One of the simplest ways you can improve your health with your hormones in mind is to eat the right foods for hormonal imbalance. While establishing a healthy diet is no substitute for regular visits to your gynecologist, a proper diet with vegetables and other foods for hormonal imbalance can help you address some of your medical issues and feel healthier.
What Are Some Foods That Can Help With Hormone Balance?
It is important to point out that no one food can fix a hormonal imbalance or alleviate all your symptoms. However, developing a diet full of foods that can help balance your hormones can help you to feel healthier. We’ve created a list of the best foods to improve hormonal balance; while you don’t have to try to incorporate every food on the list, the more you eat, the better you’ll likely feel.
If you have PCOS, consider looking into flaxseed. Studies have supported the positive benefits of flaxseed for women with PCOS. For example, flaxseeds contain lignans, a polyphenol chemical compound that can help you balance your estrogen levels and reduce PCOS symptoms. A serving of just two tablespoons a day could show health benefits.
Getting flaxseed into your diet is as simple as putting them in some of the foods you’re already making. For instance, you can add some flaxseed to your breakfast cereal in the morning or include it on a spread for a sandwich. You could also consider incorporating it into your favorite baked goods or sprinkling over a salad.
Avocados are a delicious superfood that has numerous health benefits. Avocados are full of monounsaturated fats and help with hormone production in a natural way. While you may not be able to make a meal out of an avocado, it pairs well with many other foods and dishes and can improve your health.
Adding avocado to your diet isn’t too difficult, as you can find it in much of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, whether through guacamole or as a topping on a taco. Additionally, you can spread an avocado on toast instead of cream cheese or butter for a tasty and healthy breakfast or lunch option.
Eating any leafy green is a good way to kickstart a healthy diet, but spinach is one of the best for you. Leafy greens provide you with plenty of phytonutrients – compounds produced by plants to help them fight bacteria, viruses, and fungi. This food can be especially useful for women dealing with PCOS and other hormonally-influenced conditions, as studies show it can assist you with hormone balance.
One of the simplest ways to add spinach is by including it as one of your greens of choice in a salad. Spinach also has the benefit of acting as a food chameleon, and it can be easily incorporated into many recipes. You can add it to a savory dish by cooking it down or toss it into a blender with your morning smoothie for added nutrition.
Broccoli, as well as any other food in the brassica family like cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, turnips, and Brussels sprouts, have been shown to improve liver health, which can help your body address hormone metabolism. Broccoli also improves gut health, which can reduce the imbalances in gut bacteria and nutrient deficiencies that contribute to the hormone imbalances that cause menstrual cycle irregularities.
This is especially true in women with PCOS, although anyone can benefit from adding broccoli to their diet. Broccoli does well as a side dish for any lunch or dinner, especially if you steam it or roast it. You can also use raw broccoli as a snack or an addition to a salad. Broccoli also works well in most stir-fry or pasta dishes.
5. Green Tea
Green tea has several health benefits thanks to its natural antioxidants. Perhaps most importantly, green tea can help reduce the body’s resistance to the insulin hormone and improve blood sugar control. Hormone balance and blood sugar control are directly linked, as many hormones affect blood sugar, while too-high or too-low blood sugar can be a cause of hormone imbalance.
The easiest way to get green tea into your diet is to have a cup or two throughout the day; just try not to load your green tea with additional sugar or sweeteners. Green tea supplements are also becoming increasingly popular as a simple way to add green tea to your daily regimen.
Food scientists and nutritionists have long advocated for the value of adding fatty fish to your diet, but salmon has received some much-deserved special attention as studies have linked the fish with numerous health benefits. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, selenium, and iodine.
These nutrients can help women metabolize estrogen and prevent its storage in the body, which can be helpful for women with PCOS or women facing the menopausal transition. Integrating any fish into your diet is a bonus, but salmon reigns as one of the best. You can serve salmon as a main dish for dinner, or you could try to incorporate smoked salmon into a simple breakfast or lunch.
Try to add blueberries to your diet in moderation. Blueberries are a perfect addition to muffins or a smoothie in the morning. Or you can incorporate them into your diet as a snack at any time.
