5 Foods You Should Eat To Maintain Optimum Hormone Levels.

Colored male and female sign vector

If there’s one thing that seems to get overlooked more than anything else when it comes to physical health – it’s hormones.

Don’t believe it?

Okay, we don’t have empirical evidence, but start asking people that you’re close with about their hormone levels.

Ask them if they know if their testosterone and/or estrogen levels are high or low. Ask them if their doctor has ever checked it, or even brought it up in conversation.

I think you’ll start to notice a few things rather quickly.

Get Your Doctor Involved

Optimum testosterone and estrogen levels, for both men and women, can quite literally change your life. Everything from your mood, your libido, to the size of your love handles are a direct and indirect effect of your hormone levels.

You’re going to want to get your doctor involved in checking your hormone levels in order to keep track of where you’re at, and if your levels are dropping, or rising, or doing nothing at all. Without some type of reference, it’s basically impossible to see if you’re making progress, and if all of your hard work is paying off or not.

Watching the pounds drop off of the scale shouldn’t be the only rewarding thing about Paleo dieting. Try watching your health markers (blood pressure, cholesterol, hormone levels, etc) and you’ll really start to understand and see the benefits of a natural, healthy diet.

On To The Foods

The good news is that just like with everything else that goes on in our bodies..

The foods we eat  have far greater influence on our hormone levels than most initially assume, and combined with an overall healthy diet and an active lifestyle, the following foods can help provide the dietary edge you need to be at your physiological best.

Wild-Caught Salmon

salmonIt seems like this true super food  always make’s the list, and for good reason… One of the many injustices of the low fat, high-carb diet that so many consider the norm is that testosterone and estrogen are quite literally produced from the cholesterol in saturated fats.

There really isn’t a better source of quality saturated fat than wild caught salmon. The salmon’s natural diet of plankton, small fish, and other sea creatures provides it with an abundance of the proper nutrients to nourish it’s high fat concentrations. When you’re looking at that deep red coloring of salmon.. That’s the plankton that the salmon turned into fat, and that you are about to turn into hormones.

That’s before we even get into the fact that  Salmon is one of the best sources of vitamin D (other than sunlight) which is critical to the production of testosterone and estrogen. Hopefully – you’re starting to get the picture that salmon is just all around one of the best foods you can eat. Canned, fresh, smoked, in sushi.. lot’s of ways to eat it. Choose one.

Cooked Oysters

oysterOysters usually fall within the love or hate categories. Either way, they’re nature’s most potent source of one very important mineral: zinc.

Zinc has been proven in medical studies to boost hormone production in as little as six weeks. It’s also noteworthy that about 25% of Americans are zinc deficient.. In large part due to the fact that the soil that most of our food is grown in is mostly depleted of vitamins and minerals. The very nature of modern farming techniques sets us up to see an increasing problem with most people not getting the nutrients their bodies need – Don’t let zinc be one of them.

While it certainly doesn’t seem plausible that you’re going to run out and stock up on oysters after reading this article, just eating them every once in a while in combination with other zinc rich foods will get you to where you need to be. Throw in a quality zinc supplement and your bases are covered.

Spinach

popeyespinachTurns out that spinach actually can make you stronger. Just perhaps in a slightly more delayed time frame as compared to the “veggie rage” that Popeye experiences.

In real terms, eating adequate amounts of spinach for 2 months could actually result in increased hormone levels and more lean muscle mass on your body – Especially if you were zinc deficient beforehand. Another interesting thing about spinach is that is one of nature’s most potent sources of phytoecdysteroids, which are  plant version of hormones (not really, but kinda.. you can read more about phytoecdysteroids here) that have started to gain more attention from scientific researchers, who report these compounds may have beneficial properties on human athletic performance.

Spinach also has the distinction of being loaded down with antioxidants which are basically natures’s best brain preservatives. By blocking free radicals and toxins found in our diets, from doing damage to our precious brain cells – Spinach ensures that we’re not all brawn and no brains. Which I’m guessing is why Popeye always seemed to outsmart Bruno in their testosterone fueled quests for Olive Oyl.

