to keep waking up throughout the day. What if you replace the second cup of coffee with a matcha tea? It’s sure to make you wake up – maybe even better – but it’s lower in caffeine and higher in antioxidants.
If you’re feeling fine even without your daily three cups of coffee, start incorporating green tea in your routine! It lowers you insulin levels and boosts metabolism. You’ll start feeling benefits if you drink at least three cups every day – it’s almost like there’s no place in your stomach for coffee!
Fish and veggies
There are many diet fads around which seem strange at first. From ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat diet based on low protein intake, to intermittent fasting, which is composed of periods of fasting and eating. Most of these diets seem (or at least claim to) help with hormonal problems as well, but you’ll find that the best diet for hormone imbalance is rather intuitive and can be summarized as such: eat healthy food, avoid unhealthy food.
What follows from this seemingly obvious statement is this:
- Avoid excess sugar and refined carbs.
- Eat more greens – such as spinach and kale, or others of your preference. They’re also great for your liver!
- Consume fatty fish, such as salmon or tuna. It’s by far the best source of omega-3 fatty acids, and it lowers stress hormone levels. Unfortunately, fish oil sold in bottles or in capsules is not nearly as effective as the fish itself, so time to head to the sea… Or the nearest market!
- Eat eggs. This seems like great news, because who doesn’t love eggs? They’re especially nutritious and regulate the hormones responsible for food intake.