When I first started learning more about nutrition, some of the most startling information that I learned was that the foods that I ate directly affected my hormones. I don’t know about you, but I think as a woman I had kept my hormones, cycle, and womanly functions separate in my mind from my diet.
I learned as a young women that diet was about my weight, but I did not learn that all of it is greatly connected. Women need to understand that the foods that we eat greatly effect how how our bodies function, not just our weight.
The ways we process, breakdown, and use food and nutrients are all done by hormones! Food is so important to your hormone health, which is why I am reviewing the foods that help balance hormones in females in this article.
Why Is Hormonal Balance Important for Females?
Hormonal balance is very important for the proper function of a female body. Most women have felt the up and downs associated with their menstrual cycle, PMS, and/or menopause.
The fluctuation of hormones is normal, but bigger fluctuations or hormone imbalance can wreck havoc on your body. This will contribute immensely to disruptive side effects like:
- extreme fatigue
- weight-gain in the mid-section
- sleep disruption
- a foggy mind
- night sweats
- emotional distress
Even more worrisome is that hormonal imbalance can increase a women’s risk for breast cancer.
How Does Food Affect Female Hormone Balance?
The way that our body responds, processes, uses, and eliminates foods is done by hormones in the body. So, each time that you eat anything from a healthy piece of protein to a sugary coffee drink that causes a hormone response within yourself.
Depending on what foods you ingest, and particularly the foods that you eat regularly, you will either stay in balance or cause a hormone imbalance. One of the biggest culprits I find with hormone imbalance, is eating foods that cause inflammation which cause an unhealthy hormone response.
Foods That Don’t Balance Hormones In Females
If you are wondering which foods are some of the biggest issues with a hormone imbalance diet, then this is the list you need. For the foods you should be eating to balance your hormones, keep reading below.
To know me is to know how much I loathe soy. Soy is government subsidized and produced cheaply.
You would be shocked to know how many of the everyday products you are using include soy. This is causing an extreme amount of soy products to be put in the average person’s body.
On top of this, soy contains a bioactive substance called phytoestrogen which mimics estrogen in the body, so the body thinks it has an increase in estrogen. Keeping estrogen levels balanced is very important for women.
Cow’s milk is the healthiest food for a baby cow – not for a human female! We think of milk products as a health food, but milk contains hormones from the mother cow.
We put these into our bodies causing disruption, bloat, and skin issues, as our bodies try to process a food that was designed for another animal. I tell everyone – cut out dairy for two weeks and you will likely see the difference.
This is one is hard, especially for us moms out there running off fumes, but caffeine greatly disrupts hormonal balance. Caffeine can increase cortisol or the stress hormone in the body.
This puts our bodies on high alert. This is also what produces belly fat, sleeplessness, and emotional distress.
Did you know that a hormone called glucagon is released when you ingest sugar to help control glucose levels? I think it is important to realize that each time you eat or drink, hormones are going to work to make sure you are functioning properly.
The amount of added, processed sugar in the American diet is outrageous. We are eating sugar in everything from our canned vegetables to our morning coffee drinks without even realizing it. We need to keep glucose levels at a healthy state in order for our bodies to properly function.
Alcohol basically breaks down in the body to sugar. So, if you are drinking often, your body is fighting to regulate sugar – even if you have that drink on the rocks or with water.
You may notice a change in your mood after you drink alcohol. This is a clear sign of hormonal imbalance. Alcohol has also been linked to an increased risk in breast cancer.
If you want to learn more about how to remove hormone imbalance causing foods through a cleanse, then you should check out my online Mindful Elimination Program. It is a 40-day program designed to help you eliminate all of these foods that cause disruption, and add in good for you habits like exercise, yoga, mindfulness, and meditation.
List of Foods That Help Balance Hormones in Females
You don’t just have to avoid foods in order to stay hormonally balanced. You can also practice adding in foods that help keep your hormones in a healthy state.
Here is a list of great foods to eat for hormone balance.
I used to hate eggs, and then I ate eggs every morning for 30 days and saw a huge difference in my life. I now eat at least one egg every morning for breakfast.
Eggs are nutritionally rich. They are great source of vitamin D and choline which helps metabolism and liver function. What I also love about eggs is they are high in protein and keep you sustained.
