What do Hormones do?
The body works like a well-oiled machine using different biological processes to keep itself healthy and fit. It is our hormones that work as messengers and ensure that the bodily functions are carried out properly. But what are these hormones? Hormones are chemicals that course through our systems and provide organs with instructions to work efficiently. From controlling various biological functions like hair growth, hunger, weight management, libido to managing our blood pressure and our heart rate, the hormones are one of the essential chemicals in a human body.
Types of Hormones
They are of many types- sex hormones, thyroid hormones, those that control sugar like insulin, those that manage our responses to danger like adrenaline, and those that make us feel happy or sad like dopamine. Each of them has a different function and how a particular hormone works depends a lot on what we eat.
Ill-effects of Lifestyle and Bad foods for Hormones
A wrong lifestyle and dietary patterns can cause havoc to the hormonal balance in the body. The after-effects of this are uncontrolled weight gain, unexplained fatigue, headaches, hair loss, digestive problems, and even insomnia. Read on to find out more about the bad foods for hormones:
Here is another reason to ditch your cup of coffee. It is for the same reason we should do that for which we consume it- because it snaps us out of our lethargy. Caffeine increases cortisol production in the body. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is in the highest quantities in the mornings and is lowest in the evenings. Caffeine boosts the cortisol levels whenever it is consumed, and that brings the body into a state of high alert. Having too many energy drinks (they are also high in caffeine) or too many cups of coffee can mess with your hormones.
- Sugary Treats
This is perhaps one of the worst foods that mess with hormones. Sugar in the body leads to a spike in insulin levels in the body. Insulin is responsible for metabolizing the sugar consumed. Overeating sugary treats over a period lead to suppression of leptin and ghrelin sensitivity. Both these hormones signal satiety and control appetite. So every time you go for that bag of candy or that bar of chocolate, you are heading towards Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Also Read: 10 Harmful Effects of Sugar
- Processed and Refined Foods
Gluten and sugar are the worst combinations for anyone. They both increase inflammation and stress the adrenal glands and increase susceptibility towards autoimmune diseases. Cookies, crackers, bread are all wrong for your health. They increase the weight, which in itself triggers a severe hormonal imbalance, and reduce testosterone levels. Processed food items also mess with the hormones. Sausages, ready to eat meals, instant food options are full of sodium and preservatives which cause an electrolyte imbalance in the body causing havoc on the hormonal health.
- Dairy Items
Many people cannot digest dairy items easily. Milk is the worst offender amongst daily food items that mess with the hormones. It can cause inflammation in the gut and irritate the system. Many people who are lactose intolerant begin to suffer from stomach and digestive problems when they consume dairy products. Drinking too much milk can raise the triglycerides levels and even cause diabetes. Milk also has a growth hormone which negatively affects the liver. It even leads to increased sebum production and increases acne in those prone to skin problems.
- Soy Products
Soy milk, tofu and other forms of soy are ok in small quantities, but when consumed over a period in large amounts, they could even lead to unlimited cell growth and even breast cancer. This is because soy is chemically similar to estrogen in its structure. Overeating soy makes the body think it has enough estrogen when it doesn’t and can lead to reduced or even complete stalling of ovulation. It can also lead to thyroid problems. It must be noted here that soy is one of the most heavily toxic crops as it is severely genetically modified. It has too many pesticides, and this also makes it food that messes with your hormones.
When doctors are trying to rectify the hormonal imbalance, it is alcohol that they rule out first from the diet of the patient. It disrupts the average production of insulin and also hurts the sex hormones in the body. It reduces testosterone production in men and disrupts the menstrual cycle in women. Alcohol has a harmful impact on the stress hormones too. Initially, on consumption, alcohol makes one feel good because of the release of serotonin, but the next slump we feel is bad when serotonin is used up. Alcohol affects the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, the most important hormone production areas of the brain. It reduces fertility in both men and women. Regular consumption of alcohol increases the levels of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. However, if a person stays without consuming alcohol for even a month can bring back hormone levels to normal.
- Certain Vegetables
Nightshades vegetables like brinjal, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes are bad for the system as they cause inflammation. The case is same with cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, and kale. Both these veggie groups affect the thyroid health of the individual. You can eat these veggies in moderation but having too much and regularly can lead to hypothyroidism or even iodine deficiency.
In older times, stevia was used to prevent pregnancies. In its new avatar, it is used as a replacement for sugar. Research is ongoing into its health effects, but there is a possibility that it can cause changes in the body’s hormonal health and can be slotted as one of the ‘bad foods for hormones’ that mess-up your body functions.
Eating everything in moderation is good for the body. Try to control your consumption of processed food items and sugary treats to cut down on your intake of bad foods for hormones and avoid harm to your body!