Living with hormonal imbalance, can feel like you’re a slave to your symptoms.
It’s like you’re trapped, and your only option is to cope as best you can so that your symptoms don’t make your life worse.
It’s time to flip the script.
Truth is, with the right hormone balancing diet plan, you can free yourself and live a healthy, happy life on your terms!
And this post is going to show you how to do just that with a simple yet powerful tool: your diet.
It’s amazing how every meal gives us a new opportunity to contribute to our healing.
And since we all have to eat, we might as well make each meal as nourishing and healing as possible, right? 🙂
So, if you want to learn which foods, drinks and supplements to use for hormonal imbalance, keep reading!
Note: this post contains affiliate links and I earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you use them to make a purchase.
FOODS TO AVOID IN YOUR HORMONAL IMBALANCE MEAL PLAN
When it comes to foods that contribute to hormonal imbalance, there are 5 main categories to be aware of:
- Conventional animal products
- Ready-made pastries and breads
- Pesticide-heavy foods
- Packaged foods
- Fast food
Let’s look a little closer at each one.
Conventional Animal Products
Conventional (non-organic) animal products contain antibiotics and growth hormones.
This creates two issues:
- First, antibiotics are harmful to the gut. And as a result they prevent the gut from doing its part when it comes to hormone regulation.
- Secondly, the growth hormones given to animals are meant for animals, not humans. So, eating food products made from those animals exposes you to foreign hormones and increases your toxic load.
Ready-Made Pastries and Breads
Ever heard of brominated (or bromated) flour?
It’s baking flour with potassium bromate added to it.
Potassium bromate makes dough more elastic and also causes it to rise more…which means the resulting pastry or bread will be much fluffier.
Potassium bromate is a problem for your thyroid because it contains bromine.
You see, bromine competes with iodine (which is a must-have nutrient for thyroid function).
So, when there’s bromine in your body, it will prevent iodine from going to your thyroid.
In addition, potassium bromate is a potential carcinogen (source).
As a matter of fact, because of the health risks, bromate is banned in many countries.
But it’s not banned in the U.S. yet. For now, the FDA encourages bakers to stop using it.
As you can imagine, without an official ban, there are companies still using bromate.
So, be mindful of this if you regularly consume store-bought pastries (including things like pizza dough).
It’s impossible to avoid everything 100% of the time. So your best bet is to reduce consumption as much as possible.
The popular pesticides that are sprayed on our food are estrogen-based.
So, consuming foods with high amounts of pesticides exposes you to synthetic forms of estrogen.
And this can lead to one or more of the following:
- estrogen dominance
- increased toxicity
- overworked liver (since it has to filter out all toxins from the blood)
In addition, pesticides also interfere with the function of an enzyme called aromatase.
If you’re not familiar with aromatase, it converts the natural androgens (male hormones) that the female body produces into estrogen.
This means that if aromatase function is disrupted by pesticides, then you end up with higher than normal levels of androgens.
Many packaged foods contain natural flavors (which are anything but natural), additives and preservatives that increase toxicity.
And some of these additives, like MSG (monosodium glutamate) mess up the function of hormones like leptin (which regulates when we stop eating).
Fast foods generally have the same issues as packaged foods: they’re loaded with unnatural flavors, preservatives and additives.
They can sometimes use genetically modified foods too.
So, all in all, you’re better off avoiding them when possible.
TOP FOODS TO INCLUDE IN A HORMONE BALANCING EATING PLAN
The two most significant things you can do for your hormones is to eat foods that are
- Whole and nutrient-dense.
If you can do both, great!
However, if you’re worried about your food budget, then focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Add in organic whenever you can.
Now, having said that there are some cases where organic is a must, simply because the alternative would be too toxic.
Everything is outlined in the relevant sections below.
1. Plant Proteins
Eating more plant proteins and less animal proteins is an important part of supporting your hormones.
The best plant proteins to choose from are:
- red beans
- black beans
- pinto beans
- cannellini beans
- lima beans
Soy products, like tofu and edamame, are also good sources of protein.
However, soy can worsen hormonal imbalance for some women.
Even though some put the blame on soy’s phytoestrogens, I have another theory.
Most of the soy on the market is genetically modified.
And genetically modified soy is designed to withstand pesticides.
This means that GMO soy is actually sprayed with a lot more pesticides than non-GMO soy.
End result? Your soy products will have higher pesticide residue.
So, when it comes to soy, you can:
- either avoid it completely or proceed cautiously.
- choose organic for those times when you decide to consume it.
- eat more fermented forms of soy instead (such as natto, tempeh, miso, fermented tofu). Many Asian cultures that benefit from the health benefits of soy eat mostly fermented soy (it’s the opposite in the U.S. and most of the West).
