Can You Support Hormone Health with Food? 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Young caucasian plump plus size woman cooking making salad, healthy food, dieting, counting calories, preparing dinner lunch at home kitchen
We all have those days when we’re a little cranky. Maybe we didn’t get the best night’s sleep, or maybe we feel like we’ve gained a couple pounds. Sometimes, we blame these moods or issues on our hormones. We might be right. Hormone imbalance can occur more often than we realize and it impacts a lot of aspects of our mental and physical health. And while treating this imbalance with medication is one option, what about what we eat? Research shows there are ways you can support hormone health with food.

What are hormones?

Hormones are part of your multi-faceted endocrine system. Think of them as more than 50 kinds of tiny little chemical messengers that affect nearly all parts of your body. Hormones help regulate your metabolism, your sleep cycle, menstruation for women and your moods. When there’s an imbalance, it can have an impact. Sometimes, having too much or too little of a specific hormone can have serious consequences for your body over time, according to the Cleveland Clinic. These could include:
  • Acne
  • Diabetes
  • Infertility
  • Menstruation cycle issues
  • Thyroid disease
  • Obesity
Supporting hormone health with food
If you think you could have a hormone imbalance, talk to your doctor. They can help you decide if medication or hormone therapy is right for your specific condition. A lot of people attempt to bring their hormones back into balance by eating certain foods. Research has shown that diet may play a role in some hormone imbalance issues. Here are some of the foods commonly highlighted:
Limit your sugar intake: Studies have shown that longtime exposure to the simple sugar called fructose – found in regular granulated sugar, honey and agave – can disrupt the good bacteria in your gut. This can contribute to hormonal issues and chronic conditions like obesity and diabetes if not corrected.
Eat healthy fats: Research shows foods that fall into the healthy fat group – like avocados, fatty fish, almonds and macadamia nuts and olive oil – may help reduce insulin resistance. Some healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids may also keep cortisol levels during stress.
Eat protein at every meal: Your body needs protein to produce some of its hormones. These hormones are tied to a person’s appetite, reproductive system, metabolism and more. So how much protein should you strive for in each meal? Your goal should be 15-30 grams for each meal, according to Mayo Clinic Health System. This can be done by incorporating more lean chicken, fish, beans and lentils into your diet.
Go for the fiber. Eating enough fiber is a good way to keep some of your hormone levels in check. Research shows that the gut ferments soluble fiber which produces fatty acids that stimulate the production of certain hormones that, in turn, keep you feeling full. Try adding more whole-grain items like oatmeal and whole-wheat bread to your daily meals. Beans are also full of fiber, and adding them to salads and soups is an easy option.
For most people, the things described here are not huge changes. Simple tweaks to your daily diet could help keep your hormones in better balance and make you feel healthier overall.
Photo credit: Getty Images

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