While there are over 200 hormones in the body – estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, insulin, leptin, and thyroid hormones are the most commonly known and closely linked to metabolism, fertility, mood, and other vital functions. Changes in hormone production, such as under- or over-production, or interferences in signaling pathways contribute to the development of hormonal imbalances, which can lead to diabetes, weight gain, infertility, and other health concerns if not managed appropriately. Sudden weight fluctuations or changes in energy levels can signal hormonal abnormalities, as can muscle aches and weakness, joint inflammation, and increased temperature sensitivity. There are many possible causes of hormonal imbalances, such as medications, tumors, and underlying health conditions; diet-related hormonal fluctuations, including those spurred by eating disorders, are also prevalent and underscore the connection between the endocrine system and eating patterns.
Emerging findings from intervention studies implicate healthy dietary patterns combined with lifestyle modifications have the potential to prevent and treatment mental health disorders and modify drug treatment effects.
There is strong evidence that nutritional patterns can affect later-life brain function; a healthy diet filled with high-quality foods has been linked to reductions in cognitive decline risk, while a poor diet appears to increase cognitive decline along with other health concerns. Mounting evidence suggests that early evaluation and treatment for depression can improve or maintain cognitive function in patients with mild cognitive impairment – the first stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, the risk of developing dementia is doubled in older adults with depression, whereas the risk of Alzheimer’s is up to 65% greater. Not only is a healthy diet beneficial for preventing neurological decline, but it can also help address cardiometabolic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and metabolic disorders.
A sufficient amount of calcium is critical for overall health, keeping the bones, organs, and skeletal muscles functioning properly. For decades, calcium intake has been thought to be helpful in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis — one of the leading causes of disability in the elderly population. In order to promote bone health in aging individuals, a daily dietary calcium intake of 1,000-1,2000 mg is recommended for both women and men. However, this can be difficult to achieve through nutritional choices alone, resulting in the wide use of calcium supplements to boost overall intake.