Your hormone levels can have a major impact on your body and the way that you feel. In fact, they control just about everything, from your appetite to your libido and, of course, the number you see when you step on the scale.
And despite the major role hormones play in our overall health, it’s also fairly easy to throw them completely out of whack. Stress, sleep deprivation, and caffeine consumption can all wreak havoc on your hormone levels and result in symptoms like mood swings, weight gain, and fatigue. Additionally, your hormone levels tend to fluctuate as you get older, and your hormone needs can vary based on your age group.
Fortunately, incorporating a few hormone-friendly foods into your diet is one of the easiest ways to balance your hormones. They can help boost your energy levels, alleviate stress, and lower your risk of disease. Here’s a look at the best hormone-friendly foods for people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s.
In your 20s
This spice is associated with plenty of potent hormone-balancing properties. Studies show that cinnamon can keep insulin levels under control and may also help:
Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone released by the adrenal glands during times of stress. But while the occasional square or two of dark chocolate may be okay while cramming for a final exam or after a long day at work, remember to enjoy this sweet treat in moderation.
The heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids in salmon could help promote insulin sensitivity, leading to less insulin production and a decrease in androgen synthesis. Androgens are a type of hormone that stimulate sebum production in the skin and elevated levels may be linked to acne.
Not only is green tea chockfull of health benefits, but it may also help raise levels of epinephrine, a hormone that can help provide extra energy during times of intense stress — perfect for 20-somethings trying to navigate grad school or new careers.
In your 30s
- promote bone health
- reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer
- stabilize blood sugar levels
- improve immunity
This leafy green vegetable is loaded with micronutrients and health-promoting properties. Studies have also found that increasing your intake of vegetables like kale could help improve insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes.
These nutrient-rich nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, a mineral that plays an essential role in the production of thyroid hormones. Alterations in thyroid function can lead to several adverse side effects such as fatigue, weakness, and weight gain.
In your 40s
This fermented soy product is high in phytoestrogens, a plant compound that imitates the effects of estrogen in the body. Because estrogen levels begin to decline with age, eating foods like tempeh could help balance hormone levels as you get older.
This dairy product is high in calcium, an important mineral when it comes to bone health. It may help by regulating levels of parathyroid hormone, a hormone that controls the amount of calcium in your bones and blood.
As you get older, your metabolism can start to slow down and the extra pounds can begin to stack up quickly. If you find that your hunger levels are out of control, your hormones may be to blame. Ghrelin, also known as the hunger hormone, is responsible for stimulating hunger. Quinoa, meanwhile, is high in both fiber and protein, two important nutrients that have been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin and decrease hunger.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He recently authored Eat Dirt and Essential Oils: Ancient Medicine, and he operates one of the world's largest natural health websites. Before launching DrAxe.com, a site visited by more than 10 million people every month looking for healthy recipes, herbal remedies, nutrition and fitness advice, and information on essential oils and natural supplements, Dr. Axe founded one of the largest functional medicine clinics in the world, in Nashville, Tennessee, and served as a physician for many professional athletes.