10 Super-Foods for Your Hormonal Balance
While there is no perfect diet, there are some shining stars when it comes to food and hormonal balance. Learn what foods you can invite into your diet to help find balance and ease for your hormonal health.
So many women deal with common hormonal imbalances and there are daily food choices that you can make to help reduce or eliminate symptoms such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, PMS, brain fog, stubborn weight gain, hot flashes, acne, and hair loss.
As I have stated before, and will state again (and again, and again…) there is no one perfect diet. Every body is so different in their unique and complex chemical and biological design. What we DO know is that there are certain foods that are particularly awesome when it comes to hormone balancing. So many women deal with common hormonal imbalances and there are daily food choices that you can make to help reduce or eliminate symptoms such as mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, PMS, brain fog, stubborn weight gain, hot flashes, acne, and hair loss.
Do I have your attention?
If you are struggling with any of the above symptoms, check out this list of super hormone foods, and start by inviting one in per day. As I tell all of my patients, it’s not a race. Start small, intentional, and build from there. I’m all about commitment, but what I am looking to build is sustainable change, not month long fads that fall off once life shoots us a curveball. One of the most important ingredients that we need for any dietary shift or healing journey is compassion and patients for ourselves. These super foods can have you feeling super awesome: trust the journey as you invite them carefully into your life.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts are true hormone superstars. These vegetables are high in certain compounds that support our livers in properly metabolizing and excreting hormones. This is important because excess of certain hormones in the body can be reabsorbed and used again, leading to an overabundance of one hormone, while overpowering others. This is most true for estrogen dominating over progesterone. This is the most common hormonal imbalance I see. Eating these veggies every day will ensure that your liver can do it’s important job of detoxification. These foods are also high in many vitamins and minerals that our bodies love.
2. Ground raw flax seed
After the liver does its important detoxification work, the bowels step up to carry out the refuse through our poop. Pooping is essential for hormonal balance (really, pooping is essential for almost everything.) What is essential for pooping? Fibre! Fibre bulks our stools, binds certain compounds, and helps carry it out of the body. Ground flax has a particularly affinity for estrogen, helping to bind it and ensuring it’s removal. Ground flax is also considered phytoestrogenic, meaning it will move the body in the direction it requires for estrogen balance. Don’t have enough? Flax can bind to some receptors, increasing estrogenic activity. Too much estrogen? Flax will bind it and carry it out. Raw flax is also high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are super important for hormonal synthesis, decreasing inflammation (bye-bye cramps), and mood stability. These must be ground, as our body cannot break down or digest the hulled seeds.
Avocado has to be one of the healthiest fruits in the world. It is rich in fibre and fat, which is essentially a hormone dream food. Because of their fat and fibre content, they do an incredible job of balancing your blood sugar throughout the day. This is so important for hormonal balance. Unstable blood sugar creates a wonky cycle of insulin and cortisol, resulting in symptoms of energy crashes, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, and nausea. These powerhouse’s of nutrition are calorically dense, so a small serving can go a long way.
4. Wild-caught salmon
I don’t believe there is a super food list that does not include salmon. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Omega 3 fatty acids are both needed to build hormones themselves and transport them throughout the body by improving blood flow. They are also anti-inflammatory, which can help with symptoms such as acne, cramping, and headaches that flare with your cycles. Lastly, omega 3 FAs are one of the best researched nutrients to support a healthy mood.
5. Fermented Foods
For optimal hormone balance, you need a healthy, vital digestive system. When your digestion is not optimal, you cannot metabolize your hormones properly. One way to optimize digestive function is through probiotic-rich foods. Fermented delights include kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt. You also want to ensure you include foods we call pre-biotics: foods high in a beneficial fibre for the bacteria to feed on and thrive. These foods include onions, jerusalem artichoke, leeks, and chicory root.
6. Green Tea
Green tea has a laundry list of health benefits, hormone supporting included. Green tea has been shown to boost metabolism, support the liver’s detoxification pathways, help eliminate excess androgens (bye acne!), and provide anti-inflammatory support though its high antioxidant profile. Green tea also contains a compound called theanine, which is great for lowering cortisol and calming the nervous system.
7. Broccoli sprouts
Broccoli sprouts get a mention on their own due to their very high content of a compound called
Sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is one of the most potent antioxidants and detoxifiers known. Research is exploding around the health benefits and treatment potential of these simple sprouts. These are especially important for estrogen dominant hormonal conditions. Adding broccoli sprouts each day to your meals will help reset estrogen and lower your risk of cancer.
What does turmeric not do?! When it comes to hormonal support, turmeric is a great option for any symptoms that are inflammatory in nature: cramping, headaches, joint pain, and stiffness. Best consumed with fat, my favourite way to consume this herb is golden milk. You can find a million variations on how to make it thanks to Google.
9. Sunflower seeds
These delightful seeds are high in Vitamin E, an antioxidant that is important in estrogen production. These seeds are also often suggested to be used in your luteal phase, due to their ability to naturally increase your progesterone. Low progesterone is a common root cause for many hormonal issues, so these can play a vital role in your hormonal diet. Eat them ground, whole, or as a nut butter (aim for them in their raw form). Always keep nuts and seeds in the fridge to maintain freshness and avoid rancidity.
10. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a naturally high food source of Vitamin B6, a vitamin that helps with liver detoxification, hormone production, neurotransmitter production and more. Vitamin B6 is one of the main nutrients you want to think of when dealing with mood changes throughout your menstrual cycle. Sweet potatoes are also a great complex carbohydrate to include in your diet that will not spike your blood sugar like other common carbs. Other foods rich in Vitamin B 6 include spinach, turkey and chicken. Any food that aids with liver detox is going to also help rid us of any excess hormones.
There you have it! Start now by trying to invite one of these foods every day into your meals. Slowly work up to having 1-2 of these foods with every meal and you will be well on your way to hormonal bliss. For more information on how to balance your hormones, do not hesitate to get in touch here!