We may know the importance of a healthy diet for maintaining a healthy weight, clear skin, and shiny hair. But how many of us turn to food to keep our hormones in check?
Hormones are chemical messengers that play many important roles in the body. Your metabolism, fertility, stress, energy levels, and basically all other functions are regulated by hormones. So, it makes sense that too little or too much of a given hormone can lead to health problems.
If you think that you’re experiencing a hormonal imbalance, then there are many natural ways to support your hormone health. One (delicious) option is through eating superfoods, which have plant compounds that can regulate hormone levels.
In this guide from Sunwink, we’ll go over everything you need to support a healthy hormonal balance. Keep reading to find out what hormones are, how to know if you have a hormonal imbalance, and which five superfoods can help you to feel a better sense of wellness.
What Are Hormones?
Hormones are chemicals that travel through the bloodstream. They deliver messages to bodily tissues that essentially tell them what to do, when, and how. There are over 60 different hormone types in the body.
Most major bodily processes are regulated by hormones. These include:
- Growth and development
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
Because of how much hormones regulate, their imbalance can have various effects. Anything from excessive weight gain to fertility problems to skin breakouts is sometimes traced back to hormones.
But why does this happen? Well, while there are many potential causes, our society has unhealthy lifestyles to blame. An unhealthy diet, high levels of stress, sleep deprivation, and environmental pollution have all been linked to hormonal imbalances.
How do you know if you have a hormonal imbalance? A sure way to tell is with a blood test from your doctor. But you can also pay attention to the signs and symptoms of a hormonal imbalance. Keep reading to find out the potential signs that you may be experiencing an imbalance.
What Are the Signs of a Hormonal Imbalance?
The signs of a hormonal imbalance really depend on which hormone is, well, not in balance. Because there are so many different hormones, there are potentially hundreds of symptoms.
In addition, a hormonal imbalance may look different between men and women.
In women, a hormonal imbalance may be caused by imbalances in sex hormones estrogen or progesterone. This can manifest as an irregular menstrual cycle, mood swings, or infertility.
In men, an imbalance in testosterone is more likely. This can look like a decreased sex drive, loss of muscle mass, or thinning hair.
A hormonal imbalance can be mild with symptoms that are easily corrected. However, some hormonal imbalances can lead to serious health problems. Some common conditions caused by a hormonal imbalance include:
- Acne: This is an extremely complex skin condition with many potential causes. However, hormones sometimes play at least a small role in it. Studies show that people with acne may have an excess of androgens, which are hormones that stimulate excess oil production on the skin.
- Diabetes: This is a condition that happens when there’s too little insulin. This is a hormone that helps to get sugar to the body’s cells. However, when there’s not enough insulin, sugar can circulate in the blood and harm the body.
- Obesity: This condition develops when the body doesn’t use energy from your food in the right way. It can be caused by an imbalance in various hormones. For instance, low levels of thyroid hormones can slow down the body’s metabolic rate, which makes calories more likely to get stored as fat.
There are many more potential signs of a hormonal imbalance. If you feel like something is “off,” you should see your doctor to get tested for a hormonal imbalance.
If your doctor tells you that you have a hormonal imbalance, it’s important to follow their treatment advice. That said, you can use certain superfoods to support your healing journey.
While there are potentially hundreds of foods with hormone-balancing effects, some continue to be popular for those with hormonal problems. Read on to the next section to discover five popular superfoods to help support hormone health.
5 Superfoods To Balance Hormones
In our modern society, we’re no strangers to stress. While stress can be beneficial in small amounts, too much of it can wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to an excess of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Over time, this can lead to a host of health problems, like extreme fatigue, elevated blood sugar, and impaired brain function.
Ashwagandha is one way to help hormone health. It belongs to a class of plants known as adaptogens, which essentially “adapt” to the body’s hormone levels. If needed, they either increase or decrease their amounts. Studies show that ashwagandha is potentially effective for supporting healthy stress hormone levels.
2. Camu Camu
We all know the importance of vitamin C for your immune system, but a lesser-known fact is that it is crucial for adrenal health, too. If you have an imbalance in adrenal hormones, then camu camu — a potent source of vitamin C — can help to maintain your hormone health.
You may have an imbalance in adrenal hormones if you feel constantly tired, have salt or sugar cravings, get dizzy when you stand up, or have black circles under the eyes.
Studies show that just one teaspoon of camu camu berry has eight times the antioxidant content of a whole orange. To support healthy adrenals, you can add it to your smoothie or yogurt or take it with a glass of water.
The root of the maca plant (which is technically a radish) has long been traditionally used in Peru for many different purposes, like supporting energy, mood, and sexual desire.
As an adaptogen, it’s believed that maca supports the body’s healthy hormonal levels — especially sex hormones. In women, maca is believed to potentially maintain hormone wellness.
Studies show that maca may potentially alleviate symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, vagina dryness, and mood swings. In women with a menstrual cycle, studies show how maca has helped to alleviate symptoms of PMS.
Flax seeds contain plenty of fiber, which is crucial for balancing blood sugar levels. In addition, flax seeds contain lignans — compounds that can potentially support healthy estrogen levels.
Flax seeds are believed by some to be ideal for addressing hormonal issues like acne, hair loss, and ovarian cysts.
Due to its high fiber content and ability to support healthy levels of estrogen, some people believe that flaxseed is one of the best superfoods to help maintain overall wellness.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
We all know the importance of eating our veggies, but some are superior for balancing hormones. Vegetables in the Brassicas family are generally recommended for those with hormonal issues. These include vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, collard greens, and turnips — enough choices to satisfy almost anyone’s taste.
The vegetables in the Brassica family are especially powerful thanks to their glucosinolate content, which gives them that slightly bitter taste. When these vegetables are broken down — whether it’s by chopping, chewing, or blending — the glucosinolate gets converted into indole-3-carbinol, a type of enzyme that supports liver function.
The liver plays an important part in clearing hormones from the body. When the liver isn’t functioning correctly, hormones don’t get cleared out. Instead, they recirculate throughout the body, which contributes to a hormonal imbalance. As such, supporting liver function is one of the best ways to balance hormones.
If you think that you have a hormonal imbalance, the world of superfoods may help you to find a way to help support your wellness. Discover Sunwink’s selection of superfood tonics and powders to support your wellness.
Hormone-Balancing Effect of Pre-Gelatinized Organic Maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon): (III) Clinical responses of early-postmenopausal women to Maca in double blind, randomized, Placebo-controlled, crossover configuration, outpatient study | NCBI