Ladies, if you’re wondering why you’ve been waking up in the middle of the night caked in sweat, your hair is falling out in clumps, you’ve had to buy new sizes of clothes, you feel constantly tired… you may be experiencing a hormonal imbalance!
Hormonal imbalance is just what it sounds like- when the hormones in your body are not balanced. This occurs when there’s too little or too much of a particular hormone, and the reasons why this happens can be many. However, one of the most common causes is eating foods that cause hormonal imbalance. This can cause reactions that reverberate throughout your entire body. A great example of this is diabetes, which stems from a hormonal issue with the pancreas.
The symptoms of hormonal imbalance that you experience greatly depend on which hormone-producing gland is malfunctioning. Different glands produce different hormones that serve different functions in the body.
Some hormones influence your metabolism, which can impact how your body stores fat, the speed at which your body’s systems function, your energy levels, and your weight—the list goes on and on! Additionally, hormones help regulate reproductive/sex hormones, overall mood, and stress levels, how well you sleep, as well as more vital bodily functions, such as blood pressure and blood sugar. (1)
An improper balance of hormones can also stem from underlying medical conditions, such as thyroid dysfunction, hyperglycemia, tumours, diabetes, cancers, and even certain types of radiation. PCOS, certain types of birth control, and hormone replacement medication are the leading causes of hormonal imbalance in women. (2)(3)
Hormonal imbalance can often be accompanied by sudden weight gain, a shift in energy levels, irregular periods or changes in PMS symptoms, as well as acne. So while these symptoms on their own may not seem overly concerning, when they are in combination with one another, they can be a sure sign of hormonal imbalance and should be taken seriously. (4)
If these symptoms sound familiar and you think that your diet may be the culprit, read on! We’re going to dive deep into the foods that cause hormonal imbalance and natural remedies you can use to treat it.
Contents:The Natural Solution to Balance Your Hormones
As you’ll soon learn, the repercussions of chronic hormonal imbalance can cause major health issues that expand far beyond just ‘symptoms’. This is why it’s so important to take care of your body and work as hard as you can to treat the issue so it doesn’t develop into a more serious, irreversible medical condition.
- Unexpected weight gain
- Acne breakouts
- High blood pressure
- Hair changes (such as excessive growth or loss)
- Irregular periods
- Night sweats
- Changes in overall energy levels
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
- Changes in bowel movements
- Decreased sex drive
- Rashes on the lower face down to the upper neck
Some hormones, such as insulin and GIB, rely entirely on food to do their jobs. While other hormones are not as dependent on your diet, they can be influenced by it in a multitude of ways. (6) Let’s take a look at the most common foods that cause hormonal imbalance.
Studies have shown that premenopausal women who have diets that incorporate high amounts of meat (such as the Western diet) have higher oestrogen levels, which can put them at higher risk for hormone-related cancers like breast cancer. (7)(8)
Experts have also found that the overall type of diet can influence the number of sex hormones in the body. The group in the study that ate more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains was found to have lower amounts of oestrogens and higher amounts of SHBG (sex hormone-binding globulin). (9)
Wondering why no matter how much you eat, you don’t feel full? Perhaps the processed/fried foods you’re eating could be to blame!
Research shows that when you eat ultra-processed foods, it can make the levels of the hormones that make you feel full and the hormones that make you feel hungry get all out of whack. So, even though you’re probably full, processed foods have tricked your body into believing that you’re still hungry.
This pattern leads to overeating and weight gain which, as you probably know, can have dangerous consequences for your health in the long run, such as increasing your risk for diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and obesity.
Keep in mind that processed food isn’t just the cookies, sugary snacks and drinks you’re thinking of. They can also include processed lunch meats, cereals, and canned fruits available at your local market. (10)
Animal and human studies have shown that caffeine can impact oestrogen levels. In particular, Asian and African American women who consume 200 mg of caffeine per day (approx. 2 cups of coffee) have higher oestrogen levels than white women who consume the same amount of caffeine per day.
It’s important to note that this study wasn’t just limited to caffeine intake from coffee, it also included caffeinated soda, green tea, and black tea. (11)
Generally speaking, dairy has a range of health benefits enjoyed by many (especially in the United States), but when it comes to women who are trying to get pregnant, dairy may be something to stay away from.
Consuming high amounts of dairy and dairy products have been linked to fluctuations in reproductive hormones. Yoghurt, in particular, is one of the foods that cause hormonal imbalance, and has even been linked to random anovulation, which is when ovulation does not occur. (12)
Alcohol has been proven to raise oestrogen levels in women, making them more susceptible to HRP (hormone-receptor-positive) breast cancer.
