If you want long-term control over your health and particularly, your hormones, then start by boosting your diet. This doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to make some strategic choices that give you max results. So, to help you get started, this post covers the top 5 hormone-balancing foods to eat every day (or at least every other day!).
Now, just so we’re clear, these are not the only foods that support our hormones.
But…these pack the most punch nutritionally, which means you feel better sooner.
And the best part is that these are regular foods that you can find everywhere.
So, let’s dive in!
TOP 5 FOODS TO EAT FOR HORMONE BALANCE
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
From unfiltered water and pesticides to plastics and birth control…we are constantly exposed to synthetic estrogen.
All of this contributes to excess estrogen/estrogen dominance and increased toxicity.
And one of the best ways to counteract excess estrogen is to eat more cruciferous veggies.
These veggies contain glucosinolates, which are sulfur-based compounds that support the liver and make it easier to get rid of excess estrogen and other toxins.
In addition, crucifers contain a lot of fiber, which helps a lot in populating the gut (another hormone production center) with healthy bacteria.
Choose from these cruciferous veggies:
Do keep in mind that if you have thyroid issues, it’s generally recommended that you eat cruciferous veggies in cooked form: steamed, sauteed, roasted or boiled.
This is because these veggies contain goitrogens, which can interfere with the thyroid’s ability to absorb iodine.
Cooking reduces the amount of goitrogens that your body absorbs.
But just make sure to not overcook them because that can also kill essential nutrients.
A good way to test whether you’ve overcooked them or not is through the crunch. If they have some crunch you’re good. If they’re soft and lifeless, then they’re likely overdone.
2. Plant Proteins
No matter what type of hormonal imbalance you’re struggling with, inflammation is one of the underlying causes.
And one of the major contributors of inflammation is animal proteins.
Not only are meats harder to digest than plants, but many animals are given antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified soy.
And yes, even farm-raised fish contains many of these toxins too.
All of those things cause significant inflammation, disrupt gut bacteria/function and increase the body’s toxic load.
So, switching to plant proteins gives your body a chance to rest, so that inflammation can go down and your gut can heal.
Now you may be wondering if this means that you have to go vegan or vegetarian?
And the answer is no, you don’t.
But remember that the goal is to eat more of an anti-inflammatory diet.
And an anti-inflammatory diet is always going to be mostly (but not exclusively) plant-based.
(Side note: fatty fish, like salmon and sardines contain omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory. While you still don’t want to eat them every day, fish is the only animal food that is considered truly anti-inflammatory.)
Here are some plant proteins that are ideal for a hormone balancing diet:
Now, before we wrap up this section, let’s have a quick look at soy.
Soy is a good source of plant protein.
However, there’s concern that it can contribute to estrogen imbalance.
Many blame it on the phytoestrogens in soy.
But if that was truly the cause then the men and women in Asian countries, where soy is heavily consumed, would face the same estrogen-related issues that we face in the West.
So, here’s my take on soy:
- Consume mainly fermented soy. Fermented soy is what most Asian cultures consume and that seems to contribute to its health benefits. Fermented soy products to choose from are tamari sauce, tempeh and natto.
- Buy organic soy. Most of the soy in the U.S. is GMO soy. GMO soy plants are very resistant to pesticides. This means they can be sprayed with way more pesticides, which means we get more pesticide residue when we eat them. Unfortunately, pesticides are estrogen-based compounds, so they contribute to hormone imbalance. Therefore if you’re going to eat soy, go for organic soy.
3. Foods That Are High in Natural Fats
Fats are the raw material for:
- corticosteroids (hormones produced by the adrenal glands)
- progestagens (such as progesterone)
- androgens (male hormones like testosterone and DHEA)
Without enough healthy, natural fat in your diet, your body is basically starved of the raw material that it needs to make all of those hormones.
So, it’s important to eat healthy fats on the regular.
