Hormones are important chemical messengers.
Estrogen, testosterone, cortisol and more are secreted by your endocrine system. If one of your hormones is slightly out of balance, it can cause widespread, major health issues.
The safest way to re-balance your hormones with minimal negative side effects is with food. Your ancestral background makes a difference in what you eat and your hormone balance.
Cortisol: Fight or Flight
Cortisol gets pumping when your body is stressed. It is your fight or flight hormone. Cortisol was built into the human body to address acute stress like running away from a mammoth or an erupting volcano.
The issue with the modern human is that we are exposed to prolonged periods of stress, squeezing more cortisol from our adrenal glands. The cortisol level is highest in the morning and should decrease slowly over the course of the day. Most people are at the highest level throughout the day, which taxes blood pressure, blood sugar and the heart. High cortisol leads to higher fat deposits.
Overdoing consumption of alcohol and caffeine tires your adrenals. Limit your intake and be kind to your body.
Cortisol promotes inflammation in your tissues. Consider using an anti-inflammatory diet. Fresh fish, fruits and vegetables should be staples in your diet. Cheese is a great source of glutamine, calming the affects of high cortisol. Organic soybeans every few days can help reduce cortisol.
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms can make women miserable for half the month. Every month entails building the lining in the uterus and everything in the body is preparing for motherhood. An unfertilized egg causes the body to be "disappointed" and hormone levels drop. Menstruation is the result. The moment of biological disappointment is when PMS occurs. Most women feel out of their element to a degree. Some experience headaches, fatigue, bloating.
If you experience PMS, reduce your salt intake. Salt contributes to bloating. Eat more berries and dark chocolate. If you enjoy cooking, mix some saffron with rice to improve PMS symptoms. Spinach, lentils and chickpeas have shown in many studies to improve symptoms.
Perimenopause & Menopause
Hormone levels shift during perimenopause into menopause. Consuming a small amount of organic soy (beans or milk) will boost your estrogen naturally. Sesame seeds are helpful in raising estrogen. Dried apricots, dates and prunes can also raise estrogen. Be cautious with dried fruits if you are diabetic. Magnesium and St. John’s wort can help. Pomegranate may help with low estrogen levels.
Some women have low progesterone levels, but it looks and feels like high estrogen to the body. Progesterone is a blissful hormone and is at the highest levels during pregnancy. Headaches, hair loss, depression and bloating are symptoms of low progesterone. Yams and sweet potatoes are a great source of progesterone. Brown rice, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and avocados are also good for increasing progesterone.
Stress & Testosterone
Stress can decrease testosterone levels. The first step to address low testosterone is weight loss. Redundant weight can turn testosterone into estrogen, making a greater testosterone deficiency. An anti-inflammatory diet is best for increasing testosterone.
Women can have problems with too much testosterone. Symptoms include polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), excessive hair growth, voice deepening and irregular periods. Walnuts, cinnamon, powdered flaxseed and low glycemic foods will help lower testosterone for these women.
Listen in as Dr. Svetlana Kogan shares her tips for balancing your hormones with food.