Hormonal imbalances basically mean that there is not enough or too much hormones in your body. And while this may sound like a no big deal, they can significantly affect your overall well-being in a negative way – mood swings, weight gain, low libido, acne, and fatigue are just a few of the possible symptoms that may occur. And if your condition gets worse, you’re more than likely to get a closer look at medical equipment, such as the one available at Heartland Medical.
Although there are various treatments for hormonal imbalances – from birth control medications to hormone replacement therapies – that are prescribed depending on an individual case, you can incorporate some changes into your diet to support your treatment option.
Below, you will find a list of foods to help you balance your hormones, including cruciferous vegetables, healthy fats, fiber, herbs and spices, plant sources of protein and magnesium, among others. Read on and get your hormones back to normal.
Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts, are rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that support your body’s natural detoxification process and help flush out toxins that may be causing hormonal imbalances. They also contain indoles, which can bind to estrogen receptors and block the effects of estrogen.
Studies have shown that increasing your intake of cruciferous vegetables can help reduce breast cancer risk by as much as 50%. Some studies even suggest that cruciferous vegetables may help prevent the onset of other types of cancers.
Healthy fats like omega-3s, found in salmon and fish oils, are an important component of your diet because they are anti-inflammatory and supply many benefits for your overall health. They also play an essential role in balancing your hormones – some studies suggest that adding fish oil to your diet can boost your sex drive and improve your mood.
The best way to incorporate healthy fats into your diet is to include fatty fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring, anchovies, chia seeds (the richest plant source of omega-3s), flaxseeds, and walnuts in your daily menu. Also, try to avoid processed foods and stick to using extra virgin olive oil whenever possible.
Fiber can be found in a variety of whole grains, fruits, and veggies – from artichokes to apples – and it helps promote regularity in your digestive system while keeping you satisfied longer. It also keeps your blood sugar levels stable and prevents insulin spikes and other blood sugar imbalances.
Fiber is especially important for women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) because a high-fiber diet can help reduce insulin resistance, which is commonly associated with PCOS. Other studies have shown that fiber can help keep blood sugar levels balanced and lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. So, make sure you consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.
Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices like turmeric, cilantro, ginger, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme, parsley, and garlic help balance hormones because they contain phytochemicals that act as antioxidants to remove harmful free radicals from your body. Free radicals can disrupt hormone production and release, which is why you want to make sure you’re getting enough antioxidants in your diet. Turmeric is particularly important for balancing hormones because it contains curcumin, which inhibits estrogen synthesis in the body. It has also been used traditionally for its ability to balance female reproductive hormones.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body needs to maintain many crucial chemical processes like energy production, protein synthesis, building muscles, nerve impulses transmission, bone formation, and enzymatic reactions. It is also used for balancing blood sugar levels and regulating hormone secretion by the adrenal glands and the ovaries.
Because magnesium is involved in so many crucial functions within the body that are related to hormone production and balance, it is recommended that you get at least 400mg per day from foods like:
- leafy greens (kale),
- dried fruit (raisins),
- halibut (the highest source of magnesium),
- almonds and cashews,
- pumpkin seeds (a good plant source of magnesium),
- brown rice (a great non-soy source of magnesium),
- black beans (another good non-soy source), broccoli (one of the best non-soy sources), spinach (another good non-soy source),
- whole grains,
- potatoes with skin,
- sunflower seeds,
- dark chocolate bars,
The list can go on and on! And if you’re worried about getting enough magnesium through food alone – drink green tea! It is one of the best sources of absorbable magnesium.
Plant Sources of Protein
If you’re looking for another way to boost your metabolic health as well as add muscle mass – consider consuming more plant-based proteins like tofu or tempeh, beans or lentils, nuts or seeds, quinoa, or a brown rice protein powder substitute, chia seeds, or spirulina powder.
Eating more protein will keep you feeling fuller longer while keeping blood sugar levels stable and preventing insulin spikes, as well as other blood sugar imbalances that naturally occur during menopause or after pregnancy. Protein is also needed for proper cell function, it boosts your metabolism and prevents depression symptoms caused by hormonal imbalances. Make sure you’re getting at least 20g of protein per day from plant-based sources or combine plant proteins with animal proteins to meet this daily requirement.
The Bottom Line
Overall, hormonal imbalances are more common than you think, but they can be easily prevented by eating a diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. Consuming more plant-based proteins and fiber, healthy fats, herbs and spices, and magnesium-rich foods will help you balance your hormones naturally without the use of medications or hormone replacement therapies.
While there are various treatments for hormonal imbalances, you can take the first step to balance your hormones by making specific changes to your diet and lifestyle. Incorporating more of these foods into your everyday diet will help you maintain hormonal balance and support your treatment plan.