What are hormones?

Hormones are signalling molecules that relay specific chemical messages throughout the body. They travel through tissue fluids, such as the bloodstream, to stimulate particular cells or tissues and exert their effects. The body produces many different types of hormones. Together, hormones act on almost every cell, organ and bodily process and function. In particular, hormones play a vital role in the regulation of growth and development, cognition, metabolism, hunger/thirst, reproductive processes and sexual function. Such processes are highly important for normal development in young children. 

Hormones are produced and secreted into the bloodstream by a group of cells called glands and together the glands make up the endocrine system.

Hormones are important when your child starts to go through puberty, which is when your child begins developing into an adult. During this time, the child's body is loaded with hormones that tell the body that it's time to start changing. Teenagers undergo major physical development during their puberty phase. These physical changes are regulated by changes in the levels of hormones which are produced by the pituitary gland—luteinizing hormone (responsible for menstrual cycle in girls) and follicle-stimulating hormone (responsible for reproductive system in both girls and boys). Surprisingly, a new born baby has high levels of these hormones which taper down in a couple of months. At adolescence, these hormones spike up again and cause major physical developments in the body of teens. In the early puberty phase, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone increase, resulting in major physical changes including weight gain, outbursts of acne, height gain and behavioural change like anxiety, hyper-activity and short-temperedness.


What is Hormone Imbalance?

Abnormal functioning of any of the endocrine gland in the body can have serious implications. The recent lifestyle trend of teenagers has also added to much higher consumption of food which is high in both carbohydrates and fat. This not only results in excessive weight gain, but also anxiety and stress leading to further hormone imbalance.

Hormone imbalance may increase your child’s risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. Children who may have a disorder caused by hormone imbalance require the attention of paediatric endocrinologists, who are specialised in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions involving the endocrine system. Hence, it is important to hormone balance food to teens from the beginning.


Hormone balance food:


Fruits: Fruits that contain vitamins, minerals & fiber are good for a child's hormonal health.

Include blackberry, lychee, sapota or chikoo, blueberry and mulberry in your child’s diet.


Proteins: Consuming adequate quantities of protein is very important for teens as protein helps to release hormones that control appetite & food intake. Including eggs, almonds, oats, cheese, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, yogurt, milk, broccoli, whey protein, chicken & fish will help in regular functioning of hormones.


Magnesium: Magnesium is one of the top four abundant minerals in the body. So, any deficiency of this mineral will easily reflect in daily life. Magnesium is key in formation of bones, maintaining blood flow and keeping stress low. It also brings relief to girls who suffer from menstrual cramps, leg cramps and irritable mood. Spinach, beans, chia seed, sunflower seed, cumin, whole wheat flour, milk, yogurt, almond, peanut, cashew, quinoa are great sources of this mineral.


Healthy Fats: Including high-quality natural fats in your diet may help reduce insulin resistance and stimulate the production of hormones that help control appetite. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are unique fats that are taken up directly by the liver for immediate use as energy and have been shown to reduce insulin resistance in overweight & obese people. 


Green Tea: Green tea contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has several health benefits. Studies show that consuming green tea may increase insulin sensitivity and lower insulin levels in both healthy people and those with insulin-resistant conditions like obesity and diabetes.


Fatty Fish: Fatty fish is the best source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, which have impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests they may also have beneficial effects on hormonal health, including reducing levels of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Include salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel in your child’s diet.


High fiber food: High fiber intake has been linked to improvements in insulin sensitivity and the hormones that control hunger, fullness and food intake. Avocado, pears, strawberries, apples, bananas, broccoli, artichoke, Brussel sprouts & kidney beans are few sources of high fiber diet.


Eggs: Eggs are very nutritious and also support hormonal health by reducing levels of insulin and ghrelin and regulating food intake.


Chia Seeds: Chia seed is a gluten-free ancient grain that can be added to just about any food. Chia seed contains the highest amount of omega-3s in nature and also the most fiber. Chia's hormonal benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, and easing metabolic syndrome symptoms like blood pressure and blood sugar spikes.


Nuts: Almonds are also known to slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the body, which may help with diabetes management. Walnuts are a source of melatonin, a hormone that promotes better sleep.


Whey protein: Whey has been proven to promote fat loss, preserve muscle tissue, enhance immunity, aid insulin sensitivity, and support recovery after exercise. It's also a source of tryptophan, which can help raise serotonin levels and combat stress.


Buckwheat: Whey has been proven to promote fat loss, preserve muscle tissue, enhance immunity, aid insulin sensitivity, and support recovery after exercise. It's also a source of tryptophan, which can help raise serotonin levels and combat stress.


Turmeric: Turmeric naturally reduces inflammation, pain and swelling & promotes hormone balance.


Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate boosts our endorphins and also contains tryptophan (a building block of serotonin) and the brain chemical phenylethylamine, known to promote feelings of attraction, excitement, and love. 

Feeding above food is an easy and necessary way to keep hormone imbalance in check.