It is common for both men and women to experience hormone imbalances. However, females tend to experience more based on developmental changes during their lifecycle (pregnancy, puberty, menstruation, menopause, etc.). Hormones are chemicals that are produced by glands in the endocrine system. Hormones travel through the bloodstream to the tissues and organs, delivering messages that tell the organs what to do and when to do it.
Several hormones including insulin, serotonin, oxytocin, and adrenaline all play vital roles that help to regulate appetite, metabolism, mood, sleep, and more!
Hormonal imbalances can be caused by several medical conditions. The most common include:
Type 2 Diabetes
Allergic Reactions and certain infections
Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism
Low Energy Availability (inadequate intake of nutrients)
Certain lifestyles and nutritional factors can also cause hormonal imbalances:
Limited or no physical activity
Use of anabolic steroids
Poor nutrition (this can be over or under eating)
Fasting! (fasting for long periods of time can lead to an increase in Cortisol levels)
Supplements and herbal remedies have been utilized for years to try to treat hormonal imbalances, but there is no single supplement that has been proven to treat imbalances.
Here are a few lifestyle and diet recommendations that you can put into play to help prevent or correct hormonal imbalances
1. Consume adequate protein! Balance of both animal-based and plant-based proteins.
2. Ensure you are getting a good balance of micronutrients – fruits and veggies!
3. Manage your stress – working out can be a great way to manage stress, as well as trying mindfulness skills.
4. Aiming for at least 8 hours of sleep a night!
5. Get most of your fats from heart-healthy fat sources, such as avocados, salmon, olive oil, etc.
6. Add probiotic-rich foods into your diet! Yogurts, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, etc.
7. Prioritize fiber! Consuming a balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber helps maintain your gut integrity and keeps you regular.
8. Remain active! Set goals for workouts during the week or take a walk during lunch.
Like most of our advice on Nutrition, balance is key. Getting a whole wide range of nutrients and energy from whole food sources is the secret to maintaining a good balance in terms of hormones. For more advice, please visit www.homebase.org/connect2care or call our clinic at 617-724-5202.
About the Author: Emilie Burgess, MS, RDN, LDN s a Registered Dietitian within Home Base’s Warrior Health and Fitness Program and Intensive Clinical Program. Emilie brings her love for performance nutrition, wellness, and cooking to Home Base to help each person find a healthy relationship with food. She has volunteered for two NCAA Division-I Sports Nutrition programs around the country and is currently a Registered Dietitian specializing in sports nutrition and eating disorders at Laura Moretti Nutrition, a private practice in Somerville, MA. She believes in an individualized approach to nutrition counseling and wellness to help each person achieve their goals. Emilie is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics as well as the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA).