Secreted from endocrine glands, hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your body and trigger various functions! These intelligent messengers are constantly telling the organs and tissues in your body what to do.
Your body produces over 200 hormones that control various mechanisms in your body. It is a complicated web that can be easily thrown off the wagon, leading to symptoms that can disrupt weight, weaken the immunity system, impact the menstrual cycle, cause anxiety and a lot more. Let’s have a look at some of the common functions that hormones are responsible for:
Hormones like insulin, Leptin and Ghrelin are responsible for regulating your metabolism: Insulin: It is released from your pancreas and is responsible for taking sugar (glucose) from the blood to cells for energy. Leptin: Also known as the “satiety hormone” it helps in controlling appetite and maintaining weight. Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is responsible for stimulating your appetite. Thyroid: They help regulate your weight, energy levels, growth of hair, nails, skin and more.
2. Reproductive system
Sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone are responsible for changes during puberty and help regulate the menstrual cycle.
3. Stress & mood
They are the reason behind those mood swings! Cortisol (also known as the stress hormone” is released in times of stress and increases blood pressure. Adrenaline is our “fight or flight” hormone. Melatonin is a hormone that is released at night and prepares the body for sleep.
Now that you have understood the role of various hormones in your body, below is a list of certain food items that can help in maintaining hormonal balance:
Rich in antioxidants, fibre and healthy fats, they act as great hormonal balance supplements. They are also loaded with omega - 3 fats and contain phytoestrogens that mimic estrogen, bind to our estrogen receptors and help excrete excess estrogen from the body. It also helps in dealing with menopausal symptoms. It is actually quite a popular ingredient that even tastes great.
One of the healthiest fruits in the world, avocados are full of healthy fats and fibre. They bring down the absorption of estrogen and uplift testosterone levels. They are also good for your heart health. They are also loaded with beta-sitosterol, which can positively affect blood cholesterol levels and help balance cortisol, the stress hormone.
This is a popular drink among health conscious people. It is full of antioxidants and provides numerous health benefits. It boosts metabolism and flushes out toxins from your body. But what makes it a great drink to balance hormones is that it accommodates theanine, a compound that reduces the stress hormone. So drink up green tea for hormonal imbalance.
Cruciferous vegetables, especially broccoli
Crucifers like cauliflower, kale, turnips, cabbage and brussels sprouts are loaded with a phytochemical called Indole-3-Carbinol. This chemical promotes liver function, which is critical for maintaining hormonal balance. Broccoli helps maintain estrogen balance, and since it is also high in calcium, it can also help with PMS. It also helps with fatty liver disease and increases liver detoxification pathways, which are critical to metabolizing estrogen.
Eat your greens - your mama said, but did we listen? They are ideal for keeping your hormones at desired levels! They are full of antioxidants and help prevent inflammation. They keep the stress hormone cortisol in check and can also help with balancing estrogen. Just like broccoli and other crucifers, they also contain phytoestrogens.
An apple a day keeps your hormones in balance! They are a great source of an antioxidant called quercetin that reduces inflammation in the body. This fruit also helps in fighting high blood pressure, reduces the risk of cancer and works wonderfully for people who are trying to lose weight.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Your gut is the largest endocrine organ that synthesizes and secretes more than 20 hormones. Hence, it plays a great role in keeping your body's functions happy and healthy. Probiotics are basically good bacteria that reside in the gut and having food that is gut friendly can keep it happy and healthy.
Not all carbs are bad or created equal. Adding carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, buckwheat or wild rice to your diet will help you regulate your blood sugar. They are also loaded with nutrients and help in managing the stress hormone named cortisol in your body.
If including all of this in your diet seems like too much of an effort, then you can also look at hormonal balance supplements for women. They come loaded with the goodness of all essential nutrients and minerals that your body requires. In the end, remember that food is a perfect fuel that not only keeps your body going but if you choose it carefully, iit can also help you make your body’s functions better. While eating right is one leg of maintaining hormonal balance, you should also follow a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercising, timely sleeping and stress management. When all of these things come together, you are guaranteed to have a healthy and well-balanced body!