Millions of people around the world struggle every day to achieve weight loss goals – an achievement which can sometimes feel almost impossible. One of the reasons why it is so hard to lose weight and keep it off is that those extra pounds aren’t just a matter of eating too much and not exercising enough. Hormones – especially insulin, cortisol, and estrogen – help control whether or not your body burns fats or stores it. Keeping hormones in balance can make it much easier to lose those extra pounds.
That being said, diet does play an important role in balancing the hormones so that they do not cause yo to put on extra weight. Ideally, a hormone-balance diet should be based on a combination of clean proteins, vegetables and fruits and foods containing healthy fats. Fats are especially important because they are the building blocks of hormones: without enough healthy fats in the diet, your body simply does not have enough raw material to produce enough of these hormones to keep them in balance. With the right diet, however, it is possible to help balance hormones naturally.
Below is a list of the best foods to eat if you are trying to keep your hormones balanced in order to lose weight.
Avocadoes work on two levels to help balance the hormones. On one level, they are chock-full of monounsaturated, healthy fats to help the body produce the hormones that It needs to maintain its health. On another level, they also contain a plant sterol which helps the body to lower estrogen levels and this makes it a great choice for women with high estrogen levels – such as those who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Avocadoes can be cut into salads, made into guacamole for Mexican dishes, or even blended into a smoothie.
Especially if you can get organic butter from pastured cows, this can actually be quite good for you, as well as lending a rich taste to many of your meals. Butter is vitamin-rich, giving you a good dose of vitamins A, D, and K and, even more importantly, is a rich source of short ‒ and medium chain fatty acids that also help support optimal hormone production.
While you don’t want tons of butter in your diet, smearing a small amount onto whole wheat toast or English muffins or using it in a lemon-butter sauce for fish is an excellent way to add it to your diet.
3. Cruciferous Vegetables
Members of the crucifer family, which include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage, have become nutritional rock stars – and with good reason. They are loaded with vitamins, mineral, and antioxidants and are also incredibly rich in fiber. This fiber breaks down slowly in the body and helps to regulate blood sugar – and this, in turn, can keep your insulin levels from getting too high and signaling your body to pack on the pounds.
These awesome veggies can be eaten raw in salads, chopped, and sauted as stir-fries or mixed in with whole grain pasta dishes for a healthy, Mediterranean style meal.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds….anything in the nut and seed family is going to provide you with good quality, plant-based protein as well as healthy fats. Walnuts are particularly good for balancing the hormones because they contain omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat which is needed for hormone production. Because these nuts and seeds are also high fiber, they can also control blood sugar levels, which in turn keeps insulin in check.
Nuts and seeds can be added to pilafs and other rice dishes, sprinkled onto a stir-fry or eaten “as is” for an afternoon snack.
Berries are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals for general health and immunity, but they, like the cruciferous veggies, are also rich in fiber. They are also low in sugar and low on the glycemic index which means that they break down slowly in the body and help to keep blood sugar – and insulin – levels steady.
Berries can be added to the morning bowl of oatmeal, blended into a smoothie, or layered with yogurt for a delicious (and healthy) parfait.
6. Fatty Fish
Tuna, mackerel, salmon, or other fatty fish are another excellent choice if the goal is to keep the hormones balanced. This is because, like walnuts, these fish are also rich in the omega three fatty acids that your body needs for proper hormone balance.
This fish can be baked, pan seared, or blackened and are great for dinner entrees as well as chopped and added to a lunchtime salad.
In short, these foods will not only improve your general health, they will help you to balance out your hormones naturally. This will not only help you feel better, but it will generally make it easier for your body to shed those extra pounds and achieve your weight loss goals which will have you both feeling and looking great!