Hormone imbalances are a common problem worldwide, for everyone no matter their gender. If you think some of your hormones might be out of balance then the following tips have been proven as important for both men and women when it comes to creating healthy balanced hormones:
1. Eat Enough Protein – Daily dietary protein is important for keeping muscle, bone and skin healthy but it also plays a role in influencing the release of appetite controlling hormones and food intake. Eating protein with meals has been proven to decrease the hunger hormone ghrelin as well as hormones that help us feel full including PYY and GLP-1. Eat protein at every meal to maximise this benefit.
2. Avoid Sugar & Refined Carbs – Fructose is fast becoming the most common added sugar to processed foods. Some experts believe this to be worse than table sugar because it is chemically made and not natural. Fructose can mess with hormones in many ways including causing insulin resistance (which is where the body cannot respond correctly to energy from food, eventually this response can lead to type 2 diabetes). Refined carbohydrates consumption can also cause insulin resistance so always choose unrefined carbs.
3. Learn To Manage Stress – Two common hormones that are produced in excess when we are stressed include cortisol (a stress hormone produced to help the body deal manage with stress – can be dangerous when produced regularly) and adrenaline (responsible for the fight-or-flight response). Chronic stress releases the above hormones more frequently that the body can cope with which is where the damage comes in as it can trigger things like anxiety, high blood pressure, excessive eating, obesity and inflammation. Stress reducing techniques proven to help include yoga, listening to music, massage, going for a walk and meditation such as the HeadSpace app (their tagline is ‘meditation and sleep made easy’.
4. Consume Healthy Fats – When unhealthy fats, such as trans fats, are consumed it has been shown to promote belly fat and insulin resistance. Whereas consuming a little healthy fats at meal times, such as those found in coconut oil, butter, ghee, avocado oil and olive oil, can help to reduce insulin resistance and keep the hunger hormones balanced, helping people to feel fuller easier and for longer.
5. Avoid Over Eating & Under Eating – Over eating can cause obesity which is triggered by an increase in insulin levels (a hormone) capable of causing insulin resistance in the long-term, whilst under eating causes the body to produce cortisol (another hormone) in response to this stress which can also lead to weight gain. This is why it is important to address the true reasons for under and over eating, especially if it is a response due to your mental health taking strain or if it is because you have a broken relationship with food. Whatever the reason, seeking help especially through talking therapy with somebody impartial can help improve your relationship with food and help re-learn new coping mechanisms to stress that are healthier than starvation or over eating.