Women who have at least 3 drinks per week are 15% more likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime or even to have it recur if they’ve been diagnosed with it before. (15)
In the same way that processed foods can have an impact on women’s hormones, so can sugar and artificial sweeteners. They are addictive and can specifically affect the hormones that control appetite, making you feel continually hungry even though you’ve eaten plenty. (16)
Animal studies have shown that an HFHS (high-fat, high sugar) diet can influence baseline hormone levels, as well as impair hormone surges during the preovulatory phase of the menstrual cycle. (17)
Getting enough vital nutrition from your diet, as well as your other lifestyle habits can play a major role in hormonal function.
Your hormones are happiest when you eat proper amounts of protein, fibre, and healthy fats. It also helps when you get good sleep, exercise regularly, and take care of your gut health!
Let’s discuss a few different natural remedies as it pertains to promoting healthy hormone function.
#1 - Eat Enough Protein
- Cooked chicken
- Greek yoghurt
- Cottage cheese
- Cooked beans
Exercise can go a long way toward keeping your thyroid function in tip-top shape!
Studies have shown exercise to be highly effective in maintaining proper hormone receptor sensitivity, making sure all the body’s messages are getting received loud and clear. (23)
Insulin is a prime example of a hormone that thrives with exercise. Being insulin-resistant is a risk factor for diabetes, so doing everything you can to lower your insulin resistance is vital to living a long and healthy life.
Experts have found that regular exercise effectively decreases insulin resistance even up to 72 hours after the last workout. Exercise can also boost sex steroid hormones that help keep your muscles healthy as you age. (24)(25)
Remember those hormones I talked about earlier that control appetite as well as your feeling of fullness? Those are regulated by your gut and all the bacteria (good and bad) found there. (26)
If you suffer from insulin resistance, taking care of your gut health is extra important. Researchers have proven that in obese individuals their gut microbiome morphs in a way that makes things worse for themselves by increasing insulin resistance and inflammation. (27)
Taking probiotics is a simple and quick way to inject all kinds of good bacteria into your gut to help maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Did you know that not all types of fats are bad for you?
Healthy fats, especially MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) can be beneficial when it comes to optimising hormone function. These fats are often found in food items such as olive oil, coconut oil, and avocados.
Another example of healthy fat is the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, nuts, and seeds. This fatty acid, along with MCTs has been proven in studies to reduce insulin resistance, as well as inflammation. Additionally, omega-3 fatty acids can help maintain healthy cortisone levels during stressful times, preventing stress-induced overeating. (28)(29)(30)(31)
Getting poor sleep consistently can cause more problems than simply making you moody. Making it a priority to get good quality sleep regularly is important when it comes to keeping your body functioning properly.
Sleep is tied to your hormones more than you think. Sleep duration and quality have been directly linked to the regulation of leptin and cortisol hormone levels. This means that when you get poor sleep, you feel more stressed and more hungry. Long term, this can lead to issues such as diabetes and obesity. (32)(33)(34)
Adding more fibre to your diet is another small way you can make a big difference with your hormones. Research shows fibre stimulates the hormones that make you feel full while simultaneously reducing insulin sensitivity. (35)(36)
Examples of fibre-rich foods include berries, broccoli, chia seeds, almonds, brussel sprouts, lentils, and beans. (37)
A Mediterranean diet consists of lots of fruits and veggies (a healthy mix of raw and cooked), high amounts of fish and seafood, legumes, olive oil as the main cooking oil, and a good amount of whole grains and nuts and seeds. (38)
Studies have shown that within 6 months of switching to a Mediterranean diet overall oestrogen levels are lowered in women. As a result, adopting a Mediterranean diet is especially effective in preventing hormone-related cancers, such as breast cancer. (39)
Other natural remedies that promote hormonal balance include reducing the intake of sugar and artificial sweeteners and reducing stress levels, both of which work to combat obesity risks often associated with hormonal imbalance. (40)(41)
While the root causes of hormonal imbalance can vary from person to person, one thing that is pretty consistent all across the board is adapting your lifestyle and diet to support healthy hormonal function. Not only is how you structure your diet important, but (as you’ve learned) there are foods proven to cause hormonal imbalance that should be noted and, consequently, avoided.
Hormonal imbalances can be normal for women during times of puberty, menstruation, and before, during, and after pregnancy or menopause, but to experience it constantly is not normal- nor is it healthy. (4)
Try eliminating from your diet some of the non-hormone-friendly foods discussed here, as well as some of the natural remedies suggested for treatment. If you’re still struggling to find a solution that works for you, look into Hormone Harmony, which is quick and easy to order through our online shop.
Hormone Harmony works to restore hormonal balance naturally. The Smart Extracts in this formula can correct specific hormonal imbalances—including oestrogen, progesterone, prolactin, and cortisol levels. The 12 natural ingredients in this supplement have been shown to work for women at different stages of their lives as they adapt to their unique hormonal problems.
All it takes is 4 capsules a day and you could be on your way to healthier hormones!