Energy and nutrients from food are the raw materials for hormone production. Without enough raw materials your body will prioritize making “survival hormones” (a.k.a stress hormones) like cortisol which is a key factor in hormone imbalances. A practical example of this is cholesterol which is the precursor of almost every major hormone in the body. Without enough cholesterol from food sources like egg yolk, grass-fed meats, and grass-fed butter, the body may either overburden the liver to make more, or sacrifice hormone production.
The types of food and quality of food you eat can either promote or hinder hormone balance. Specifically consuming foods with chemical additives, food dye, and endocrine disrupting products such as genetically modified foods (GMO) interrupt the normal hormone pathways. Endocrine disrupting chemicals not only mimic some of the hormone pathways in ways that actually throw off the whole system, they also disrupt the detoxification pathways in the body. When the body cannot effectively detoxify, hormones can build up and promote imbalances. Estrogen dominance is an example of this. When the body cannot detoxify adequately, estrogen can build up causing imbalances in progesterone and testosterone. The foods you eat can either promote or inhibit hormone health.
5 Key Tips for Food and Hormones
- Maintain good blood sugar balance
Preventing cortisol and insulin spikes from the body’s natural reaction to high carbohydrate and foods high in refined sugar is paramount to hormone balance. Blood sugar swings throughout the day wreak havoc on hormones. One of be simplest tips for blood sugar balance is to pair carbohydrates with a protein or healthy-fat source to slow down and minimize blood sugar response.
- Balance macronutrients
Macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Many different popular diets have very specific suggestions for the proportions of macronutrients that can be very confusing. The simplest tip for macronutrient balance is to fill ½ your plate with vegetables and split the other ½ between carbohydrate and protein sources while cooking with and adding high quality fats.
- Mimizime inflammatory foods
Inflammation is generally at the crux of hormone imbalances which means the foods you eat that promote inflammation are only going to contribute to hormone imbalances. The simplest list of inflammatory foods is sugar, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and poor quality fats.
- Consume probiotics
A big portion of hormones are actually in the gut (gastrointestinal tract) and when the gut is off, or the bacteria are imbalanced, hormone balance will suffer. Eating probiotic foods can help balance the gut microbiome and support better hormone levels. A simple probiotic food to consume is a homemade pickled cucumber or carrot. All this requires is water, vegetable, seasoning if desired, salt, and a few days of waiting. Plenty of fresh fermented foods are available to purchase as well.
- Consume enough fiber
Fiber is essential for helping to get rid of extra hormones. Fiber is a key component of the detoxification pathway for hormones through the stool. Constipation in the form of small, hard, and/or infrequent stools prevents hormones from exiting the body in a timely manner and may be reabsorbed. Diarrhea such as frequent, runny, or high volume stools may prevent the body from absorbing key vitamins and minerals needed to support good hormone balance. The simplest way to get enough fiber is to fill ½ your plate at each meal with vegetables while also adding some seeds daily.
What To Eat For Great Hormones