11 Foods That Can Help Balance Your Hormones Naturally
When it comes to changes in our hormones or issues related to these changes such as stress or PMS, we often don't think to turn to food as a remedy. However, certain foods can help balance out your hormones, and including these foods in your diet can help level out your body and improve your overall health without having to take any medication. Although everyone's body reacts differently, incorporating these health foods can help to at least ensure a healthy diet, which can keep your body functioning optimally.
"Hormones control nearly every aspect of how we feel, and insulin, serotonin, cortisol and dopamine, not to mention estrogen and testosterone, can all be effected by food choices we make," says Marci Clow, MS, RD and Senior Nutritionist at Rainbow Light to Bustle over email. "Each macronutrient (fat, carbohydrate and protein) plays a role in how hormones function and how they are synthesized in the body."
On the flip side, unhealthy foods such as sugar, high glycemic foods, and alcohol can have a negative impact on your hormones, so it's important to only eat these foods in moderation, says Lindsay Langford, MS, RD, CSSD to Bustle over email.
If you want help keep your hormones in balance the natural way, try incorporating these 11 foods into your diet.
"Avocados are loaded with beta-sitosterol, which can effect blood cholesterol levels and help balance the stress hormone cortisol," says Clow. The plant sterols present in avocados also have an effect on estrogen and progesterone, the two hormones responsible for regulating ovulation and menstrual cycles, according to LIVESTRONG.
Flaxseed is a significant source of phytoestrogens, and it specifically contains a type of phytoestrogen called lignans. "Lignans have both an estrogenic and antiestrogenic effect, and they have been suggested to have protective benefits against certain types of cancer," says Clow.
This cruciferous vegetable can help maintain estrogen balance, and since it is so high in calcium, it can also help with premenstrual syndrome, according to LIVESTRONG. "Broccoli contains phytoestogenic compounds which may promote beneficial estrogen metabolism, helping to rid environmental, or 'bad' estrogens from the body," says Clow.
This antioxidant-filled fruit can help block excess estrogen production in the body, according to a study from the American Association for Cancer Research. "Pomegranates have a natural compound that may inhibit the enzyme in women’s bodies that converts estrone into estradiol, which is a powerful estrogen that may play a role in origin of hormone dependent cancers," says Clow.
"Beans positively affect hormone response because of the fiber and lignan effect on fat cells, which can lead to improved appetite control," says Ginny Erwin, MS RDN CPT over email. Beans can also help regulate estrogen.
Fatty fish such as salmon and sardines provide excellent good fats for cell-to-cell communication, which leads to overall improved hormonal communication, says Erwin. This can lead to improved mood and cognition.
7. Leafy Greens
Nutrient-rich foods such as leafy greens are ideal for balancing hormones. Because they're filled with so many antioxidants, leafy greens help prevent inflammation and lower levels of stress, which can help improve cortisol levels, according to SFGate.com. They can also help with estrogen balance.
Nuts like almonds have an effect on your endocrine system, which can assist in lowering your levels of cholesterol, according to LIVESTRONG. They can also help lower insulin and maintain blood sugar levels.
Most of us know that soy affects estrogen levels, but eating the bean can have some positive benefits, especially during menopause. "Edamame and tofu in small amounts have estrogen-like effects on menopausal women," says Erwin. This can help diminish symptoms such as hot flashes, according to WebMD.
Turmeric contains an active chemical curcumin, which mimics the activity of estrogen. The root can help minimize menstrual pain, such as period cramps.
Because quinoa is a complex carbohydrate, it can help keep your blood sugar levels steady, which in turn keeps insulin and androgen levels at bay, says Trevor Cates, ND to Prevention.
Eating a good combination of healthy foods can keep your hormones balanced, but if you are experiencing anything out of the ordinary, you should always visit a doctor.
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