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Balancing Hormones with Food

Organic Whole Foods, Fruits and Veggies

For the most part, we all try to eat “healthy.” But understanding what “healthy” means when it comes to hormonal health, and therefore skin health, can be confusing. The foods you eat have profound effects on your hormonal balance. They have the power to either alleviate or aggravate hormonal acne, so understanding what to eat and what to limit or avoid is crucial.

There are several diet factors contributing to hormonal imbalances that cause acne.

1. Livestock & Animal Products
In today’s world, increased food production is the goal. Most livestock are injected with additional hormones, such as estrogen, in order to force growth. To maximize space, these animals are typically kept in in tight quarters and injected with antibiotics to avoid infection and illness. The problem is that when humans consume the meat or byproducts from these animals, they also consume these synthetic hormones and antibiotics. This throws our hormones, especially estrogen, off balance, leading to estrogen overload and eventually estrogen dominance.

2. Sugars & Dietary Fats
Too much sugar or dietary fat increases blood sugar. High blood sugar levels cause cells to become insensitive to the blood sugar regulating hormone, insulin. The body responds by producing more insulin. These high insulin levels increase androgen activity, boost sebum production, and cause breakouts on the surface of the skin. For this reason, dietary fats (like oil) can make otherwise healthy foods (ex potato) become acne-inducing (ex. french fries). Simple (refined) carbs, such as pasta and bread, are equally problematic because they lack the fibre necessary to prevent rapid spikes in blood sugar.

3. Processed Foods & Cooking Oils
The more processed (less whole) a food, the less stable it is in the body, leading to issues like cell damage and inflammation. This is why oils, most of which are highly processed (like vegetable oil and canola oil), are a problem. When consumed in large amounts, oil also contributes to the development of fat cells, which store and increase the production of estrogen. Most packaged foods are also highly processed - these foods are typically not in their "whole" form. That said, a greater cause for concern with packaged foods is that they usually contain chemical additives that can be classified as hormone-disrupting xenoestrogens.     

4. Food Sensitivities
Food sensitivities or intolerances (gluten is a common example) also cause unstable blood sugar levels. In addition, they cause inflammation in the gut, which forces the adrenal glands to prioritize the stress-fighting, anti-inflammatory hormone, cortisol, over the estrogen-balancing hormone, progesterone. Ultimately, any time cortisol is produced at the expense of progesterone, estrogen dominance ensues due to low progesterone levels (progesterone helps to balance the effects of estrogen).  

Fortunately, there are tons of nutritious and delicious foods out there that can help balance your hormones. Food is medicine for the body and every meal is an opportunity to balance your hormones, heal your skin, and feel your best. Here's what we recommend.

Organic, Whole Foods 
Eating whole foods will ensure what you're putting in your body remains stable, reducing cell damage and inflammation as much as possible. Ensuring these foods are organic will help limit your absorption of hormone-disrupting xenoestrogens

"Free-From" Animal Products
While animal products may cause hormonal issues, animal protein is important for proper liver function. That said, when you do eat meat or dairy products, choose hormone/antibiotic-free and pasture-raised as much as possible. 

Lots of Fruits and Veggies, Especially Raw
The less processed, the better, so eating your veggies raw will be the most beneficial way to consume them. Cruciferous veggies specifically (like broccoli and kale) are the most helpful in breaking down and eliminating excess estrogens. 

Complex Carbs
Potatoes, whole grains, beans, and legumes have shown to be extremely effective at stabilizing blood sugars. 

High Fibre
Fibrous foods (like flax and chia) are critical in eliminating estrogen from your body. Fibre also helps slow the absorption and digestion of fat. Your body needs fat for certain functions (like uterus protection), but too much can cause issues.

Low Sugar
Natural sugars in whole foods aren't harmful in the way that large amounts of added sugars are (like those in candy and baked goods). That said, natural sweeteners, like honey and maple syrup, are healthier substitutes. They do raise blood sugar levels, but not as quickly. 

Acne is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to individually identify which foods are more likely to cause your skin to breakout. Maintaining a food diary or attempting an elimination diet can help uncover the dietary culprits causing your imbalances and acne. At the end of the day, it’s all about balance and moderation. Your eating habits may not follow these guidelines perfectly, and that’s okay. Our supplement, BALANCE, is here to help. Taking just 1 capsule daily helps support estrogen metabolism and hormonal balance, so you can have your cake and eat it too.  

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