How Your Hormones are Affected by What You Eat
Proper body function relies on the right hormonal health. Certain lifestyle and genetic factors can alter your hormonal levels and throw them out of balance. For both men and women, a hormonal imbalance can cause unpleasant symptoms and negatively affect overall health. Did you know that keeping your hormones at an optimal level can be as simple as making positive lifestyle and diet choices? Research has shown that your diet and lifestyle can influence your hormonal levels, either for the best, or worst.
Diet and Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen is a hormone that plays important roles in both female and male sexual function and health. Although estrogen is essential, having too much of it can cause a variety of concerns. Estrogen dominance can cause certain types of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and polycystic ovary syndrome.
Believe it or not, your lifestyle and diet can often affect your estrogen levels more than you might think. Phytoestrogens are compounds that naturally occur in plants and plant-foods. As the popularity of plant-based diets increase, the consumption of phytoestrogen-rich legumes, especially soy, and legume-derived foods has also risen. Some research has shown that a healthy amount of phytoestrogens could serve as a type of natural hormone replacement therapy. However, there is such thing as too much of a good thing. Too many phytoestrogens can cause changes in hormonal cycles, an increased risk for cancer, and uterine fibroids.
Studies from the National Institutes of Health have found that diets high in red meat, processed foods, sweets, dairy, and refined grains are associated with higher estrogen levels. Additionally, the consumption of these foods is often also associated with obesity. Similar studies have also shown that diets which focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods, especially vegetables and fruits, can help encourage ideal levels of estrogen.
Promote Healthy Estrogen Levels
Although certain genetic factors can impact your estrogen levels, you can try following a few tips to keep your hormones regulated.
- Limit the consumption of some animal products like red and processed meats.
- Engage in regular exercise.
- Keep a healthy body weight and lose excess body fat.
- Follow a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains. Moderate amounts of dairy, poultry, seafood, and eggs are also central to a healthy hormonal system.
- Limit the consumption of alcohol.
- Limit refined carbohydrates and processed foods.
- Increase your dietary fiber intake.
Diet and Low Testosterone
Testosterone is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced in the Leydig cells of the testicles in men, and in the ovaries and adrenal glands in women. The brain and pituitary gland supervise and control testosterone levels. Once produced, the hormone moves through the blood to carry out its various important functions. Like estrogen, your diet can also affect your levels of testosterone. Consuming too much of certain foods can make it difficult for the body to efficiently utilize these hormones in their intended way.
If you are concerned with your testosterone levels, you may want to avoid or limit the following:
- Dairy – Cow’s milk may contain synthetic or natural hormones, which might affect testosterone levels. Studies have also shown that animal feed may contain soy, which is another food that could decrease testosterone.
- Processed foods – Certain breads, desserts and refined carbohydrates can have a negative hormonal impact.
- Licorice root – Some herbs such as licorice root have been shown to reduce testosterone levels in healthy adults, especially women.
- Some fats – Eating too many omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to the reduction of testicular size and function. Alternatively, consuming polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids may increase testicle size and improve function. Additionally, eating trans fats may lower testosterone levels.
- Soy – Foods high in soy are physically like estrogen, and function in a similar way. Thus, soy foods such as tofu, soy protein isolates, and edamame should be avoided.
- Alcohol – Regular alcohol use can cause a decrease of testosterone in males.
More than 20 million men in the United States alone suffer from some form of low testosterone, and such a condition can severely diminish one’s quality of life. Eating a diet rich in fresh, whole foods can help boost testosterone naturally. Additionally, it is important to stay active, avoid overeating, and get quality sleep.
Most of the time, the health of your hormones depends on you and the everyday choices you make, like your diet. Sometimes though, certain hereditary issues can cause a hormonal imbalance. If this is the case, it is best to talk to a health care professional.
Want More Information?
At CHC Medical Weight Loss and Spa, we provide affordable, effective, and safe hormone therapy and treatment options. The process is easy! Our medical providers start by conducting lab work during a patient’s initial visit. The lab work audits several items, including testosterone and estrogen levels. Our team of experts at CHC Medical Weight Loss and Spa will make recommendations on treatment and perform repeat bloodwork at their discretion; however, it is typically done every 12-16 weeks to ensure levels are improving.
Contact us today at 813-915-8666 to take control of your health and discuss your best lifestyle plan.