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How to Balance Hormones With Diet

By Shelly McRae

Your hormone levels fluctuate throughout your lifetime and at times may cause you to suffer from headaches, achiness, mood swings, fatigue or acne. Such hormonal imbalances may be the result of natural biological cycles, but are no less disruptive to your life or sense of well-being. Fluctuations in hormonal levels may be brought back into balance with diet. Consult with your physician about any symptoms you may be experiencing to ascertain they are due to hormonal imbalance and that dietary changes are needed.

Reduce your intake of saturated fats and sugar. Review your dietary intake and note how much of your diet is made up of fast foods or processed foods high in fats and sugar. Note how much red meat and dairy you ingest as well. Saturated fats in meat and dairy may cause an increase in estrogen, resulting in a hormonal imbalance. Sugar, particularly refined sugar such as that used in baked goods, may increase insulin levels.

Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, including those high in phytoestrogens such as soy. Phytoestrogens are essentially plant hormones that, when ingested by humans, mimic the effects of naturally occurring hormones produced by the body. Include such foods as mustard greens and kale, broccoli, cabbage and turnips in your diet.

Do not skip breakfast or lunch. "Eat at least three meals per day," advises author and medical doctor Christiane Northrup. "When you eat breakfast, your metabolism gets jump-started for the day," Northrup explains. When your metabolism remains balanced throughout the day, your endocrine system is more likely to remain stable, thus avoiding hormonal fluctuations.

Include foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts and legumes. These fatty acids are crucial in the production of eicosanoids, hormones that transmit biological information throughout the body. Deficiencies in fatty acids could result in the production of "bad" eicosanoids, according to a report by medical doctor James L. Holly of Southeast Texas Medical Associates. The influx of these "bad" hormones creates a hormonal imbalance.

Maintain a moderate intake of carbohydrates, as these have an impact on insulin production, advises Dr. Holly in his report. Insulin levels in turn impact eicosanoid levels. A balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fatty acids and a moderate amount of carbohydrates creates hormonal balance within the body.

Include foods high in fiber in your diet. Fiber binds to estrogen, allowing the body to process and eliminate any excess hormone. Foods such as brown rice, oatmeal, beans and whole grains provide fiber, but should be eaten in small portions to avoid carbohydrate overload.

Tips

Get regular checkups with your physician, even if the dietary changes result in alleviation of your symptoms.

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