Here are some to choose from:
|Grapeseed oil||Macadamia nut oil|
|Sesame oil||Walnut Oil|
|Hemp seed oil||Coconut oil|
|Butter (organic)||Eggs (organic, pasture-raised)|
4. Antioxidant-Rich Fruits
Antioxidants help the body fight off the damaging effects of inflammation.
And fruits are one of the best (though not the only) sources of antioxidants.
Now, technically speaking all fruits contain antioxidants.
So, you really can’t go wrong with any fruit as long as it’s whole and unprocessed fruit.
And each fruit has different antioxidants.
Therefore, you want to eat a variety of fruits to ensure that you’re getting the benefits of everything that’s available in nature.
Here are some antioxidant-rich fruits to choose from:
5. Green Vegetables
Green veggies have one huge benefit: they contain chlorophyll, which is the compound that gives them their green color.
And that chlorophyll is great for hormone balance because it supports detoxification.
Whether we’re talking external toxins or excess hormones, the more detoxification that your body needs to do, the more support it needs.
In addition, many green veggies contain vitamins and minerals that the body uses to fight off inflammation.
Now, you will notice that some green veggies are also cruciferous veggies.
So, you basically get a 2-for-1 if you eat vegetables that fit into both categories!
Here are some green vegetables to include in your hormone balance diet:
|Collard greens||Dandelion greens|
|Green bell peppers|
HERBS THAT CAN BALANCE FEMALE HORMONES
Even though this post is mainly about hormone balance foods, I want to quickly touch on herbs because they’re basically food too!
The great thing about herbs is that you can easily sneak them into your meals.
From soups and salads, to smoothies and juices, herbs are quite versatile.
So, here are a few herbs for female hormones that you can easily incorporate into your meals:
- Stinging nettle (can be used in soups and other cooked dishes; works as a substitute for spinach)
- Ginger (cooked dishes, smoothies and juices)
- Turmeric (cooked dishes, smoothies and juices)
- Cilantro (cooked dishes, smoothies and juices)
- Parsley (cooked dishes, smoothies and juices)
- Cinnamon (desserts, baked goods, cooked dishes, smoothies)
- Fennel (cooked dishes)
- Cloves (desserts, cooked dishes)
This is a very short list of household herbs and spices that you can use to support your hormones.
At this point, you know which foods to eat.
But you might be wondering “how can I avoid getting bored with these ingredients? And how do I turn them into a variety of delicious meals?”
What tea is good for hormonal balance?
Some of the best teas for female hormones include stinging nettle, chamomile, hibiscus and red clover.
The choice of which tea to use will vary depending on your phase of life and symptoms.
For more details recommend reading this post on the 10 herbal teas for balancing women’s hormones.
Is cinnamon good for hormonal imbalance?
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory spice that regulates blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and supports gut health. These properties make it very helpful for hormonal imbalance.
In addition, cinnamon can also help with PMS, PCOS and weight loss.
Learn more in this guide to using cinnamon for hormone imbalance.
Does apple cider vinegar balance female hormones?
Since apple cider vinegar is fermented, it contains probiotics that support the gut.
And a healthy gut is essential for hormone balance.
In addition, apple cider vinegar regulates blood sugar and improves insulin resistance.
These two benefits can help with weight loss, PCOS and irregular periods.
For more on the benefits of apple cider vinegar and other drinks, read this post on what to drink for hormone balance.
What tea is good for menopause?
Hibiscus tea is one of the best teas for menopause because it improves hot flashes and sleep, supports weight loss and helps regulate blood pressure.
Learn more about hibiscus and how to use it in this post on hibiscus tea and menopause.
Is tea good for PCOS?
Yes, any anti-inflammatory tea is very helpful for PCOS. One tea that has been shown to be very helpful for PCOS is spearmint tea.
Research shows that women with PCOS who drink two cups of spearmint tea every day have lower androgen levels, along with higher LH, FSH and estradiol levels (source).
Balancing your hormones through diet is much easier to do when you know which foods will give you the best, most high impact results.
Use the foods in this post as a starting point to take charge of your health.
And if you have any questions or comments about this topic, feel free to leave your feedback below 🙂