Nutrition. For a word we learn so young, it’s a very complicated word—because your body is the combination of very complex systems. And while humans may have landed men on the moon and seen the depths of the ocean, nutrition still remains a mysterious frontier. Studies are revealing intriguing new discoveries every year that link our diet to our health. While it is tempting to think that the latest article describing a wonder food will fix all our problems, it is not that simple! Instead, we need to look at studies of certain foods and nutrients and examine their variety of effects in turn. Exceptionally valuable are data about the endocrine system—the system of hormone creation and transmission that sends messages to our bodies. How is this changed by what we eat? Here’s what the current data suggest:
Estrogen is extremely important to the female body, but it has a very complex role. In addition to being responsible for things like menstrual cycle and other important reproductive functions, an abundance of it has been linked to common cancers, including uterus and breast cancers. Can we keep this under control by what we eat? It’s not a guaranteed fix, but try cutting out fats to lower estrogen levels in the blood. High-fat diets lead to higher estrogen levels; lower the fat in your diet, and you’ll lower your estrogen levels. All this said, studies have suggested that the kind of fats you eat affect the estrogen levels as well. Currently, it appears that cutting out fat from animal products will lower your estrogen levels more dramatically. While vegetable oils, another common source of fat, aren’t great for your estrogen levels either, they are probable better than animal fats. Keep in mind, eliminating estrogen is not going to mean you stay healthy as you age. Other studies have suggested that estrogen may help in retaining memory function as you age. As always, more research needs to be done, and there are no silver bullets!
Another important hormone, cortisol, is important for dealing with stress. It helps regulate glucose and fat metabolism, it increases protein synthesis in the liver while lowering it in the muscles, and affects appetite. While an incredible tool for dealing with stressful situations, maintaining high levels of cortisol is detrimental. High cortisol levels hinder a healthy sleep schedule, as well as cognitive growth and function. Your diet can help you keep your cortisol levels regular. For athletes, it is important to keep up an intake of carbs before and after training. Doing so keeps your post-workout cortisol level low! Keep in mind, this applies to athletes because of the way a workout affects cortisol levels; high-carb diets won’t help your sleep schedule otherwise!
Get a Professional Opinion
Our body is complicated, impacted by things like hormone levels, diet, sleep, and more. To talk to someone about the effect your hormones—estrogen, in particular—have been having on your life, scheduling a consultation with the Women’s Wellness Institute of Dallas.