And while we’re on the topic of plant proteins, they’re great for adding to your smoothies.
When used in powder form, proteins make your smoothies more filling and provide an extra nutritional boost.
Best part? You can get them in different flavors (or plain).
2. Probiotic-rich Foods
Fermented foods contain probiotics which increase the amount of friendly bacteria in your gut.
This goes a long way for hormone health because the gut makes hormones and also plays a role in detoxification.
Some probiotic-rich foods to choose from are:
- coconut yogurt
- sauerkraut and other fermented veggies
- organic yogurt (sparingly)
3. Gluten-Free Grains
Modern wheat is grown, processed and used in such a way that it can cause inflammation.
Inflammation increases cortisol, overworks the adrenals and suppresses thyroid function.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to eat mostly gluten-free grains as your body heals.
- rolled oats
- brown rice
- white rice
4. Whole Fruits and Veggies
When it comes to fruits and veggies, get them fresh or frozen.
Just make sure to check the label when buying them frozen – the ingredients should be the fruit only. NO preservatives or additives.
Fruits and veggies contain various antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that the body needs.
So eating a variety of them will give you a wider variety of nutrients.
FRUITS (this is just a selection; use what’s available in your area or in season):
- melons (honeydew, cantaloupe, hami, etc.)
All veggies are good for you, fresh or frozen
However, when your hormones are out of whack, increase your consumption of cruciferous veggies.
They contain sulfur, which the body uses to make glutathione.
Glutathione is a major detoxifier and it binds to toxins, then removes from the body.
Cruciferous veggies to choose from:
- bok choy
- collard greens
- mustard greens
- brussel sprouts
- garden cress
Aside from the above, rotate in other vegetables to once again cover all your nutritional needs. Choose from:
- mustard greens
- green beans
- dandelion greens
- bell peppers
- potatoes (sweet, red, yukon, japanese purple)
- snow peas
- snap peas
5. Spices, Herbs and Salts
Not only do spices, herbs and salts contain nutrients, but some (like cilantro, parsley, ginger or turmerics) are known to detox the body, and fight inflammation.
Feel free to use any herbs and spices that you enjoy.
Here’s a shortlist to start you off:
- pink himalayan salt
- red hawaiin salt
- pure, unrefined sea salt
- black pepper
6. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which the body needs to:
- Make hormones
- Fight inflammation
When choosing your fish, stay away from farmed fish.
It contains a whole lot of chemicals that your body simply doesn’t need.
Instead, go for wild-caught fish.
Your total consumption of both fish and other meat should be no more than 3 times a week.
7. Organic Meat
We’ve already established that conventional meat contains compounds that interfere with hormone health.
So, when buying any type of meat go for organic, antibiotic-free and hormone-free varieties.
You can choose from:
- grass-fed beef
Also, be aware that meat takes a lot more effort to digest (compared to plant proteins or even fish). And since we want to reduce the amount of stress on the body, it’s important to consume meats just a few times a week. I generally suggest no more than 3 times a week in total.
In addition, while we’re on the topic of meat, bone broth is a fantastic source of healing nutrients for the gut. It’s packed with minerals and 17 different amino acids – including collagen (source)!
And unlike eating actual meat, bone broth is easy on the digestive system because it’s a liquid.
So, definitely consider adding bone broth to your hormone balance diet plan. You can make your own or buy it – but just make sure it’s made from the bones of grass-fed, antibiotic-free and hormone-free cows.
8. Plant-based Milk
Plant-based milks are a healthier, anti-inflammatory source of proteins compared to cow milk.
So, it’s a good idea to choose from one or more of these milks as your support your body’s healing:
- almond milk
- oat milk
- cashew milk
- macadamia nut milk
- rice milk
Be aware that many brands use undesirable additives and preservatives in plant milks.
Shop around for clean brands like Three Trees.
Or make your own.
However, if neither of the above options are practical, then just buy what’s available to you.
As long as you’re reducing your toxic load from other sources and eating other nutrient-rich foods, your body will make progress.
9. Cold-Pressed Cooking Oils and Fats
When it comes to oils, you simply want to go for cold-pressed, non-hydrogenated ones.
- grapeseed oil
- palm oil
- organic butter
- avocado oil
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- hemp seed oil
10. Gluten-Free Baking Flours
Earlier we talked about eating gluten-free grains to keep stress and inflammation low.
The same thing applies to flour.
Favor gluten-free varieties as much as possible:
- almond flour
- coconut flour
- garbanzo flour
- brown rice flour
- spelt flour
- buckwheat flour
11. Raw Nuts and Seeds
Raw nuts and seeds are excellent sources of proteins, as well as healthy fats, which are needed to make hormones, as well as to support the gut and liver.
