While you may think you’ll only need to concern yourself with hormones during puberty or menopause, they’re actually extremely important throughout your life. Hormones influence your weight, energy levels, digestion, fertility, and metabolism. Hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, leptin, cortisol, and insulin are intimately connected and work together to keep you feeling your best. If you’ve been feeling anxious or depressed, experiencing brain fog or fatigue, or dealing with bloating or PMS, your body might be telling you to look to your hormones.
To lose weight, many people focus on cutting fat, cutting calories, or excessive exercise. The problem? All of these things can cause your hormones to go out of whack. Years of low-fat diets have left many with under-nourished thyroids and adrenals, throwing off the whole system and actually making it harder to maintain a healthy weight.
Foods to eat for hormone balance
The Standard American Diet includes too many processed vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3s. Avoid processed industrial oils like canola, soybean, and margarine. Focus instead on coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, wild seafood, and fats from healthy pasture raised animals. These fats, as well as cholesterol, are the building blocks for hormones. Learn more about the healthy fats we use here.
Collagen is a great source of essential amino acids and minerals that support healthy hormone production. Incorporate collagen into your diet by sipping bone broth or using grass-fed collagen peptide supplements.
Adaptogens help our bodies manage stress. Best used as “maintenance medicine” they will help your body restore balance when used regularly. Some of our favorite adaptogens include maca and chaga, which you’ll find in our Detox Collagen Shakes.
A healthy gut is essential for balanced hormones. More and more research is showing how gut health affects everything from your immunity to your mood. Be sure to incorporate probiotics through fermented foods and supplements, as well as prebiotic vegetables like onions, sunchokes, asparagus, and jicama.
Focus on getting enough clean protein through nuts and seeds, beans, quinoa, healthy pasture raised animals, and wild caught fish. Conventional meats are grain-fed and injected with hormones and antibiotics that wreak havoc on your digestive and endocrine systems.
Skip the egg white omelette. Eggs, and particularly egg yolks, are excellent for maintaining healthy hormones. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals, bioavailable protein, and healthy fats. You can learn more about the health benefits of eggs here.
Lifestyle tips for healthy hormones
Restoring hormone balance goes beyond diet and you may need to make lifestyle adjustments as well. Try the following if you suspect an imbalance:
- Limit caffeine.
- Avoid common inflammatory ingredients like gluten, dairy, and sugar.
- Detox your kitchen and bathroom by swapping out harmful hormone-mimicking chemical cleaners and beauty products for all-natural alternatives. Get rid of any nonstick pans and phase out the use of plastic for cooking and storage.
- Get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night.
- Supplement with essentials like magnesium, vitamin d, and fish oil.
- Manage stress through meditation, self-care, and moderate exercise.
A diet based in whole, unprocessed foods can go a long way toward overall health, including hormone balance. But if you suspect an imbalance, talk to your doctor and focus on these diet and lifestyle tips. We recommend working with a holistic practitioner like the doctors at Parsley Health, who can order hormone panels and guide you through the process. To dive deeper into the subject of hormone balance we recommend reading The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried and WomanCode by Alisa Vitti.