How Meat Impacts Your Hormone Levels

Hormones can be unpredictable, mellow and absolutely insane, all at the same time. An imbalance can mess up your sleep cycles, affect your metabolism and stress you out more than any deadline can (via Medical News Today). While women get a glimpse of this every month, it isn't normal to keep feeling this way. "Starting our periods and ending our periods is mandatory. That's a life cycle — but suffering and symptomatic is optional, and that's a function of hormonal imbalance, whether we're in our teens or in perimenopause or menopause age range," Dr. Anna Cabeca, author of "The Hormone Fix," explained to Healthline.

A lot of these symptoms could be attributed to your lifestyle. "Our environment has a huge effect on our hormones," Burt Webb, MD told Bustle. Where we choose to live, what we eat and how we deal with stress are all factors that can affect your hormones. Eating meat can also significantly increase your risk for hormonal imbalance (via Mind Body Green) and protein replacements may help you manage the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. Read on to know more about how meat can impact your hormones.

Red meat can increase estrogen in your body

A 2021 study by Ipsos found that 89% of Americans include meat in their diet, making it an essential on the dinner plate. But if you are what you eat and you eat meat, you may just be a cocktail of hormones, protein and plastic.

"There are harmful hormones in the meats we are consuming given to the animal to promote their growth," Dr. Webb told Bustle. "When we consume these hormones they create problems in our bodies." Hormones like estrogen and testosterone are injected into cows and other animals to make them fatter and produce more meat and milk (via WebMd). While it isn't clear if these added hormones are harmful to the human body, they can still considerably impact your hormones (via Health).

Sara Gottfried, M.D. told Mind Body Green that consuming meat (especially red meat) can cause an estrogen overload on the body, increase blood sugar problems and risk for obesity. She suggested pea protein, lentils, eggs and fish as alternatives but also mentioned that eating red meat in moderation may help reduce imbalances. If you're not keen on Meatless Mondays or any other day of the week, Craig Minowa, an environmental scientist, told WebMD, "The best way to do that is to look for organic products, or to buy locally ... If you have a direct relationship with the farmer raising your food, you can just ask them."