The main ones to add to your diet include:
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- sesame seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
12. Natural and Unrefined Sweeteners
Refined sugar is one of the most pro-inflammatory, hormone-disruptive foods in our food supply.
For hormone health, use only natural and unprocessed sweeteners, such as:
- raw honey
- maple syrup
- unrefined green stevia leaves or powder (NOT stevia drops or other types of refined white stevia)
- date sugar
SUPPLEMENTS TO SUPPORT YOUR HORMONE BALANCE DIET
While supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet, they are essential for covering nutritional gaps in your diet.
This is because supplements allow you to take in high quantities of nutrients in one go.
In fact, much more than you could physically eat!
Plus, there are more and more nutrients missing from commercially farmed food (compared to say, 100 years ago).
And that means you can end up with one or more nutrient deficiencies.
If your diet is missing some nutrients, this can throw off your sleep, menstrual cycle, skin health…and also make it more difficult for your body to fight off toxins.
Supplements are a sort of health insurance policy that you’re investing in for your hormones.
When combined with a healthy diet, supplements give you faster results and make your life much easier!
Now, for the purposes of hormone health, there are 3 different supplements that I always recommend for hormone health.
1. Complete daily multivitamin and multi-mineral formula
If you use nothing else when it comes to supplements, then at least use this.
A complete multivitamin and multi-mineral formula is exactly what the name implies: a supplement that provides the full spectrum of 90 essential vitamins and minerals that every human body needs.
My favorite for many years now has been BTT 2.0 (Beyond Tangy Tangerine 2.0)
2. Herbal formula for women
The reproductive organs, digestive system (particularly, the liver) and nervous system all play a significant role in balancing hormones.
And one of the best ways to support those systems is with herbs.
My favorite, all-around herbal blend for women is called Women’s Balance.
3. Detoxifying and nutrient-dense powder
Wheatgrass, spirulina, moringa and chlorella are a few greens that are particularly high in nutrients and detoxifying compounds.
They can be tricky to include in everyday meals.
So I like using them in a powder blend.
For this, my top choice is Green Juice Powder, which contains all of those greens and a few other healing ingredients.
Now, there’s no shortage of products on the market that fit into the above categories.
So, if you have a good quality supplement brand that you already like to use, then you can buy from them.
Otherwise, go ahead and check out my personal favorites in this article on supplements for female hormonal imbalance.
That post gives you a detailed review of each product, what’s in it and why I endorse it.
DRINKS TO INCLUDE IN A DIET PLAN FOR HORMONAL IMBALANCE
The last piece of a hormone balancing diet plan that actually works is figuring out what to drink.
And the good news is you’re not stuck drinking water only (even though that’s important too)!
To regulate your hormones you can drink:
- fermented drinks like kombucha and kefir
- green tea
- salt water
- apple cider vinegar
- herbal tea
On this particular topic, I have various resources that you can use to learn the how-tos and to get recipes!
I suggest reading the following for more details:
PRINTABLE (PDF) HORMONE BALANCING EATING PLAN
Now it’s time to put everything we’ve covered into action! I’ve put together a free, download that includes the list of hormone-friendly foods to eat, as well as a summary of the guidelines.
Grab your free copy here and print it out whenever you need a quick overview of what to eat for hormone support.
And if you’d like even more resources to simplify your life, then grab my collection of 100 recipes or my detox program here.
What herbs are good for hormone balance?
Some herbs that help to balance hormones include vitex, red clover and dandelion.
To learn more about these herbs and others, I recommend reading this post on herbs that balance female hormones.
Can balancing hormones help with weight loss?
Balancing hormones definitely facilitates weight loss because there are multiple hormones that dictate how easily we lose (or gain) weight.
This includes hormones like cortisol, insulin and estrogen.
For an in-depth look at all the hormones that affect weight loss and how to regulate them, read this post on weight gain caused by hormones.
How do you know if you have too much estrogen?
The best way to know for sure is to have your doctor test your hormones.
Testing for high estrogen usually involves checking the levels of multiple estrogens, as well as the ratio of estrogen to other hormones (particularly progesterone and testosterone).
For a deeper dive into high estrogen and how to correct it, read this guide on how to get rid of estrogen dominance naturally.
Ok, we covered a lot of ground!
So, for a quick recap, the best diet for hormone balance is:
- full of nutrient-dense, whole foods.
- Iow in toxic chemicals.
- high in anti-inflammatory, liver-friendly, gut-friendly and detox-friendly foods.
- complemented by high quality supplements.
- low in highly processed or fast foods.
I hope this post provided some clarity into how you can start putting together a diet that supports your hormone transformation.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback, drop a comment below!