Your body is an intricate organism, made up of a variety of systems, cells, and chemicals. Each plays a role in maintaining your health. And a proper hormone balance is key to keeping all these elements working well. What happens when these hormones get out of whack? It can alter your mood, make you feel tired or lethargic and even show on your skin, from acne to accelerated signs of aging.
To maintain good energy, a vital outlook and youthful skin, it’s crucial to make sure your hormones, like cortisol, testosterone and estrogen, are in harmony. And one of the best ways to help boost your hormone health is to eat for your hormones.
The Importance of Hormones
Here’s a quick refresher on hormones and their importance to your body and skin:
Hormones are molecules produced in the body. These molecules act as chemical messengers, sending information through the blood to various organs in the body, directing them how to behave.
Your hormones affects the rate at which your skin ages, and also work to dictate oil production, hair growth, and the presence of acne.2
Hormones are also responsible for many of your body’s functions you rarely give a second thought to. They help regulate growth, metabolism, sexual function, reproduction, mood, tissue function, and the body’s response to stress.3 Incredible, right?
Clearly, hormones play a major role in the skin and the body. And it’s probably not surprising that having too much or too little of a particular hormone can throw you out of balance.
As you age, estrogen levels become lower. This decrease in estrogen has a huge effect on the aging of skin.
Collagen is the protein in your body that keeps skin firm, smooth, and youthful.5 Without an abundance of collagen, your skin can take on a wrinkled and sagging appearance. The good news is — keeping estrogen levels high in the body can help prevent the loss of collagen and can even restore collagen.6
What are some other benefits of keeping your estrogen levels in balance? Well, it can help decrease moodiness and hot flashes, boost mental concentration, and keep your bones in good health.7
To Encourage Estrogen:
- Eat foods that are naturally high in estrogen, like flax seeds, tofu, tempeh, dried apricots, and pistachios.8
- Take supplements that promote hormone balance and the natural production of skin collagen.
Progesterone is a hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle. By the time you reach menopause, your progesterone levels drop dramatically, and you may notice it in your sleep and mood.9
You see, progesterone helps the body maintain a regular sleep cycle, and also helps manage emotions and feelings of stress.10,11 How does this relate to your skin? Well, it turns out that your mood plays a role in your skin health. Feeling stressed is actually correlated with skin aging.12 And so is sleep!
To Promote Progesterone:
It’s important to eat foods high in magnesium and vitamin B6 – which can help alleviate symptoms characteristic of low progesterone.14
- Foods High In Magnesium: almonds, cashews, bananas, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate.
- Foods High in Vitamin B6: chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken, fortified breakfast cereals.15
You probably know that insulin is related to blood sugar. This hormone is produced in the pancreas and its job is to convert glucose – which is sugar – into energy for your cells. Insulin also assists in the breakdown of fat and protein, so your body can use them for energy.16
As you age, you tend to lose glucose tolerance, which can lead to the risk of imbalanced blood sugar levels.17And it turns out that high glucose levels are actually linked with looking older.18
Not only that, high blood sugar can also produce unpleasant symptoms, like thirst, fatigue, weight gain, and acne.19
But weight loss, exercise, and healthy eating can help diminish the chances of developing unhealthy blood sugar levels.20
To Reduce the Risk of High Blood Sugar (and encourage weight loss):
- Stay away from refined carbohydrates and sugars, which flood your bloodstream with glucose.
- Eat foods high in soluble which will slow down digestion. Whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are all great options.21
- Eat plenty of plenty of green vegetables. Not only are they high in fiber – which will slow digestion – they are also digested lower in the intestine. Foods that are digested lower in the intestine stimulate the production of hormones called “incretins.” These incretins may help boost your sugar metabolism.22
Cortisol is a “stress response” hormone. Stress response hormones are what put your body into “fight or flight” mode. When your body perceives a threat, it releases cortisol, giving you a spike in energy and awareness to protect your from danger.23
Cortisol also helps regulate your immune system response to any threat of illness. This helps keep irritation in your body in check.24
In short, cortisol helps keep us safe from any outside threats.
However, during times of constant stress, cortisol can become overactive, which stimulates your body’s immune response and actually causes irritation in your body. And stress and irritation have a huge effect on the skin. You see, when your body is exposed to stress — it affects your DNA, which can accelerate the skin aging process.25
To Curb Cortisol:
- Reduce your sugar and caffeine intake to avoid any energy spikes.
- Eat regularly, with a good balance of protein and healthy fats.
- Try oatmeal, which is known to balance the mood.27
- Eat foods that are high in zinc, like cashews, pumpkin seeds, and oysters. Low levels of zinc are associated with feelings of stress, so keeping zinc levels up may help reduce stress and the risk of heightened cortisol levels.28
Your thyroid hormones are among your body’s most important hormones. They help regulate your metabolism and help support the health of your heart, muscles, brain, bones, and digestive system.29
If your body’s thyroid production gets sluggish, it can result in weight gain, fatigue, a decrease in concentration, and moodiness.
To Support Your Thyroid:
- Eat foods high in selenium: Brazil nuts, halibut, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and couscous are all good sources.31
Balance Hormones Naturally
Hormones help keep your body working properly. Imbalanced hormones can lead to accelerated skin aging, as well as problems with mood, sleep, weight, and stress.
Fortunately, you can help support your hormones by eating foods that specifically work to keep everything in balance and working correctly.
Of course, eating foods that support hormone balance is not a substitute for good medical care. Keep in mind that existing hormone disorders must be treated by a medical professional. So check in with your doctor regularly to ensure that your hormones are in proper working order.
For more skin and beauty tips, keep reading here:
Collagen: How to Boost Collage Production…Naturally
17 Amazing Health and Skin Benefits of the Almighty Avocado
Eat your way to youthful skin? (recipe inside)