Best Foods for Hormonal Balance
Food is fuel! By incorporating the right foods at optimal times and with properly portioned amounts, it can have a tremendously positive impact on our health. Our diet can also help combat hormone imbalances we might have without the need of medicine – how cool is that?
I’ve put a list together of the top foods that can help you start balancing your hormones today. Read on to learn what kind of protein, vegetables, fruits, etc. you can start adding to your next grocery shopping trip to keep your body functioning at its best.
The kind of protein you eat can affect different hormones in your body. Here are some of the best protein choices for overall hormonal balance.
While eggs have historically had a bad rap, more studies have shown they’re actually good for you. Yes, eggs have cholesterol, but it turns out they have almost no effect on your blood cholesterol levels. In fact, cholesterol is required for making all hormones, including progesterone and estrogen.
Plus, the protein in eggs can help lower levels of ghrelin and insulin, the hormones that affect hunger. And it can leave you feeling full longer than eating a bagel would.
When choosing the type of eggs to eat, it’s best to buy organic, free-range, pasture-raised eggs.
- Wild-Caught Fish
Wild-caught fish are an excellent source of protein and healthy fats such as omega 3 fatty acids that aid in the regulation of insulin. The top healthiest include sockeye salmon, brook trout, and Pacific sardines.
- Grass-Fed and Free-Range Chicken, Turkey, and Beef
Lean cuts of chicken, turkey, and even beef are better sources of protein than fattier cuts of meat. When possible, choose organic, grass-fed, free-range, and local meat sources. They can contain less saturated fats and can be less likely to cause an overload of estrogen.
Fat is not something we should avoid, especially if it’s the right kind. Our bodies need healthy fats to give us energy and help aid in cell development. Here are some of the best sources.
Plant sterols, like the ones found in avocados, can help maintain estrogen and progesterone in your body. Try adding them to a salad or in a smoothie to make it creamier.
Flaxseed is terrific for its estrogen balancing effect because it contains lignans, polyphenols, and phytoestrogen, a plant-sourced xenoestrogen. They’re also great in smoothies, or you can use them in place of breadcrumbs for a gluten-free breading on fish or chicken. Don’t overdue flax though because you don’t want to throw estrogen out of balance in the wrong direction. Just a teaspoon or so here and there is good.
- Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are one of the highest sources of selenium, a hormone that plays a significant role in supporting your thyroid function. A small handful makes an ideal snack when paired with an apple or pear.
There are plenty of good choices to choose from. Here are some of the best.
- Broccoli Sprouts
Broccoli sprouts, part of the cruciferous vegetable family, are great for balancing estrogen levels. Other cruciferous vegetables that help with estrogen production include Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and bok choy.
If you find these veggies hard to digest, try steaming them instead of consuming them raw. Also, if you don’t enjoy steamed kale, you can massage it with some olive oil, lemon, and sea salt to make it softer.
Spinach is not only a great source of vitamin K and iron but also contains a high level of magnesium. Spinach helps your liver metabolize estrogen, which helps keep your levels balanced.
If spinach salad isn’t your thing, try adding a handful into your smoothies to get an added boost of nutrients.
- Bell Peppers
Bell peppers are one of the best natural sources of vitamin C, which is crucial for your progesterone development. Also, they have high levels of calcium and contain antioxidants that aid in the removal of free radicals in the body.
Eating a small amount of grains can help keep your digestion balanced and regular, BUT grains are not a necessary part of the diet. We tend towards a more grain-free way of eating and sometimes add in pseudo grains like quinoa or buckwheat. Avoid processed, bleached, or non-organic sources as they tend to have little nutritional value and can be high in sugar. Before cooking grains like rice, quinoa, and or barley, it’s best to give them an initial rinse first.
Quinoa is a powerful, ancient superfood. It doesn’t raise your blood sugar, which means it’s excellent for maintaining healthy insulin levels.
- Brown Rice
Brown rice contains phytoestrogens that can help balance estrogen levels. Additionally, it’s rich in B vitamins, which are essential for the liver’s ability to metabolize hormones. When hormones are not metabolized properly, the ratio of progesterone to estrogen can swing out of balance.
Oats are high in soluble fiber, which helps keep your digestive tract regular and reduces your body’s insulin response. They are rich in essential vitamins and minerals and contain high levels of vitamin B1 (thiamin), zinc, and manganese.
Fruits are packed with nutrients, but they can also be high in sugar. Too much can cause an insulin spike, which in turn affects estrogen and cortisol levels. We recommend no more than one serving of fruit per day. One serving is equivalent to one cup, or one apple, orange, grapefruit, etc.
Apples have high levels of vitamin C, which helps aid in raising progesterone levels, the hormone responsible for reducing anxiety and depression. Apples also contain a powerful antioxidant called quercetin, which can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Blueberries are an excellent source of antioxidants. And they’re chock full of B6, a vitamin that assists in the production and balancing or the progesterone hormone.
Strawberries are high in phytoestrogens, which can help keep hormone levels balanced. They are also packed with vitamin C, another hormone stabilizer and immune system booster.
For a simple way to incorporate hormone balancing foods into your diet, it doesn’t get any easier than adding spices to your meals.
Garlic is rich in B vitamins, which are necessary to regulate hormone levels within the body. It also has phytoestrogens, which help aid in retaining and balancing estrogen levels.
The active ingredient in turmeric, where it derives most of its well-known qualities, is called curcumin. Curcumin helps aid in balancing hormones as it is excellent for improving blood flow to ensure that all parts of your body are performing at optimal levels. Plus, curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, which means it helps rid the body of damaging free radicals.
Cinnamon is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammation properties. It’s excellent for preventing and fighting off colds and can also help aid in the repair of body tissue. Cinnamon assists in increasing your body’s sensitivity to hormonal insulin. This is important because insulin is responsible for regulating your metabolism and delivering blood sugar around your body. Most stores and grocery shops sell Cassia cinnamon, but to get the most benefits out of this spice, be on the lookout for Ceylon cinnamon.
- Organic Seaweed
Organic seaweed is rich in iodine, which is an essential nutrient that supports your thyroid function. It is also rich in B vitamins and iron.
- Kimchi or Sauerkraut
Kimchi is packed full of good bacteria and probiotics that aid in establishing a healthy gut flora so you can absorb and retain the vitamins and nutrients that you eat. Your ‘gut’ is an integral part of keeping you healthy as it is a large producer of serotonin, one of your happiness hormones. So, introducing fermented foods like kimchi is a great way to keep you balanced.
- Marine Phytoplankton
Marine Phytoplankton is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron, and selenium. Selenium is essential for helping balance your thyroid hormones.
Which Will You Try?
Taking good care of how you fuel your body is key to balancing your hormones. It also plays a crucial role in maintaining your overall health. Now that you’re armed with a list of the top hormone balancing foods you can add to your diet, which of these foods will you add to your diet? Which do you already eat? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to know.
Be Well & Thrive!
With Love & In Health,
Sarah Outlaw, MH, MSACN
- For more information on who we are and what we do at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines, browse the rest of our website. We offer Root Cause Nutrition, Nutritional Coaching, Nutrition Response Testing, Functional Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Flower Essence Therapy, and Homeopathy. We also offer detox services including an infrared sauna, and PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy mat, and foot bath (DSM office). We are on the front lines of wellness for you! Health starts here!