I find women struggle with their hormonally balanced diets because they often choose to not eat, and then when they get ravenous as blood sugar drops reach for sugary foods that in turn cause more disruption.
Fish High in Omega-3s
Fish that are high in Omega-3 like salmon and sardines greatly help in the production of estrogen and testosterone. When you eat fish high in Omega-3 you stabilize your hunger hormones and keep your sex hormones at a healthy level.
They are also great for brain function which gives you better cognitive abilities and a happier disposition, which is very helpful as women move through their hormone cycles each month.
Cruciferous vegetables are an important part of your hormones detoxification system. You may know these as vegetables that may give you gas or clean you out.
That may not sound appealing, but the more you eat them, the more I find that your body responds less aggressively. Plus, being able to eliminate waste is an important function of the body.
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale are my favorites. Plus, these are all easily available and affordable.
One thing to remember is that fats are not all created equal and eating good fats is essential to hormone production and to reduce inflammation. Fats also help you stay full, decreasing the hunger hormone.
I tend to use avocado oil, olive oil, roasted nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocadoes in my diet on a daily basis to help me get enough healthy fats.
Foods Rich in Magnesium
Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar levels and our nervous system. Magnesium can also help us absorb nutrients better.
Foods that are high in magnesium are leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, avocados, legumes, nuts, seeds and some pseudo grains – like quinoa.
Want to learn more about foods and balancing your hormones? In my Mindful Elimination Program I give you 40 days of recipes that include all of these awesome hormonally balancing foods.
PLUS, I help teach you how to prepare delicious meals that keep you healthy, yet satisfied and full. Learn to cook your favorite meals with new ingredients!
Exercise For Hormone Balance in Females
Exercise can be one of the most beneficial and natural ways to improve your hormone balance. All forms of movement are great for balancing hormones.
High intensity workouts like cardio and strength training come with their own added benefits. But, as a yoga instructor I am partial to using yoga as a low impact, but high results exercise habit.
Yoga is most beneficial because it turns on the rest and digest nervous system. This helps reduce cortisol or the stress hormone. High cortisol is one of the leading causes of hormonal imbalance.
The following hormones are impacted by exercise and are most important for women.
- Serotonin: Exercise boosts serotonin levels which impacts your mood, memory, digestion, and sexual function.
- Dopamine: Exercise increases dopamine levels which I like to call our “feel good” hormone. This is a natural way to achieve that high that gets the “edge off” without substances like alcohol or recreational drugs.
- Estrogen: When your heart rate increases, your estrogen levels may increase as well. This is particularly important for menopausal women that see a decline in their estrogen levels.
If you are looking to start a yoga practice to help with hormone balance, I have a great five-day program called Dive into the Practice of Yoga that will help you start a healthy yoga practice in less than 30 minutes a day over five days.
It is fun, for all bodies and skill levels, and touches on all aspects of yoga – not just poses but the digging in to who you are.
Other Natural Ways To Balance Female Hormones
There are also other natural and healthy ways to treat hormonal imbalance. Let’s discuss them in more detail.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating means that you have a healthy relationship with your food and that you are not over consuming or under consuming for your body, lifestyle, and health goals. As a wellness counselor, I began teaching mindfulness as a tool for eating.
This technique helps to combat diet culture and prevents eating foods that don’t balance hormones. As I have previously mentioned, in my online Mindful Elimination Program I help walk people step-by-by step through the process of removing all of these hormonal disrupting foods.
On top of that, you will also learn how to add new healthy, anti-diet eating strategies into your life. Plus, yoga workouts, self-development exercises, and tons of support.
Meditation plays a significant role in the reduction of the stress hormone cortisol. By slowing the breath and the mind, we turn on the rest and digest nervous system calming the body, mind, and emotions.
Try my FREE Release and Let Go course for some awesome practices for relieving stress and anxiety.
If you are struggling with hormone imbalance, then definitely try out the foods listed above that help females to balance their hormones.
The best way to begin balancing hormones is changing the way you eat. You can take out the hormone imbalance foods listed above, while also adding in some the foods on the list that balance hormones in females.
Another great place to start is through exercise, especially by using the practice of yoga. It is really important that you do not ignore it if you feel you are experiencing hormonal imbalance.
Talk with your healthcare provider, change your lifestyle, know that you deserve to feel your best, and lastly be sure to check out the Mindful Elimination Program for more help.