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 ups 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. This list is followed by the foods you SHOULD be eating to balance your hormones.
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. This means 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. 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.
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 a 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. Then, when they get ravenous as blood sugar drops they 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. This 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. Eating good fats is essential to hormone production and to reduce inflammation. Fats also help you stay full, decreasing the hunger hormone.
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.
Before we move on, if you want to learn more about foods and balancing your hormones, definitely grab this FREE 3-day hormonal imbalance diet plan by filling in the form below. This meal plan will give you a better idea of how to incorporate the hormone balancing foods mentioned above into your diet, while also avoiding the bad foods too.
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 to help with hormone balance. It is 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.
Before we move on, since we are on the topic of exercise I do want to share my very affordable Yoga Workout & Stress Reduction Bundle that is perfect for helping treat hormone imbalance in women. In this bundle you get lifetime access to quick, yet highly effective yoga workouts that were created by a yoga RYT-200 instructor and wellness counselor with certification from Cornell University.
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.
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.
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, and know that you deserve to feel your best.
Finally, for even more help with eating the right hormone balancing foods you can sign up for the FREE hormone imbalance meal plan by filling in the form below. And last but not least, check out my 40-Day Mindful Elimination Program where you will learn in detail how to implement an elimination diet and eat right to naturally balance your hormones.
In this program I will walk you step-by-step through the process of removing all of hormonal disrupting foods. On top of that, you will also learn how to add new healthy, anti-diet eating strategies into your life. Plus, you will have access to exclusive yoga workouts and stress reduction exercises.