By Maiysha Clairborne, MD
The body is a symphony, constantly regulating itself with hormones such as cortisol, thyroid, testosterone, estrogen and progesterone, to name a few. They work together like an orchestra, and when one instrument is off, the entire system can become a chaotic mess. Some signs of hormone imbalance include low sex drive, irritability, depression, mood swings, weight gain, fatigue and infertility.
Often overlooked is the impact that our diet has on the health of our hormones. Eating hormone healthy foods is essential to restoring balance and maintaining healthy hormone production in our bodies. Here are five categories of food to begin to incorporate into your daily diet to promote hormone health.
- Foods high in protein. Protein is important for the production of testosterone and growth hormone. Enjoy lean organic meats such as turkey and salmon, and include nuts like almonds and walnuts as well.
- Cruciferous vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli are essential for maintaining proper estrogen balance. They work by flushing the body of excess estrogen, which can be harmful to the system.
- Foods rich in iodine. Potatoes, strawberries, cranberries, navy beans and even kelp are rich in iodine and are responsible for supporting the thyroid. Thyroid is one of the master metabolic glands in the body that, when imbalanced, affects many other hormones.
- Stress-reducing foods. Foods like dark chocolate, turkey, bananas, citrus fruits, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, spinach and salmon are also important because they help to preserve and support the primary stress glands, the adrenal glands.
- Healthy fats. Fats are essential to the production cycle of hormones. It’s important to choose healthy fats that are high in omega-3 and in leptin, such as coconut oil. Foods high in omega-3 include flax seeds and salmon, and in moderation, you can enjoy organic dairy and cage-free eggs.