A diet rich in healthy food isn’t only good for your heart and your waistline, it’s also great for your mood, mental health and keeping your hormones in a state of equilibrium. If you struggle with imbalanced hormonal symptoms like acne, bloating, painful periods, anxiety, depression or menopausal issues, some simple shifts in your nutrition will make a big difference. From bee pollen to maca, here we reveal six incredible foods to balance your hormones and boost your health.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae which is typically grows in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is rich in protein, copper, B vitamins, iron and manganese. It is also a good source of zinc, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for immune response and balancing hormones, especially the thyroid. Spirulina is a great source of iodine which is vital for thyroid hormone production. A study shows it reduces blood sugar problems, which attacks hormonal imbalance at the root cause.
2. Bee Pollen
For women who struggle with estrogen dominance, bee pollen may be beneficial. It decreases estrogen production and reduces estrogen activity. According to Dr. Deanna Minnich, “Bee pollen has the power to interfere with the reproductive hormones, which can be beneficial in some cases and detrimental in others. One of the flavonoids found in bee pollen, chrysin, is an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that has many jobs in the body, including converting testosterone into estrogen. Inhibiting this enzyme can lead to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen in women.” Dr. Minnich also notes benefits for fertility and for easing menopausal symptoms. As part of a healthy diet, bee pollen provides protein, B vitamins, healthy fats, carotenoids and polyphenols, all supportive of great health.
3. Cod Liver Oil, Fish oil and Krill Oil
These fish derived oils are rich in vitamin D and omega 3s. Vitamin D is critical for immune health. Omega 3’s support brain, cardiovascular and hormonal health. Fish oils are also known to reduce prostaglandins, which can help ease menstrual cramps and systemic inflammation. In high therapeutic doses, fish oil can treat anxiety and depression. Always follow the instructions on the label though. Fish oil acts as a blood thinner and should only be used in higher doses under the care of a physician.
Also known as chasteberry, vitex is a powerful medicinal herb used for women’s reproductive health. It is known for boosting progesterone levels and studies have shown that it is effective in reducing symptoms of PMS. Vitex contains several different constituents, including flavonoids, iridoid glycosides, and terpenoids. All of which stimulate your pituitary gland which is responsible for hormone production. One of the best foods to balance your hormones, vitex has even outperformed placebos in trials. It can alleviate premenstrual syndrome symptoms like breast tenderness, irritability, anxiety, depression, menstrual migraines and menstrual cramps.
Maca is a root native to Peru, bursting with antioxidants. With a reputation for helping balance hormones and reversing hypothyroidism, maca is an endocrine adaptogen. This means it does not contain any hormones, but does contain the nutrients necessary to support normal hormone production. Rich in vitamin C, copper, protein and fiber, maca helps with libido problems, PMS, and hot flashes. Steep maca in hot water like tea, add it to your smoothies, overnight oats, raw protein balls or even soups. If you have high blood pressure, PCOS, thyroid hormone issues, are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should consult with your physician or nutritionist before consuming maca.
Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable and one of the finest foods to balance your hormones. Cruciferous veggies contain indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol helps the body to metabolize estrogens and can be very beneficial for people who struggle with estrogen dominance. Uterine fibroids, menopausal symptoms, low progesterone and fibrocystic breast disease can all benefit from balanced estrogen levels. Kale is also packed with vitamins including A, K, C, and B5 as well as minerals like copper, manganese, and calcium. For those with thyroid issues, it is important to cook kale to reduce goitrogenic compounds that inhibit the way thyroid hormones are metabolized. If you are eating a lot of raw kale and begin gaining weight or notice an increase in PMS, bloating, fatigue or moodiness, cut back or cook the kale. Those may be signs that you’re enjoying more raw kale than your thyroid can handle.