Hormones are chemical messengers that can be tricky to know when their balance is offset in the body. We may be left confused by the sudden changes that we see in our bodies due to hormonal imbalance in the body. Some of these include mood swings, weight gain, acne, fatigue, depression, insomnia, hair fall, digestion issues etc.
By simple evaluations, these symptoms tend to be attributed to other illness and not hormonal imbalance as they seem minor and unrelated in the grand scheme of things. In the world we live in today, it is quite easy to have your hormones thrown off by stress, poor diet, caffeine, air pollutants, medication, ageing, dangerous environmental chemicals, etc.
So what are hormones exactly? Hormones are chemical substances secreted in the bloodstream that act as regulators or messengers that affect the activity of different parts of the body. There are different types of hormones that regulate human activity and behavior such as metabolism, reproduction, energy, muscles, appetite, blood pressure, sleep, growth and development etc.
Hormones are present in all humans irrespective of age, gender or race. Though there are differences depending on some factors such as gender, race etc. i.e men and women have different compositions of the ideal balance of hormones in their body but they are both prone to hormonal imbalance in the course of their lives.
Hormonal imbalance occurs when levels of a certain hormone are significantly increased or decreased in proportion to other hormones in the body.
How do we balance our hormones? The good news is that hormonal imbalance is relatively easy to correct by improving your diet and sometimes lifestyle changes. Today, we will be discussing on the foods, herbs and supplements that help the body regain its balance. Let us begin:
Foods for hormonal balance
In Nigeria, some people are very happy that this has been mentioned. Yes you should make more egusi soup and enjoy! Don’t hold back though also while cooking, do not cook it for too long. Preferably, add it together with the vegetables just before you close the pot to simmer for some 10 minutes. Enjoy. Or better yet, roast them and enjoy them as a snacks.
Bananas though not often mentioned are very effective as someone close to me has a positive experience with them in gaining back their hormonal balance. They are known for being rich in potassium and vitamin k among other vitamins and minerals. Perhaps its only negative is that it contains high sugar which makes it not ideal for diabetes patients and the like.
To use bananas for hormone balance, you need to eat more than an occasional banana as a snack. Make that at-least 2-4 bananas across the day daily and repeat that for about 2 weeks. You might be surprised by the results!
Pineapples known for their bright colour and a sweet and sharp taste will be useful for they help in the general health and balance of hormones. Hotzehwc wrote about pineapples for hormones because they increase the production of hormones including testosterone. They also regulate melatonin and serotonin (the happy hormones) levels in the brain.
Green – leafy vegetables are rich in antioxidants which combat free radical damage (damage from air pollutants, deodorants, environmental chemicals etc.), promote healthy cells function and balanced hormones. Free radical damage wrecks our thyroid and pituitary hormones amongst others.
Green vegetables are known for their rich vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibers that aid cell function, hormone production and balance, liver health and keep the body health in many ways. The recommended vegetables include:
- Water cress
Feel free to add other vegetables especially the ones for soups such as baobab leaves, jute leaves, water leaf, potato leaves etc. These veggies need to be cooked before eating so you need to remember not to over-cook them else they will lose all the goodies that aid your hormonal balance.
Fenugreek is an old but great medicine that has been around for hundreds of years. In this case, there are numerous studies that show their effectiveness for both men and women hormones. It contains a plant compound called a phytoestrogen which has an oestrogenic effect on our hormones. It also helps both men and women in their reproductive health and general well being.
How to use:
- Take Fenugreek seed capsules twice a day or if you can only find the seeds (which are sold in supermarkets and spice shops). Grind the seeds in a blender or grinder. then take a teaspoon twice a day. preferably after meals.
- If you can do it, take a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds and chew/swallow twice a day for atleast two weeks or one month if you can.
If you were to ask me the two foods I will chose from this list though it will be a hard choice, I will pick the banana and the fenugreek because I have seen them help people balance their hormones time and time again.
Garlic helps with hormonal imbalance by reducing the inflammation that is likely to occur as a result of the imbalance in the body. Hence, preventing the hormones from over compensating for changes in the body.
The liver is the most important organ in the body when it comes to hormones as it filters blood which contains all our hormones that are secreted by the endocrine gland. This shows there is a great need to keep it clean to enable it in cleaning and regulating the hormones in the body.
A mineral called selenium in garlic is responsible for aiding in the function and cleaning of the liver so that it can properly filter the blood and remove hormones that are not needed or exhausted.