For instance, Indian food often uses cinnamon as part of garam masala seasoning, so consider adding Indian food or spices to your meals. You can also make cinnamon tea by steeping a cinnamon stick in hot water.
Lentils have numerous health benefits for women, including helping to balance blood sugar and improving gut health. These two functions are key ways to improve hormonal balance. Lentils are naturally a source of starch and fiber, as well.
Incorporating lentils into your diet is as easy as adding them to a soup to increase heartiness. You can also use lentils as a meat substitute in certain recipes. Try subbing lentils for ground meat in a sloppy Joe.
What Foods Should I Avoid When Trying to Establish a Hormone Balance?
We’ve listed many foods for hormonal imbalance, but there are others that will have the opposite effect. You’ll want to avoid certain foods that can contribute either directly or indirectly to hormonal imbalance. Some of the foods to avoid include:
- Soda and other sugary beverages – Avoiding as much sugar as you can is a good policy for maintaining hormone balance. Scientists have linked inflammation and hormone imbalance, and sugary drinks can increase inflammation and affect your health.
- Red meat – While the occasional steak or hamburger is okay, you should avoid an excess of red meat in your diet. Red meat can put stress on the liver and can negatively affect your hormonal balance if you eat it too regularly. Opt for fish or white meat like turkey instead of red meat.
- Processed foods – Processed foods are full of additives that can negatively affect your hormone balance and lead to poor gut health. You should try to avoid overly-processed foods as much as possible and stick with natural, whole foods.
- Trans fats – While it’s often impossible to fully avoid them, you should try to limit trans fat consumption. These fats can increase inflammation, which can lead to hormone imbalance and other health issues.
- Alcohol – While having a drink in moderation isn’t much of an issue for most women, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to issues of inflammation and poor gut health. Both of these factors can lead to hormone imbalance and poor health.
What Are Some Other Methods For Balancing Hormones?
While diet is an excellent place to start with fixing hormone imbalance, it isn’t the only way you can address your hormone levels. There are several other things you can do alongside improving your diet that can lead to better overall health and hormone balance.
Get Routine Exercise
Exercise has numerous health benefits, including adjusting insulin levels and helping to address insulin resistance. To start, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days during the week. While it may not always be possible to hit the gym to lift weights or complete strenuous cardio, just walking can help with controlling your hormone levels.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
As mentioned, insulin resistance is bad for your overall health and can have a negative effect on your hormone balance. Scientists have linked obesity with insulin resistance, and you should attempt to maintain a healthy weight as best as you can. Regular exercise and a healthy diet can assist you with maintaining a healthy weight, and a doctor can give you personalized ideas on what weight to shoot for.
Our bodies produce the hormone cortisol to help us deal with excess stress. When you have a normal amount of stress in your life, this hormone does its job, and the body ceases to produce excess cortisol. Studies show that if you experience excess stress for a prolonged period, your body’s cortisol production can reach elevated levels, disrupting hormone balance.
Reducing stress isn’t an exact science, and you’ll have to find a relaxing activity that works for you. You can try to practice meditation or yoga, or you may want to listen to music that relaxes you. Make relaxation time a scheduled part of every day.
Arizona Gynecology Consultants: Women’s Health Services You Can Trust
Doing your best to balance your hormones can be a great way to improve your overall health and feel better throughout the day. In addition, hormone balance is key to many aspects of your gynecological health. With the right foods for hormonal imbalance, you can positively influence your health.
Remember: adjusting your diet isn’t a substitute for regular gynecological check ups. If it’s time to address your gynecological health, schedule Arizona Gynecology Consultants for a consultation or appointment with our expert, caring staff. Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.
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Kristina Calligan is a sub-specialty nurse practitioner in Women’s Health. A native to Arizona she obtained her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2006 at Grand Canyon University in Glendale, Arizona. Never one to stop striving and achieving all that she could, she completed two master degrees in Nursing Science and Business Administration in 2012. Ms. Calligan joined Arizona Gynecology Consultants in 2009. Prior to working at Arizona Gynecology Consultants, she worked as a nurse in labor and delivery at several local hospitals and a research coordinator in women’s health care.