It’s no surprise that what we eat plays a significant role in our overall health and wellness. Poor eating habits combined with a lack of physical exercise are leading causes of weight gain and obesity. However, some diets—such as the “Western diet”—are worse than others.
All cultures have foods they view as unhealthy, but western foods are especially problematic. This is because we consume so many more foods that are heavily processed and chemically treated, and these foods result in a lack of essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy. Without proper nutrients, our bodies cannot function properly, resulting in many health issues, including hormone imbalance.
The energy and nutrients we obtain from the foods we consume produce hormones and fuel our bodies. A well-balanced diet is necessary to get these essential nutrients and maintain our hormonal systems. When we consume too many foods that are high in trans fats, sugars, and refined carbs and treated with chemical preservatives, dyes, artificial flavorings, and pesticides, it severely impacts our health and hormones.
Western Diets And Habits Lead To Hormone Imbalance
The problem with western diets and habits is that we are an impatient society. So many things in our culture are centered around foods and products that make our lives easier and give us immediate results. We use devices that reduce the amount of effort and energy we need to put forth, and we create processed foods that are easier to cook and consume.
However, while fast foods might make our lives more convenient temporarily, they can significantly impact our health long-term. Over time, the more processed foods we eat, the more our bodies and hormones become out of balance, which saps our energy and makes us feel bad. And when we don’t feel good, we are even more inclined to avoid exercise and reach for comfort foods and empty calories devoid of nutrients, which further exacerbates the issue.
Unfortunately, this results in a society that is continually stuck in a cycle of eating unhealthy foods and not getting enough exercise. Furthermore, when we struggle with something, we often turn towards “magic” pills and products to fix our problems, rather than addressing the root cause and changing our lifestyles to include healthier habits.
The Dangers Of Hormonal Imbalance Due To Poor Diet
The longer we eat highly processed and chemically treated foods, the harder it is to turn back. It can affect our appearances, such as producing acne. And while some that are overweight find that simply eating better and exercising more does the trick, others may struggle with obesity no matter what changes they make to their diet and exercise routine. This is because years of eating poorly can completely alter our hormones and the bacteria in our gut, both of which need to be in balance for our bodies to function properly.
When our hormones and gut flora are out of balance, it can be extremely difficult to get them back on track. Even if you start eating healthier foods, your body may not be working as it should, which means it won’t properly absorb nutrients or burn fat as easily when you exercise. The longer you struggle with this issue, the more prone you are to disease and other health issues.
Those with hormone imbalance can struggle with:
- Weight gain
- Muscle weakness
- Cold and heat sensitivity
- Excessive sweating
- Hair loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Pain and swelling in joints
- Heart palpitations
- Blurred vision
- Irregular periods
- Gynecomastia (Breast tissue development)
Poor eating habits and hormonal imbalances can also put you at risk of developing:
- Heart disease
How To Treat And Avoid Hormonal Imbalance
There are many ways that hormone imbalance can be treated or handled, depending on the individual situation. Some treatments may involve a more invasive approach, while others may simply include being more mindful of the foods you consume and getting regular exercise. Plant-based diets, for example, are rich in vital nutrients and can help you rebalance your hormones and gut bacteria. The fast-food industry is even starting to provide more vegan and vegetarian options to make healthier eating more accessible.
Medications and medical treatments for hormone imbalance can include:
- Estrogen therapy
- Testosterone therapy
- Thyroid hormone therapy
- Hormonal birth control
- Anti-androgen medications
- Topical creams
- Medications to treat low sexual function
Though many individuals are more conscious of their health and the foods they consume these days, western culture as a whole is still centered around foods and products that contribute to poor eating and exercise habits. To address the issue, we must push for access to better foods and products and be willing to make changes to our lifestyles.
Many individuals simply don’t have access to the information they need about health and nutrition or affordable healthy food options. Often, people turn to cheap products and fast food because it is all they can afford or because they don’t know how to cook satisfying, healthy meals. However, if we can increase awareness and the need for healthier and affordable food options, we can improve the quality of life of the western culture and change the way we think about food.