How to use:
- It is best take it raw in foods, salads or as capsules. Chop about 1-2 pcs (not the entire bulbs) of medium sized garlic (not the large ones) according to how much you can swallow or eat at once. Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes before eating or swallowing to allow the enzymes and minerals to be activated. Else you might not get the best out of it.
- It best swallowed as a capsule and not eaten with meals or immediately after meals. Just wait for about an hour after meals before taking the garlic.
Cinnamon while not acting directly on hormonal balance, they help with maintaining a good sugar balance in the body. High blood sugar levels in the body can disrupt hormonal balance by itself and is also a sign of hormonal balance. This is why can it can be helpful in your process of regaining a healthy hormonal balance.
How to use:
- Simply use it in your tea, cooking and baking. you can also just take a teaspoon of the powder twice a day but not for too long. 3-4 days is enough
- Fatty fish (sardine, mackerel)
Sardines and mackerel fish have healthy omega-3 fatty acids but remember they need to be eaten fresh not canned. Fresh or canned tuna is not counted as an oily fish either. Omega-3 fatty acids are very effective in managing the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Many hormones are derived from healthy fat compounds so remember to make coconut oil, olive oil and avocado oil your companions during this balancing period.
Without healthy fats (omeg-3), the body finds it hard to produce adequate and quality hormones in the body. If not available, the body depends on lower – quality fats to use for hormone production which as you can guess can cause health issues such as inflammation.
Avocado is also another good source of healthy fats. It contains about 28.8% fats and also other fats like mono-saturated fats. They are also packed with good vitamins that are vital for maintaining hormone health including vitamin A, Folic acid, and soluble fiber
In the past few years, avocado has become a favorite among vegetables hence it is easy to find good recipes for it.
other healthy fat sources readily available in Nigeria include groundnuts, coconut, pumpkin seeds, soyabeans etc.
Egg yolks especially have many vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B6, B2, D,E, iron, calcium, potassium etc. All these wonderful compounds are needed for healthy hormone levels and a healthy body. Choline and iodine in egg yolks are particularly important for the thyroid hormones.
Herbs for hormonal imbalance
Dwarf morning glory
Scientific name: Evolvulus alsiniodes
Local hausa name: Kaafi maallam
This plant is very known around the world especially in places where they practice traditional or natural medicine such as china, Andia, west Africa etc. Some caution should be taken when taking this herbs because some say, large doses of this herb can cause drowsiness and decreased mobility but with no significant toxic effect.
How to use:
Boil the a bunch of the whole herb with enough water for about 5-10 minutes and take the water extract twice a day. Morning and evening.
Where to find it:
You can find it in the local traditional medicine market in Nigeria.
Evening Prim rose oil
This very precious oil is widely used by women around the world to improve women specific health issues such as menopause, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) etc. Most commonly found in America, it has been used for centuries in the past by red Indians in present old America. Primrose oil plays a significant role in balancing women hormone but am not sure about male hormones. I will update you when I have done more research.
Considering that hormonal balance doesn’t go whack overnight, it can take days or even weeks with the right diet and lifestyle before the person feels like their normal selves again.
I believe this list is applicable and easy to find in Nigeria as we grow all of these foods in the country. They are also safe delicious and easy to prepare. I strongly suggest that you find really nice recipes on the web that will allow you to enjoy these foods in their most natural form (Raw) without over heating them (Remember that guys)
Most of the mentioned foods are usually encouraged to be included in our daily diet for a healthy mind and body. The people that are most prone to hormonal imbalance are those with poor diets and lifestyle which can come with numerous other health problems. This shows that we are really what we eat and should exercise some self-restraint by stay away from manufactured and processed “foods” as much as possible as they do more harm than good.
The last but not the least, avoid coffee, soy products (soy milk, tofu), some vegetables (tomatoes, white potatoes, peppers, cauliflower,broccoli), sugar, alcohol, carbohydrates while you are trying to balance these hormones. Even after that, take them in a control and measure manner. In case there are some mentioned foods that you are looking for their local names, kindly check out the list of Nigerian foods and their local names here.
Don’t forget to speak to a doctor if your symptoms persist even after these dietry improvements. There might be an underlying problem.
Let me know if the mentioned above list helped you in feeling better. Don’t for get to eat these foods as directed in the post because that is how they work best. Please let us know in the comments below if there are other foods or supplements that have helped you before in balancing your hormones so that we can also learn from you too.
I hope you have learned something here with me today and subscribe for more content on managing your health using the most natural options.
Thank you for your time and bye for now!