The endocrine system within our body constitutes eight glands that produce hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers which travel through the bloodstream, work slowly, and affect bodily processes from head to toe. Some of the processes can be noted as below:
#Metabolism, which includes digestion, blood circulation, maintenance of body temperature, elimination, and breathing
If there is any fluctuation in hormonal levels, it may lead to hormonal disorders, which affect an individual’s physical as well as psychological health. The entire process within the body works together to control the hormonal levels and a slight imbalance causes widespread health problems. The common causes of hormonal disorders include being overweight or underweight, depression, anxiety, diabetes, menstrual irregularities, infertility, low testosterone, estrogen dominance, etc. The initial symptoms of hormonal disorders include fatigue, restlessness, changes in appetite, digestive issues, hair thinning, hair loss, low libido, etc.
Ayurveda, being the oldest treasure of medicine, coins hormones as the digestive fire of the tissues i.e. Dhatu Agni. These are considered components of Pitta dosha, as they are carried by blood viz. Rakta Pitta. The Prakriti of an individual is the constitution and combination of three Doshas, which are – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha Dosha. Every individual has a unique combination of these Doshas. A disease is caused when there is an imbalance between Doshas. There are several reasons due to why this imbalance occurs. Some of them can be noted as; unhealthy lifestyles, improper or wrong diet, stress, sleeplessness, lack of physical movements, etc.
Food is the natural medicine and foundation of balancing hormones. Thus, consuming proper nutrients which are a perfect combination of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats is essential. Below are the Foods to avoid with endocrine disorders:
1. Caffeine: Caffeine is mostly consumed in order to snap us out of lethargy as it increases the production of cortisol hormones within the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is at its peak levels in the daytime and lowest in the evenings. When we consume caffeine, it boosts cortisol levels whenever consumed and brings the body to a higher state of alertness, and becomes a reason that messes up with hormones.
2. Sugary treats: This is the main reason that hormones fluctuate. Sugar leads to a great rise in insulin levels. Insulin is mainly responsible for the metabolism of sugar intake. Sugar is consumed in excess, suppressing leptin and ghrelin sensitivity. Both leptin and ghrelin hormones help in controlling appetite. This further leads to type 2 diabetes and obesity.
3. Processed and refined foods: Processed foods contain a combination of gluten and sugar, which is the baddest combination. These both together are responsible for inflammation and stress and also increase susceptibility towards auto-immune diseases. Foodstuffs like cookies, bread, crackers, etc. are also responsible for weight gain, which itself triggers hormonal imbalance and reduction in testosterone levels. Foods like sausages, ready-to-eat meals, and instant food are full of sodium content and preservatives, which causes an electrolyte imbalance in the body and imbalances in hormonal levels.
4. Dairy products: Amongst most dairy products, milk is the one that messes with hormones greatly. It causes inflammation and irritation in the system. Many people suffer from stomach and digestive problems after the consumption of dairy products. The levels of triglycerides rise when milk is consumed in excess, and this may further lead to diabetes. The liver is also affected by the consumption of milk as it contains growth hormones. It may also lead to skin problems like acne and an increase in the production of sebum.
5. Soy products: Soy products like soy milk and tofu, when consumed in large quantities may lead to unlimited growth of cells and even breast cancer. Soy is similar to estrogen and overeating the same makes the body feel that it has enough estrogen when it doesn’t and may lead to a decrease in ovulation. It may also lead to thyroid issues. As soy is a genetically modified crop, it contains lots of pesticides, and thus, messes with the hormones.
6. Alcohol: Alcohol is the first thing that a doctor suggests to avoid in any hormonal disorders. It is capable of disrupting the production of insulin and also hurting sex hormones. Menstrual cycles in women and testosterone levels in men are decreased and disrupted due to the consumption of alcohol. After consumption of alcohol, one feels good as serotonin hormone is released, but later when serotonin is used up, one feels bad. Thus, it is harmful to stress also. It affects the two main endocrine glands – the hypothalamus and pituitary glands; which are important hormone-production areas of the brain.
7. Certain Vegetables: Vegetables like brinjal, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and kale cause inflammation. These vegetables affect the thyroid health of an individual. Consumption of these vegetables in moderation is good, but overconsumption leads to problems.
8. Stevia: Stevia is the substance used as a replacement for sugar. These badly mess up hormones by causing changes in them.
Thus, the consumption of anything in moderation is good for the body. Foods to avoid endocrine disorders which really affect the hormones become necessary in case of serious health issues. Ayurveda focuses on the prevention of disease, and if caused, curing it from the roots. Cutting down these foodstuffs will help prevent the disease, and also, eliminating the harmed hormones completely from the body by stabilizing them, without further harm by consumption of the above foods is required.