9 Foods That Balance Your Hormones, According To Experts
Whether it's acne, fatigue, or some serious PMS that you're dealing with, you might have suspected, or been told, that your health concerns have to do with some out of whack hormones. While the best way to deal with this might be with a healthcare professional of some kind, incorporating some foods that balance your hormones is a great way to keep it all in check.
As wellness coach Betsy Leahy tells Bustle, her overall advice for optimal hormone health is to incorporate more plant-based foods into your lifestyle during this time. But she also says that there are certain foods to think about avoiding or moderating when it comes to hormone happiness.
"The liver plays a role in hormone health and some foods can overload the liver, thereby affecting hormones," Leahy says. "Reducing trans-fats, refined sugars as well as to moderate alcohol and caffeine consumption will help"
And finally, she says, although it is not a food, stress is something people should consider big-time, first and foremost, in fact, when the hormones are in question. Stress really affects those cortisol levels, and can oftentimes lead to eating and drinking more types of foods that can cause hormone disruption, she says. Incorporating stress reduction techniques like meditation, exercise, and measured breathing are also an important addition to overall balance.
Take some tips from the pros on what foods to include in your daily meals for optimal hormone health.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Get out that steamer, my friends. It's broccoli time.
"These vegetables are known as hormone cleansers' as they have a compound called Indole 3 Carbimol (I3C) that helps the body eliminate excess estrogen," Dr. Jennifer Pearlman of PearlMD Rejuvenation, tells Bustle.
Cruciferous vegetables high in I3C include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips, and kale, says Dr. Pearlman.
And to increase your intake of I3C, it is best to consume these veggies lightly steamed.
2. Low Sugar Fruits Like Berries
So many delicious berries to choose from, and they are a great low-sugar fruit to help with blood sugar and hormone regulation.
"Berries are packed with loads of antioxidants. Antioxidants are used to protect our cells from damage and to keep our tissues healthy," says Dr. Pearlman.
Put those babies in smoothies, pop them in salads, or just eat them as is.
3. Flax Seeds
Whether you sprinkle them in your oatmeal, bake some into muffins, or throw it in a smoothie, flax is a great option.
"Flax is high in omega-3 essential fatty acids, antioxidants and fibre. It also has a compound called lignans which may have a regulating effect on estrogen levels," says Dr. Pearlman.
She says using freshly ground flax is the best option as "it can oxidize quickly."
4. Swiss Chard And Other Leafy Greens
Iron deficiency is very common in females throughout their reproductive years, and that definitely impacts hormonal levels.
"Only one cup of steamed chard contains four grams of iron and is also packed with vitamin C to help with the absorption of that iron," says Dr. Pearlman.
Other great sources include spinach, collard greens, kale, beet greens, and dandelion greens. Yum!
Trail mix anyone? Or how about some banana bread chock full of walnuts? Walnuts are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, says Dr. Pearlman.
"Polyphenols play an important role in fighting free radicals and protecting our cardiovascular system," she says. "Omega-3s are known to be one of the fundamental building blocks of the brain, critical for brain health and studied to boost mood, improve memory and brain function."
Other rich-sources of Omega-3s include wild fish, ground flaxseed, flax oil, chia seeds, and grass-fed animal products.
Dietician Shira Sussi tells Bustle that turmeric — whether adding it to foods during the cooking process or taking a supplement — helps to support the liver, which is where endocrine disrupters are detoxified.
The good news is, you can add it to just about anything from soup to eggs, so sprinkle a little in whenever the mood strikes.
7. Rice, Almond, Or Coconut Milk
These alternative milks are recommended specifically for mood hormones, because they are high in Vitamin D.
"There are so many studies that have demonstrated vitamin D plays a role with most bodily functions including mood with both women and men," Dr.Elizabeth Trattner tells Bustle. "If we spend little time outside, we need to supplement with vitamin D since we make it from sunlight."
8. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring are great, says Dr. Trattner. The fats in these seafoods have a host of benefits.
"[Fish] can help with depression, lowering inflammation, concentration, focus, cognitive function, mood, brain health and almost every other health condition," says Dr. Trattner.
Not bad, right?
9. Nut Butters
Why are nut butters such a great thing for hormones?
Well, as nutritionist Rachel Fine of To The Pointe Nutrition tells Bustle, your brain measures your level of body fat using leptin, a hormone that’s secreted in your bloodstream to essentially tell your brain how full your are and satisfied from a meal. Filling, plant-based fat sources are a great way to do this.
While feeling the affects of hormonal imbalance can be a struggle, getting things back on track doesn't have to be a total pain. Reach out to a healthcare provider if you're experiencing bothersome issues, and in the meantime, happy mealtime!