The best diet for hypothalamus health is the Mediterranean diet.
In multiple studies, the Mediterranean diet has been shown to be the best antiaging diet, hormone balancing diet, and weight loss diet.
Study after study rates the Mediterranean diet as the most effective in lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.
The worst diet for hypothalamus health is SAD – the Standard American Diet – which is too high in trans-fats, sugar, starches and too low in vegetables. Most of my patients come to me having experimented with many different diets – vegan, vegetarian, paleo, keto, intermittent fasting – very few are still consuming a standard American diet.
It may seem that I’m biased in my preference for the Mediterranean diet being an Italian married to a Greek. Yes, I was raised on a Mediterranean diet. But in my teens, I began eating ultra low-fat fearing dietary fat would cause body fat. And at the time, the American Medical Association supported a low fat diet as the best means to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
I was even a vegetarian for seven years.
A healthy vegetarian who ate lots of vegetables, legumes, whole grains and avoided sugar and white flour like the plague. Yet still I tried to follow a low fat diet. So you can imagine I wasn’t getting nearly enough protein or essential fats. And clearly being a vegetarian was not the best diet for my hypothalamus as I was amenorrheic (no periods), had adult acne, dry brittle hair, plus I was hyperactive, insomniac, moody, and constantly craved sugar with frequent bouts of hypoglycemia.
In my early thirties, I saw my internist who ran basic blood work and raved about my low cholesterol at 130. But I was alarmed. With my ultra low HDL under 25, I was setting myself up for cardiovascular issues. And without periods, I was setting myself up for osteoporosis.
So I went back to my roots and started eating a Mediterranean diet. I consumed at least 30% of my calories as fat – lots of olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and whole fat dairy. Immediately my sugar cravings disappeared. Within a couple of months my hair, skin and nails improved. I didn’t sleep or get my periods back until I started taking nutraceutical hypothalamus support. Yet I felt better with more stable blood sugar and my cholesterol improved dramatically (total 190, HDL 90). I was super happy with those results.
At the base, the Mediterranean diet is plant foods – vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains.
Then some dairy, mainly as cultured products like yoghurt and cheeses. There’s a lot of olive oil, plus nuts and seeds. And animal protein coming from eggs, fish, poultry, and a little bit of red meat. At the very top of the Mediterranean diet pyramid is sugar – yes, it’s ok to have a little bit if the rest of your diet is balanced. And of course, red wine. Red wine is rich in antioxidants particularly cardio-protective resveratrol.
The Mediterranean diet offers a wide enough variety of foods that you can actually find something you like to eat. No, it’s not a lot of pasta and pizza. It’s a lot of whole plant foods, like vegetables. You really need to eat a colorful variety of produce. It’s the color in the vegetables – the purples, the reds, the oranges, the yellows, the greens where all the antioxidants are.
So many of my health-conscious patients eat too little variety.
Some people consult with me and only eat five or six foods. That’s not enough variety to get the micronutrients your hypothalamus needs and to prevent food sensitivities.
A bland diet is deficient in nutrients. So limit white flour, white sugar, white potatoes, and white rice. The more colorful your diet, the more antioxidants you’re getting.
Diets that are rich in saturated fats, low in vegetables, high in high glycemic index carbohydrates are pro-inflammatory and have been shown to cause hormonal imbalance. That’s because your hypothalamus c is very sensitive to your nutrition, toxins and inflammation.
A plant based, PUFA rich anti-inflammatory diet is going to be high in antioxidants, which protects your hypothalamus. Micro inflammation in the hypothalamus creates hormonal imbalances and is a contributor to dementia as well as other neurological conditions.
Hypothalamus microinflammation contributes to central obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Hypothalamus microinflammation creates sex hormone imbalances, leading to polycystic ovary syndrome and infertility. Hypogonadism, premature ovarian failure, as well as hypothyroidism and adrenal issues.
An anti-inflammatory diet is critical to maintaining your hormonal health as well as prevent chronic illnesses.
If you have any questions, please join me in my Hormone Support Group. You can get access by signing up for my free Hormone Reboot Training.
Full post excerpt from Hypothalamus Handbook