Balanced hormones have been linked to everything from improved moods and energy, to weight-loss, better skin and fertility, and even longer life. Trouble is, it is easy to throw them out of whack – eating carbs and sugars, birth control, stress and lack of sleep. Even the onslaught of daily pollution is a sharp endocrine disruptor such as absorption of BPA from the use of plastic.
The good news you can take steps to put them back in line. There are many ways, including sleeping well, exercise, avoid plastics, but food plays a primary role, whole foods in particular. And a few well-placed ingredients daily can work wonders, easily tucked perhaps in a smoothie or parfait.
The Magic 7 List of Ingredients
These 7 plant-based ingredients you probably already eat, yet when eaten methodically and in certain amounts, they can help your journey toward balanced hormones:
- Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Collards + Parsley) – at least 1 cup a day
- Avocados – exactly ½ an avocado a day
- Chia seeds – 1 tbsp a day
- Almonds – 11 almonds a day
- Maca Powder – 1 tsp a day (I use this brand)
- Quinoa – 2 tbsp a day
- Dark chocolate – 6gms a day (1 tiny square of a normal bar)
The Informational Breakdown
And here is how these ingredients impact your hormones:
- Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Collards) – contains substances that boost your liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen which is a GOOD thing. Estrogen bumps up collagen to keep your skin firm, taut, pink and quick to repair. Tossing in a handful of parsley or the like helps with liver detoxification because a well-functioning liver is important for proper hormonal balance.
- Avocados – contain a key component in hormone synthesize healthy fats, which also beef up your skin’s natural lipid bilayers so cells stay hydrated and plump.
- Chia Seeds – Contain Omega-3 fatty acids, the core building block in both cholesterol and hormone synthesis. The chia seeds and avocado are healthy fats; if necessary swap for a tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Almonds – So interesting, just 11 almonds a day can help regulate your blood sugar levels and and even out your hormone levels so your skin looks plumper and cleaner among other benefits. The 11 is considered to contain the exact amount of healthy unsaturated fat and minerals the body needs to balance hormones, among other things.
- Maca Powder – is a hormone boosting veggie from the radish family that supports hormonal balance that can impact skin, hair and reduce PMS symptons.
- Quinoa – balances hormones by keeping your androgen levels even. Quinoa is also full of protein, magnesium and phosphorus. Eat about a cup overall a week for best hormone-balancing benefits.
- Dark Chocolate (70% cacao and up) – Chocolate has many benefits but it can contribute to hormonal balance via its potent magnesium and iron, and ability to lower cortisol and boost mood-impacting hormones, serotonin and dopamine. Just 6gms of 70%+ cacao chocolate bar daily will do the trick!
And finally, now thatI gave you the building blocks to balanced hormones, below I will occasionally add links to recipes I find that incorporate one or more of these ingredients, to help you fold these magic 7 into your daily life. Watch my Instagram for updates on when the next recipe is added!
Recommended Recipes that Include the Magic 7
Pineapple Lime Coconut Parfait – adds quinoa
–2015, July Hormone Balancing Foods Prevention;2015, November Nutritional Psychiatry: Your Brain on Food Harvard Health Publications Harvard Medical School;1998, September Hormone Options Chicago Tribune;2015, October Headaches and Hormones Mayo Clinic
;2015, October Nutrition’s Role In Age-Related Degeneration Mayo Clinic