Spinach is easy to add to your diet and in my book is absolutely mandatory. Buy it frozen or fresh (avoid the canned stuff) and eat it everyday. You’ll thank me later.

Cashews

cashewsCashews are a valuable source of nutrition for multiple reasons..

First, they contain plenty of zinc – far more than any other nut –  and since nuts are also such great sources of healthy fats and cholesterols, cashews are something that should be a consistent part of most people’s diet. Probably the only bad thing about cashews is how deceivingly packed full of nutrition they are.

The calories can add up fast when you’re mindlessly snacking on a tub of cashews while surfing YouTube. A small handful and that’s it! Just stop while you’re ahead. If you’re like me and have no hope of actually stopping at just one handful of cashews, then proceed with caution.

Again, there’s no reason not to have a mix of cashews and almonds in your pantry. Widely available, not cheap but nor overly expensive, tasty, and you don’t even have to cook them. My kind of food.

Whey Protein

wheyproteinpowderBranch chained amino acids (BCAAs) have been shown to have a positive effect on hormone levels, and whey protein is one of the best natural sources of  BCAAs.

In particular, leucine is a BCAA that is of significant importance for the body’s biological hormone production processes. A recent PubMed study showed that as the body experiences increased physical demands for long periods of time, the body’s leucine reserves were exhausted long before there was a decrease in hormone levels. Supplementing with a quality leucine supplement will keep the body supplied with what it needs to produce plenty of testosterone and estrogen.

Luckily, it’s easy to get a boost of leucine in your diet. Many powdered whey protein supplements contain added leucine. That said, as you learn more and more about how your body uses these substances, you’ll most likely want to have the option to take your leucine separately from your whey protein. Conversely, if that doesn’t sound like something you will ever want to do – No need to over think it – just try to incorporate more leucine and whey in your diet in a way that’s most convenient for you.

When purchasing whey protein powder to supplement your Paleo diet, be sure to buy a quality product. The $10 tub at Wal-Mart could easily be compared to getting your beef from a fast food chain. The processes that are used to separate the whey vary greatly and some use too much heat – killing most of the best stuff in the protein. Try to avoid the why concentrate powders, and instead buy a quality whey isolate powder like this one. It’s delicious, 100% whey isolate, and plenty of added leucine.  Admittedly, it is a little more expensive than what can be found at the grocery store… but you really do get what you pay for in this case, and you’ll be much better off with one scoop a day of the quality protein powder than you would 3-4 scoops of the more budget friendly option.

You’re Already On The Right Track..

If you’re at all following a Paleo inspired diet, then these foods aren’t anything new.. Some of them can be found on our top ten paleo super foods list. Sorry, no secret herb that was recently discovered in the depths of the Amazon rainforest here. The good news is that  just by following the Paleo diet, you’re already providing your body with most of what it needs to produce the most important substances within the human body. At this point, we’re really just trying to fine tune things a bit, so to speak – icing on the cake.

Optimum hormone levels are a result of living an active lifestyle fueled by the right foods and plenty of water. That said, these are super foods that are especially good at providing the body with what it needs to produce enough of the hormones that affect absolutely everything that goes on within the human body.  These foods will help you get lean, strong, healthy, and most importantly.. feeling great.

Don’t underestimate what can be done through consistent, concerted, and smart nutrition.

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Comments

  1. I initially went to the doctor about certain symptoms I was having to deal with. Who quickly confirmed that I had begun to go through the menopause. I initially dealt with this condition through using a progesterone cream that he prescribed. But the following year I decided I would attempt to go through this transition by following a more natural approach. This included me following a Paleo diet and lifestyle. I found the above article useful and will ensure that I start to include more cashew nuts and spinach into my diet along with salmon. Not so sure about the oysters.

    I’ve been following this diet and lifestyle for around 3 years and it has proven effective in helping me to keep some if not all the symptoms associated with the menopause under control. I do take some natural supplements such as magnesium and red clover to help as well. But mainly it is my diet and lifestyle that have helped me the most.

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