Hormonal imbalance can occur as young as age 30 and may be a result of not only aging, but also lifestyle choices, such as a poor diet and lack of exercise. The standard American diet is a top contributor to early hormone imbalance. Rich in processed foods, fast food, starchy carbohydrates, and sugar, the standard American diet leads to symptoms of hormone imbalance, such as moodiness, weight gain, fatigue, sleeplessness, wrinkles, and increased disease risk. You have the power to turn back the clock and regain control of your health and your hormones with balanced nutrition, routine physical activity, and quality sleep.
If you have the symptoms of hormone imbalance, it may be time to change your diet. A poor diet contributes to aging and hormone imbalance by raising insulin levels, increasing cortisol secretion, and contributing to increased stores of estrogen in fat cells. Each of these factors can play a pivotal role in destroying not only your youth and vitality, but your good health as well:
When you consume high amounts low-nutrient carbohydrates, such as processed foods, sugary beverages, drive-thru meal deals, and artificial sweeteners your body has to work hard to produce extra insulin in an attempt to keep blood sugar levels balanced. Over time, excess secretion of insulin leads to insulin resistance, meaning your body begins to struggle to regulate blood sugar levels, potentially leading to slow metabolism, weight gain, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. Pair a poor diet with inactivity, stress, excess consumption of alcohol, high blood pressure, or a family history of diabetes, and risk of disease and advanced aging multiplies.
One in four North Americans suffers from insulin resistance—you need to make a change for the sake of your health and quality of life. Consuming a nutrient-dense diet, rich in fresh, whole foods, including lean proteins, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables will not only minimize your risk of disease, but will improve overall outcomes, including contributing to hormone balance and healthy weight management.
Cortisol, when properly managed, is crucial for the regulation of multiple functions of the body, including your sleep/wake cycle, blood sugar levels, appetite, mood, and energy. Excess levels, however, can impair the function of the body down-regulating key hormones, such as testosterone and progesterone and increasing fat stores and stealing your energy. Cortisol levels often drift too high when individuals consume too much sugar and starchy carbohydrates, skip sleep, and endure high amounts of stress.
Physical activity and quality sleep are known combatants of high cortisol levels, along with relaxation techniques and a balanced diet. If you want to keep control of your mood and energy, strive to maintain balance in your daily life.
It is common knowledge that a poor diet leads to weight gain. And, while excess weight may not seem like a threat, even small amounts can raise disease risk in men and women. Increased fat stores, particularly around the belly, raises levels of circulating estrogen, which can contribute to prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. Excess estrogen puts your health at risk as well as your quality of life, as it is linked to low libido, a sluggish metabolism, memory loss, depleted muscle mass, and depression.
You can combat high levels of estrogen by a) maintaining a healthy body weight and b) adding these foods to your nutritious diet: turmeric, green tea, ground flax seeds, and chia seeds. Each of these foods has been shown to combat estrogenic effects and help regulate hormone balance.
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