How Our Food Affects Our Hormones
Although this is the weirdest time ever and nobody truly feels like they have a grip on life - something great about being locked in our houses right now is the ability to focus on self-care. Skincare routines, at-home workout schedules, and especially that extra sleep we all didn’t know we needed are in full effect. I think I can speak for most of us when I say that one of the more challenging aspects of this quarantine is maintaining a healthy diet – and I’m not talking about how much we are eating but more importantly what we are eating and how its effecting our already stressed out bodies.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or master of this topic. (Even though I do have my bachelor’s degree in nursing so that counts for something) Therefore, consult a doctor if you have serious issues.
Hormones are our body’s chemical messengers meaning they aid in controlling practically every physiological process in our body. This includes our metabolism, menstrual cycle, and something we are all focused on right now, our immune systems. Certain foods that we eat can throw off our balance, which seems as though we are all grasping on to right now. Two of the hormones that can have an effect like this: estrogen and cortisol.
You can’t obtain estrogen from your diet; however, there are various plant foods that contain what is called phytoestrogen. This is a chemical that acts like estrogen in your body. Soy is the most potent dietary source of phytoestrogens. Depending if you have a low level of estrogen vs. high level of estrogen will matter how/if it affects your body. For example, if you are already estrogen dominant and eat an excess of soy; it is possible that you may breakout or feel those tender period boobs. Now this is only if you eat A LOT of soy – not like tofu for dinner. So don’t freak out!
This is called the “stress hormone” and is secreted by your adrenal glands. Cortisol is what triggers your fight-or-flight response aka when you're stressed AF or in serious danger. This means, that cortisol is vital to your survival, however, having chronically high levels of cortisol in your body can increase your blood pressure, stress level, and visceral fat percentage. (The fat that surrounds your midsection) Now here is the kicker…two of the best things on earth contribute to your cortisol levels – caffeine and alcohol. Ugh. Coffee and wine or matcha and tequila, whichever floats your boat, only consume them in moderation.
Now, I want you to take this with a grain of salt. I am not telling you to not eat anything that contains soy and stop drinking your morning cup of coffee or having your afternoon cocktail. However, I am saying that is it is so important to be mindful of what you put in your body at all times, and especially during this time. We only get one body; let’s treat her right!
Written by, Emily Scully