If you have trouble losing or maintaining your weight, your hormones may be responsible for it. The hormones have an essential part in every aspect of losing weight including the metabolism, where you store fat, the appetite and even food cravings. Each form of hormonal imbalance will sabotage every effort of losing weight, regardless of your exercise and diet. Increased belly fat can indicate some of these hormonal imbalances:

• High Insulin
• Low Testosterone
• High Estrogen
• High Cortisol
• Low Growth Hormone
• Low DHEA

Insulin

In the hierarchy of hormones that affect the amount of fatty tissue, insulin is at the top. This hormone is most affected by carbohydrate intake and excessive food intake, both of which affect a significant increase in blood sugar levels. Any excessive intake of any macro-nutrient (carbohydrate, fat or protein) will raise the level of this hormone. Insulin resistance can be also attributed to lack of exercise, too much stress, a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and excess body fat, particularly around the belly. Chronic high levels of insulin cause the body’s resistance to insulin, which means the body stops dissolving fat tissue, but also increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and obesity. Therefore, with high levels of insulin, the melting of fat tissue is disabled. To maintain low levels of insulin, control the carbohydrate intake, watch the glycemic index of the carbohydrates you are taking and avoid overeating any type of food.

Higher protein intake will maintain the levels of blood sugar and insulin which will control your. The best protein options are the lean and organic forms including chicken, low-fat cheese and turkey. Consuming more leafy green and whole-grain foods, while reducing the intake of alcohol and foods that contain added sugars and trans fats will help you control the insulin levels.

Testosterone

This hormone is responsible for the appearance of the human body. In women, the hormonal situation is somewhat more complicated because it affects the ratio of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone to the female shape. Along the human body there are testosterone receptors and they affect the human mood, sexual desire, muscle mass, bone strength, energy levels, etc. Symptoms that you may have low levels of testosterone include muscle tissue loss, decreased strength, drive, stamina and motivation.

Although testosterone has a significantly stronger effect on the body of a man than a woman, still too low or too high levels of this hormone both in men and women can have negative effects. Appropriate amount of training, sleep and regular sexual activity positively influence the maintenance of the optimal level of this hormone.
To maintain normal levels of testosterone consume oysters, broccoli, bananas, garlic, brazil nuts and eggs.

Estrogen

This hormone has a significantly greater impact on the female than on a male body. However, men need a certain dose of estrogen to maintain their health. Estrogen is considered a hormone which also affects the storage and melting of fat cells. Scientists also point out that due to this hormone women are more tolerant to stress than men. Symptoms of estrogen dominance are obesity, with fat accumulating around the belly, fibrocystic ovaries and breasts, irregular menstruation and headaches.

Sufficient amount of sleep and nutrition rich in vegetables maintain the levels of this hormone at an optimum level in both sexes. Consume more sesame seeds, berries, wheat, oats, dried beans, barley, lentils, rice, yams, alfalfa, apples, mung beans, carrots, wheat germ, pomegranates, rice bran, fennel and ginseng.

Cortisol

Cortisol is excreted from the adrenal gland and has a twofold influence in the body – not just negative or positive. Acute stress in the body causes a short-term increase in this hormone. The hectic lifestyle gives signal to the adrenal gland that we are at risk of causing either extremely high or extremely low levels of cortisol, both leading to fatty tissue accumulation.

Cortisol that rises with growth hormone and testosterone helps in fat burning. In order to achieve this effect, physical activity is required: either with long low intensity workouts or short high intensity workout. Also, regular sleep and rest have a positive effect on the level of cortisol, which in this case helps to eradicate fat tissue. To maintain normal levels of cortisol consume more spinach, barley, beans, citrus fruits, omega 3, zinc, cacao and dark chocolate.

Growth hormone

Human growth hormone simultaneously helps build muscle tissue and melt fat cells. That’s why this hormone has a reputation as a hormone that slows down aging processes. It works in conjunction with cortisol and adrenaline to keep the body slim, strong and youthful. Lack of sleep and sedentary lifestyle reduce the level of this hormone in the body. It is especially important for tissue repair, bone density, muscle building and healthy body composition.
In order to maintain optimal growth hormone levels, it is necessary to have regular and adequate sleep, exercise regularly, but not longer than 40 minutes. Also, a sufficient protein intake in the diet maintains a satisfactory level of this hormone. Consume more pineapples, fava beans, goji berries, coconut oil, grassfed beef, Greek yoghurt, algae, eggs, watermelons, parmesan, nuts, raisins, whey protein, beets and lemons.

DHEA

Dehydroepiandrosterone is a hormone produced by the adrenal gland and affects all systems so balanced level is important for your general health. DHEA has an impact on the ability to gain muscle and lose fat. DHEA levels decrease with age, starting at about 30.

Some foods like soybeans and yams help the body produce DHEA, if you need it. In fact, yams are used to produce DHEA supplements. If your body has enough DHEA, it won’t produce it anymore, no matter what your consume. Some foods like those rich in omega-3 fatty acids including flax seeds, olive oil and salmon might help your body better use the naturally produced DHEA.