Food & Hormone Health
Hormones are vitally important to our health. Could what we eat affect them?
THE STORY: Our hormones affect basically every function of our body, so if they get out of whack it can cause serious damage to our health. If that happens is there anything to be done other than using medication? Can what we eat affect our hormones - in positive or negative ways? Let’s take a closer look at hormone health and how what we eat affects our hormones.
THE MAIN HORMONES: There are all kinds of hormones in our bodies, but the ones below are some that have the most impact on our well-being.
Insulin: You’re likely familiar with insulin. This hormone is created in your pancreas and released after eating. It’s responsible for signaling your body to take glucose to your cells for energy. Your insulin being out of balance can result in diabetes.
Leptin: This is the hormone that is released to let your brain know that you’re full and it’s time to stop eating.
Grehlin: This is the hormone responsible for making you feel hungry.
Cortisol: This hormone is known as the “stress hormone” and is released during stressful times (also known as the “fight or flight hormone”). If your cortisol levels are elevated constantly, it can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and more.
T3 & T4: These hormones are thyroid hormones and are responsible for helping to regulate metabolism, weight, and even body temperature.
Melatonin: Another hormone you’ve likely heard of before, this one is responsible for signaling to your brain that it’s time to go to sleep.
HOW FOOD CAN HELP: There’s no specific food or diet to help keep hormones in check, but depending on what hormones might be acting up (your doctor can test them for you), there are a few things you can try.
Don’t have too restrictive a diet. Cutting a lot of stuff out of your diet needlessly may be upsetting hormones in general and making you exhausted and cranky.
If you’ve recently put on a bit of weight, for seemingly no reason, it could be your cortisol levels out of whack. But going on a strict diet could mess things up even more. Instead, see your doctor.
If you’re full of energy one moment, but crashing the next you may be consuming too much sugar or carbs. When you consume too much of these regularly you become less sensitive to leptin and insulin.
If you’re suffering from brain fog, it could be the result of high cortisol levels. Lots of hormones are made while sleeping, so try eating melatonin-rich foods like cherries before bed.
If you want to eat healthily, the Mediterranean diet is one of the best diets for overall health AND for hormone health.
Fish oils may help lower the creation of stress hormones, so adding fish or fish oil capsules to your diet could help lower cortisol levels.
If you’re dealing with high levels of hormones, adding fiber to your diet could help lower them.
THE ROUND-UP: Having your hormones at healthy levels is important to your overall well-being and overall, your hormones will do better with you eating a balanced diet. The Mediterranean diet is a great one to try for keeping hormones leveled off, but if you don’t want to go that route just making a few additions here and there - cutting sugar, eating more foods with melatonin, adding fish oil -depending on your health needs may improve your situation.