Carrie Gabriel, MS, RDN, clues us in on the best foods to eat for hormone balance.
Hormones: They can affect your mood, appetite, and overall health. When our hormones are off balance, we might feel more fatigued than usual. Even further, we might experience irregular bowel movements, unexplained weight gain or weight loss, and general irritability. Yikes!
Many of us don’t think about turning to food first as a remedy for hormonal issues; too often, we tend to steer toward medication. And unfortunately, hormone production isn’t something we can directly control.
However, we can select the foods with which we fuel our bodies. And thankfully, there are certain foods that can help you balance your hormones.
Food Groups That Help PROMOTE HormonE balance
Consider adding some of these hormone-friendly foods into your daily diet to keep your mind and body functioning at optimal levels.
Protein is extremely important for hormone balance since it influences the release of leptin and ghrelin, the hormones that control your appetite and food intake.
Nutrient-rich complex and high-fiber carbohydrates are ideal for balancing hormones because they help stabilize blood sugar and reduce cortisol levels. Fiber doesn’t break down in the body, and since it doesn’t convert to sugar, fiber can’t raise blood sugar levels like other carbs can.
Including high-quality natural fats into your diet can help curb not only your appetite, but also insulin resistance. Several studies show that consuming healthy fat at meals can trigger the release of hormones that can help you feel satisfied.
11 Best Foods for Hormone Balance
Eggs are one of the best foods for balancing hormones, as they have a positive impact on insulin and ghrelin hormones in the body. Specifically, insulin controls blood sugar while ghrelin controls appetite.
Your insulin and ghrelin levels are lower after you eat eggs for breakfast (compared to a carb-based meal). Similar to other proteins, eggs keep you full for longer, so you can end up consuming fewer calories. This aspect is particularly advantageous if you have trouble losing weight.
2. Fatty Fish
According to the American Heart Association, fatty fish—such as wild-caught salmon, herring, mackerel, lake trout, and sardines—help stabilize your hunger hormones, thus helping you feel fuller for longer.
On top of that, fatty fish are rich in vitamin D, which helps improve female testosterone levels. Getting these hormonal levels under control can positively address concerns including weight gain, fatigue, and depression. A 3.5-ounce serving of such fish twice weekly can also keep your heart healthy and your skin and hair glowing.
Finally, the good fats in fish improve overall hormonal communication. The endocrine system uses hormones to communicate with the brain, which in turn boosts our mood and gives us better cognition skills.
3. Chicken Breast
Chicken breast is high in protein and low in fat. Research indicates that high-protein diets promote the secretion of hormones such as leptin, which provides feelings of satiety. Chicken also has purported positive effects on anabolic hormones (such as insulin and estrogen) by helping build muscles after workouts.
4. Leafy Greens
Greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard are loaded with antioxidants and can help prevent inflammation. Leafy greens can also reduce stress, thereby lowering cortisol levels and helping balance estrogen.
Additionally, greens are high in fiber. Fiber aids in lowering estrogen levels, which may reduce risks for hormone-related health conditions. In general, try to consume 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily to support hormonal balance.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts are all part of the cruciferous vegetable family. Like leafy greens, these vegetables also help process and remove excess estrogen from the body. It’s also worth noting that the high calcium content in broccoli can aid PMS relief by reducing cramps and bloating, as well as regulating mood swings.
Quinoa is a gluten-free carbohydrate as well as a whole protein. (While quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain, it cooks and is eaten in a way that resembles whole grains.) It helps balance hormones by keeping female testosterone levels even. Quinoa yields this power due to its higher levels of protein that enable blood sugar stabilization. It also packs phosphorus and magnesium, which can alleviate PMS symptoms and promote sleep.
Not only are pomegranates full of antioxidants, but they’re also known to help block excess estrogen production.
This tangy little fruit is rich in melatonin, which aids in restful sleep and itself is important for hormone balance. Cherries are also high in magnesium, which is known for its positive effects on our sleep regimens. Additionally, magnesium can help reduce cortisol and regulate adrenaline in our bodies.
Flaxseeds are rich in plant-based estrogens, especially lignans, which promote hormone balance and provide menstrual support. They’re also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber. Fiber is an excellent probiotic, and the insoluble fiber in flaxseeds encourage bowel movements that help detox your body of excess hormones. To reap benefits from this top food for hormone balance, toss a few handfuls of flaxseeds into a smoothie or bowl of oatmeal.
Avocados are loaded with beta-sitosterol, which can positively affect blood cholesterol levels and help balance cortisol. The plant sterols in avocados also influence estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones responsible for regulating ovulation and menstrual cycles.
Nuts are rich in poly and monounsaturated fats, which are responsible for aiding in blood vessel health and hormone production. They positively impact your endocrine system and help lower cholesterol and insulin levels while maintaining blood sugar.
Brazil nuts are a great source of selenium, a nutrient crucial to hormone balance as it supports overall thyroid health. Next, walnuts are anti-inflammatory and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which promote good brain health. Both walnuts and almonds are healthy sources of protein and antioxidants. They also improve your metabolism and promote naturally glowing skin. They’re great as a snack with a piece of fruit or added to a salad.
Up-level your new hormone-friendly eats with the best vitamins to combat hormonal imbalance.