7 Surprising Things That Mess With Your Hormones

Written by Jessica Mendez, Updated on June 19th, 2023
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Admit it: if you feel out of sorts but can't put your finger on it, you probably blame your hormones. To make matters more bizarre, you're probably right. Our hunger, weight, libido, menstrual cycles, and everything else in life are all governed by the constant hum of chemical messages inside the body.

However, hormonal quirks aren't entirely out of your hands. The effects of hormones on your body can be devastating if you engage in actions that cause them to spike or drop. Here are the surprising things that mess with your hormones.


Most of us have a sweet tooth. And let's be honest- we all know that candy is an absolute health wrecker. Eating foods with too much added sugar is directly linked to weight gain, and carrying excess weight can cause your body to become resistant to insulin.

Insulin is the hormone that moves sugar into your bloodstream so your cells can get the energy they need. The end consequence is metabolic syndrome, a diabetic predisposition, or perhaps even full-blown type 2 diabetes.

A pile of gummy bears.

Stressing out before bedtime

In an average person, cortisol levels, associated with stress, naturally decrease during the night. However, becoming apprehensive or tense in the evening keeps your cortisol levels high, making it impossible to fall asleep.

So try not to work in the evenings, and avoid different stressors. If you've had a rough day, try a short meditation or melatonin-boosting foods like pistachios before bed to wind down.

Gym Habits

Frequent exercise maximizes the production and release of endorphins. You're probably familiar with endorphins; they're the brain chemicals that make you feel happy and alert. In addition to preserving your health and boosting your immune system, they also strengthen your libido by increasing your sex hormone levels.

Exercise can include anything from walking outside to cycling. If you're surprised that exercise can affect your hormones, here's an even more surprising piece of info! People have long argued if it's better to live in a warm vs. cold climate; however, there is truth to those arguments since the temperature can affect your hormones.

Even the climate can affect your health, and some people deliberately choose to move to warmer or colder areas, depending on how the weather affects their hormones. You can test your hormone levels at different seasons to see which kind of temperature best suits you.

A gym.


Parabens, also called propylparaben and ethylparaben, are included in many personal care products. However, they have been linked to an increased risk of cancer and disruption of the endocrine system.

Women are especially in danger. Almost all breast tissue samples from 40 women with breast cancer included levels of at least one paraben, and 60% of the samples contained traces of five different parabens, according to research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology.

Though researchers have yet to pinpoint where these preservatives are coming from, opting for "paraben-free" products to be safe is a great option.

Negative thoughts

We've all heard the famous saying, "Mind over matter." Well, it's possible that your mind may lead you to hormonal problems if you are constantly thinking negatively. It's imperative to take responsibility for the way you handle stress. Things like work stress, insecurities, blame, and dissatisfaction can all be surprising things that mess with your hormones.

To combat this, you can practice mindfulness. Daily practice of visualization, yin yoga, and meditation, which have all been linked to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, can help you gain peace of mind.

Comfort foods

Foods like cheese, pastries, crackers, spaghetti, and bread made with white or whole wheat flour increase cortisol, making you anxious and triggering weight gain.

You should also avoid consuming sugar, artificial sweeteners (which can elevate your insulin level), alcohol, and non-gluten grains, including rice (brown, white, or wild) and quinoa. Swapping out your flour for healthier alternatives, such as almond flour for traditional flour, is a great idea.

Diet and water intake

The foods you eat can significantly impact how your body functions. How the body operates may be affected by what is put into it for fuel. Maintaining your gut health is crucial to your overall health; therefore, eating well is essential.

Inflammation, the basis of many health concerns, including hormone imbalances, is connected to poor gut health. An unhealthy gut can negatively affect hormones, which might cause your immune system to overwork.

Here are some ways to keep your hormones from getting out of whack because of your diet:

  • Maintain a healthy body and mind by balancing your macronutrient intake. Sugars, lipids, and proteins are all examples of macronutrients.
  • Consume less inflammatory foods- Some people may be more sensitive to foods than others are not. If you have health concerns like hormone imbalance, your doctor may recommend a food sensitivity test or an elimination diet to determine what's going wrong. White flour and other processed grains, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, added sugar, and occasionally dairy are typical inflammatory meals.
  • Increase your probiotics intake - Yogurt, kimchi, and kefirs, as well as other fermented foods, can help your gut health. Foods and liquids that include prebiotics include oats, bananas, onions, chicory root, garlic, leeks, savoy cabbage, and water.
  • Consume high-fiber foods, including fruit, beans, and whole grains (provided you do not have gluten sensitivity).
  • Take in a healthy amount of good fats - Wild-caught salmon and other fish provide great healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids. If you're not a fan of fish, however, various seeds, nuts, and dairy products ( from organic and grass-fed stock) can be beneficial. For meat lovers, beef from grass-fed cows is a great and healthy option.

Maintain optimum hydration by drinking enough water. Maintaining an adequate water supply is essential for healthy living.

A table full of healthy, organic vegetables and food.

Final words

Hormones control eating, feeling, sleeping, and weighing. However, certain behaviors may throw off the delicate balance of these chemical messengers, which can seriously affect your mental and physical well-being. That's why it's essential to watch out for the surprising things that mess with your hormones we've gone over in this article.

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