Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers and are produced in the endocrine glands. These intelligent chemicals are constantly telling the tissues and organs what to do. They help in controlling appetite, weight, moods and other elements related to our health. In short, they have profound effects on the mental, physical and emotional well-being. However, hormonal imbalances have become very common. A healthy diet comprising of hormone balancing foods and lifestyle tools can help improve hormonal health.
The foods we eat play a big role in hormone balance. Our hormones are made using amino acids from protein and fatty acids from fats. The better-quality materials we use, the better-quality hormones our body creates. Variety is as equally important! Every type of food has a different structure and offers a different group of macronutrients. To keep our systems balanced and optimize hormonal health, we need everything in the right amounts. Too much of one macronutrient can throw off the balance of another and lead to an imbalance in the body.
Here are few ways to balance hormones naturally that include hormone balancing foods, foods for hormonal imbalance correction, exercise and more.
Eat clean protein in every meal: Eating protein regularly helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent insulin spike. Proteins are used as raw material for hormone production. Aim for 15-20 gm protein per meal. Opt for sources such as lean meat such as chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, dairy, pulses and legumes.
Consume a moderate amount of healthy fats: Good fats are building blocks for hormones. These help to reduce insulin resistance. Aim for 2-3 tsp for the entire day consumption and drop trans-fat which is found in packaged and fried foods. Sources of good fats include olive oil, coconut oil, ghee, nuts, seeds, nut & seed butter. Eat omega 3 fats as they help lower inflammation and help in insulin sensitivity. Sources of omega 3 fats include walnuts, flax seeds and fish. Aim to consume nuts and seeds every day and fish thrice a week
Magnesium-rich food – These foods help to balance blood sugar levels and get the hormones back in balance. Some good sources are dark green leafy vegetables, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews.
Exercise – For individuals with hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. Sleep and recovery are much more important during the balancing phase, so focus on relaxing exercises like walking or swimming and avoid high-intensity workout till hormones are balanced.
Caffeine - Limit your caffeine. Too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, especially if there are other hormone stressors involved too like pregnancy, presence of toxins, beneficial fat imbalance or stress.
Sleep - Prioritize sleep. Without adequate sleep, hormones will not be in balance. While you’re sleeping, your body is extremely active removing toxins, recharging the mind, and creating hormones. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every day and avoid late nights.
Sunlight - Get natural light during the day. Spend at least 30 minutes outside each day, if possible. This helps boost serotonin levels which balance melatonin levels at night.
Digestive health- The digestive system has much more of an impact on hormones than we realize. Not only is the digestive tract the source of many vital neurotransmitters in the body, but an imbalance in the gut can translate to an imbalance in neurotransmitter and hormones. Eat gut boosting foods such as foods rich in fibre, whole grains, fruits and veggies, fermented foods such as fermented veggies and homemade curd.
Hormone enriching food - Include selenium-rich foods such as mushrooms, chia seeds and others. Include whole grains and legumes, lean protein and good fats. Make sure you also consume thyroid enhancing food regularly such as cooked cruciferous vegetables, iodine-rich foods such as eggs, strawberry, fish and iodized salt. Tata Salt is India's first national branded iodised salt. Iodine helps prevent iodine deficiency disorders in adults and is necessary for a healthy thyroid gland. Every grain of Tata Salt contains uniform and the right amount of iodine, vital for physical and mental growth and development.
Lastly, say no to plastics when it comes to storing and carrying food. Plastics can contain endocrine disrupting chemicals like BPA. Choose glass and stainless steel instead.
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