So many factors affect hormonal health. Sleep, exercise, mental health, your stress level, environmental change, medications—the list goes on and on. Many of those factors are out of your control, too. The good news is that food is on that list, but it’s something that you can control and learn how to balance hormones.
While food might not be the largest factor in hormonal health, it does play a critical role. You will not be surprised to learn that high-quality, wholesome foods are what your body needs for hormonal health and well-being. In this post, I’ll walk you through what you need to know to balance your hormones through your diet.
The Keys to a Hormone-Balancing Diet
Nutrition plays an integral role in physical, mental, and emotional health. It also affects hormone production and balance in the body. There are four keys to creating and then following a hormone-balancing diet.
- Get Enough Protein
- Avoid Refined Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
- Seek Out Healthy Fat Sources
- Avoid Overeating and Undereating
Get Enough Protein
First, make sure you get enough protein. What’s the recommended protein intake, though? Ideally, you’ll get 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal. That’s enough to decrease the production of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, and increase the production of PYY and GLP-1, both of which are hormones responsible for making you feel full.
Avoid Refined Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Natural sugars are important—they’re the body’s preferred energy source. However, today’s world is chock-full of fast-fix, ultra-refined sugars and carbs. You don’t even need to snack on candy to find yourself stuffed with refined sugar. White bread, chips, corn-products—they’re all loaded down with simple sugars that do your body no good.
A high intake of refined sugar can cause many different problems, including increasing your insulin levels, increasing insulin resistance, and even contributing to conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome. Cutting out those refined sugars can balance your insulin levels, decrease insulin resistance, and help you lose weight and feel better.
Seek Out Healthy Fat Sources
You’ve probably heard most of your life that fat is the enemy, but the truth is that it’s necessary for overall health and well-being. However, you can’t eat just any fat and benefit from it. Seek out healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, cheeses, whole eggs, and fatty fish.
These are great sources of MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, which are linked to increased production of hormones like PYY, CCK, and GLP-1, all of which are related to helping you feel full and satisfied. They’re also all heart-healthy foods that can offer cardiovascular benefits.
Avoid Overeating and Undereating
Learn how to stop stress eating. Both overeating and undereating can cause serious issues with your health, including disrupting hormone production and skewing hormone levels. For instance, undereating can increase cortisol levels in your body, which is related to weight gain and inflammation. On the other hand, overeating is linked to increased production of insulin.
Tips and Tricks for Success
Of course, balancing hormones with your diet is often easier said than done. Thankfully, it’s not impossible, and a few crucial tips can make a difference in your life.
Mindfulness is important in all areas of life, including eating. What does it mean to eat mindfully, though? It’s pretty simple, although you will need to implement it into your life intentionally, as it doesn’t come naturally to many people. Here are a few quick tips to get you started:
- Don’t multitask. Avoid eating and watching TV or doing other activities.
- Start with smaller portions than you might be used to eating. Portion control is one thing that many people struggle with, but it’s critical for mindful eating.
- Take smaller bites while eating. When you take smaller bites, you’re less inclined to wolf your food down, and it becomes easier to take your time.
- Chew each bite thoroughly, shooting for about 30 times per bite. This ensures that the food is thoroughly chewed, but it also releases hormones in the body that are linked to satiety.
- While eating, think about the food you’re consuming, where it came from, and all the things that went into making the meal possible.
Take Fish Oil Supplements
Not into fish but want the benefits of these healthy fats anyway? There’s good news. You can take a fish oil supplement and enjoy all the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids. What are those benefits? They include:
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved mood
- Help fighting weight gain and burning fat
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved mental development in infants and children
- Help treating rheumatoid arthritis
The whole point of this article is learning how to use nutrition to balance hormones, right? Well, we’re all pressed for time, so that makes eating right pretty challenging. You must make every meal count, and that’s simpler when you snack smart.
Oats Overnight oats can be a great way to start your day or to add a protein- and fat-rich snack to any portion of the day (good news for those who work from home). Because they’re premade, all you need to do is open and eat—no prepping the night before, no worries about having all the ingredients, and no fuss.
Of course, you’re welcome to make your own overnight oats. They’re really not all that complicated, and when you do it yourself, you have complete control over what goes in, so you can tailor them to your tastes.
How to Balance Hormones for a Brand New You
Will the ability to balance hormones with your diet create a brand new you? Not by itself, but you can combine this with other things, like exercise, getting the right amount and quality of sleep, eating better overall, and perhaps meditation. With the right wellness practices in your routine, you’ll find that it is more than possible to create a brand new you!