How to balance hormones with food is not that complicated, especially when you focus on the foods you eat. Eating these seven foods in particular can support your hormones, and easy to eat in smoothies or salads or alone. An easy way to better moods, weight-control, overall health and more.
How to balance hormones with foods is such a popular route to take because we eat every day. And you want to balance hormones because hormone levels play a strong role in many aspects of your life. They impact moods and energy, to weight-loss, better skin and fertility, and even how long you live. The trouble is, it is easy to throw them out of whack.
Hormones Level Disruptors
Many factors can throw off our hormone levels. Eating the wrong things, lack of sleep, stress, birth control, even environmental impacts such as air pollution or the absorption of BPA from cans and plastic.
Did you know that even the slippery chemical-filled film on the cash register recipe you are handed after shopping can disrupt your hormones? The good news you can take steps to put them back in line.
Signs of Hormone Imbalance
You cannot always tell if you have a hormone imbalance, so visit your doctor for a definitive answer, but some general signs include:
- Unexplained weight changes.
- Numbness in your hands.
- Slow or Rapid heartbeat.
- High cholesterol levels.
- Depression or anxiety.
How to Balance Hormones
There are many ways, including sleeping well, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, watching your gut health, reducing stress.
But food plays a primary role, whole foods in particular. Getting enough protein with a complete balance of amino acids because your body cannot make them is essential. That's because amino acids are needed to produce peptide hormones which control energy, metabolism, the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular systems, energy expenditure, and reproduction..
You can also strongly support balanced hormones with other foods that provide other essentials. While a balanced diet is best of course, if you focus on at least consuming dark leafy greens, avocados, chia seeds, almonds, maca powder, quinoa, and dark chocolate, you are off to a good start. These seven foods eaten daily in some form are an excellent starting point toward balanced hormones. Add in a balanced, healthy diet, proper exercise, sleep and reduced stress, and you stand a great chance for balancing those hormones. Even with the hormone disruptors in our world today.
The 7 Foods
Here is the detail and amounts you should eat daily of the 7 whole food ingredients that can help balance your hormones.
- 1. Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Collards + Parsley) – at least 1 cup a day
- 2. Avocados – exactly ½ an avocado a day
- 3. Chia seeds – 1 tablespoon a day
- 4. Almonds – 11 almonds a day (or 2 tablespoon almond flour)
- 5. Maca Powder – 1 teaspoon a day (I use this brand)
- 6. Quinoa – 2 tablespoon a day
- 7. Dark chocolate – 6gms a day (1-2 squares) or 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder.
And here is how these ingredients impact your hormones:
Dark Leafy Greens (Spinach, Kale, Collards)
- Contain 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.
– 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. It also tends to promote a healthier progesterone to estrogen balance.
– 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.
- 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. Technically the Food & Drug Administration allows a daily portion of almonds to be up to ⅓ cup. However, studies show 11 daily are beneficial to obtain the amount of healthy unsaturated fat and minerals the body needs to balance hormones, among other benefits without adding to weight-gain.
– Is a hormone boosting veggie from the radish family that supports hormonal balance that can impact skin, hair and reduce PMS symptons. Read an NIH study about the positive impact on balanced hormones.
– 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!
Ways To Eat
Add leafy greens to a sandwich, a smoothie, or use collard leaves as the "wrap" in a roll.
Add the one-half avocado to salads, sandwiches or just eat on its own.
Chia seeds can be tossed in a smoothie, on yogurt or cereal, or actually mixed into a chia pudding.
Almonds can be eaten alone, or added to just about any recipe.
Maca powder can be stirred into any drink or stirred into yogurt or protein overnight oats.
And dark chocolate. You can eat straight chocolate, the darkest possible and at least 70% chocolate or you can add cocoa to a recipe. My chocolate smoothie is a good start.
These recipes include many of the seven foods mention above.
Other Ways to Balance Hormones
Seed cycling is another way to balance hormones. Generally it involves eating four healthy seeds, pumpkin sunflower, sesame and flaxseeds. And even if you don't want to eat them in a cycling pattern, general advice is that eating all these seeds daily contribute to a healthy hormone balance. Read exactly what seed cycling is here.
One way to eat the seeds is to make a custom protein bar. Here is my tutorial here how to make custom protein bars.
--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