Do you experience acne during your cycle? Painful cramping? Missed or inconsistent periods? All of these symptoms can be a sign that your hormones may be slightly out of balance (because your period doesn’t have to be the worst few days of your month).
While our body does an incredible job of orchestrating the symphony that is our hormonal pathways, for some individuals, their sex and adrenal hormones can become out of sync. This can result in fatigue, painful periods, acne, and many other unpleasant symptoms. While there are many supplements available to support healthy hormones, foods and specific nutrients also play an important role! Keep reading for our 5 favorite foods to support hormonal health.
Avocados provide a wide array of vitamins and minerals that all support hormonal health. As a good source of magnesium and fiber, avocados promote healthy estrogen metabolism by supporting the deactivation and elimination of excess estrogen. Avocados are also a great source of healthy fats, which help promote satiety and blood sugar balance.
Elevated insulin, which often accompanies high blood sugar, is a common root cause to certain hormonal imbalances, such as low progesterone and excess testosterone.
How to Eat Them: Including 1-2 servings of avocado per day, as part of a balanced diet, is a great starting place for keeping estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone levels in balance.
Berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, provide an abundant source of antioxidant nutrients. Antioxidants are important for all aspects of cellular health, including healthy hormonal signaling. Furthermore, berries are often a higher fiber fruit, which provides additional fiber to support healthy hormone elimination.
How to Eat Them: Include 1-2 servings of berries each day and pair with protein or fat to keep blood sugar stable.
3. Cruciferous Veggies
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and brussels sprouts are just a few members of the cruciferous vegetable family. These veggies are especially important for supporting our livers’ detoxification pathways. Cruciferous vegetables contain a specific compound which help boost the detoxification of estrogen and transform it into a nontoxic form, which is easily excreted in our stool.
We’ve touched on how fiber can support elimination of excess estrogen by binding to and excreting estrogen metabolites. Cruciferous veggies are also high in fiber—providing an additional boost to hormone detoxification and elimination.
How to Eat Them: For maximal benefit, aim for at least 2 servings of different cruciferous vegetables each day.
4. Nuts & Seeds
As a food category, nuts and seeds are an excellent addition to meals and snacks for their ability to promote satiety after eating. From a hormonal standpoint, nuts and seeds provide even more benefit by increasing a compound called GLP 1, which helps with the digestion of carbohydrates (and they can help balance your hormones through seed cycling). This compound increases insulin sensitivity and helps to keep blood sugar balanced after a meal. As we’ve discussed, balanced blood sugar is one of the central features of healthy balanced hormones.
How to Eat Them: Include a small handful of nuts and seeds a few times per day for optimal hormone health.
5. Raw Fermented & Pickled Veggies
Fermented foods provide an excellent source of probiotics by providing a variety of bacterial strains. Including probiotic-rich foods help support the diversity of the intestinal microbiome. Having a diverse array of microorganisms within our digestive tract allows for many different beneficial functions, including (you guessed it) optimal hormone metabolism!
How to Eat Them: To best support digestive and hormonal health, add a serving of a raw fermented or pickled vegetable to one meal per day.
BONUS: Green Tea!
Our list of hormone-supporting foods would not be complete without our favorite healthy hormone beverage! Green tea contains a specific compound called EGCG which offers many different benefits when it comes to hormonal health. For one thing, EGCG helps block the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. This can be beneficial if you are dealing with estrogen dominance, which is often an underlying factor to PMS, tender breasts, fatigue, low libido, and endometriosis. EGCG has also been shown to reduce insulin resistance and protect against cellular oxidative damage.
How to Drink It: Aim to drink 1 cup of green tea per day.
Want more insight into your hormones? Check out our full hormone series, where we dive deep into Interested in exploring what foods will best support your hormonal concerns? Schedule a visit to learn more!
Dr. Cassie Wilder is a registered Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) and founder of MIMC. Her passion is empowering her patients through education, understanding, and support through their healing journey. After graduating from Iowa State University with a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology and Health, Dr. Wilder earned her Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, a fully accredited and nationally recognized institution in Phoenix, AZ. During her clinical training, she received extensive hands-on training with many leading experts in the field of functional medicine and developed a passion for treating hormonal imbalances, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular concerns, and adrenal fatigue.