The Best Foods for Hormone Balance (Part 1)
When it comes to balancing your hormones, food can be a tricky dance!
This is in part because every single women’s body and lifestyle is DIFFERENT. Your genetics are unique to you, your stress is unique to you, and above all else…what you choose to EAT is unique to you.
So naturally, following a blanket “guideline” for getting your menstrual cycle & fertility back on track can be freakin’ hard.
Where do you turn?
Luckily, there quite a few staple foods & nutrients that are going to be AMAZING for hormone balance across the board!
The big thing to remember is that you are the expert on your own body. When you experiment with food, really take note of how it makes you feel mentally and physically … and adjust accordingly!!
Now, let’s get into some epic hormone balancing foods, shall we? :)
Protein & Fat - the building blocks to your hormones
Our hormones are literally made by the amino acids in protein and the fatty acids in fat. Without getting these powerful macronutrients into our diet, in the correct proportions, the body can REALLY struggle.
Who remembers the 90’s fat-free craze!? Yeah, our hormones weren’t too happy with us then… ;)
When it comes to protein and fat - there are a few important things to remember:
The ratio between how much protein & fat you need is specific to you are your lifestyle. It takes some experimenting. I feel my best when I get at least 20g of protein and 2-4 tbsps of fat per meal.
Always choose the highest quality forms of these items (especially if you’re eating animal protein). We do NOT want to be consuming excess hormones and environmental toxins through our food. Especially when the endocrine system is already overburdened.
Getting in your protein and fat can look a VARIETY of ways! Plant-based or animal protein, nuts/seeds, and grains … you name it. Get creative!
There is quite the debate between animal protein vs plant-based protein, but I’ll say this: YOU DO YOU.
There are pros & cons for both. Listen to your body and experiment with what feels good for you. Always go for quality and always choose a variety so you get all your important nutrients in! This will ensure optimal energy, hormone function, bone strength, immunity … you name it.
Personally, I find that getting a moderate amount of quality animal protein does wonders for my body. Animal protein includes all 9 essential amino acids, and a ton of additional nutrients/minerals that our body craves (b-vitamins, iron, zinc, vitamin-d, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids).
ALL of them crucial for supporting hormones.
On the flip-side of animal protein… eating TOO much can be inflammatory and irritating to our hormones. A good rule of them is that your plate should be mostly plants, with a good serving of healthy fat, and a palm size portion of protein.
Here are some of my favorites:
Despite the critics, you absolutely CAN get enough plant-based protein in your daily diet.
The only con is that only a few plants contain all 9 essential amino acids (quinoa, hemp, & soy for example). And remember, your body needs all 9 essential amino acids to produce a host of important functions in the body and balance your hormones.
But don’t worry….
You can combine your plant-based proteins to get all the essential nutrients and ratios you need. I really love this graphic below by Simple Fit Vegan to make sure you’re getting all your essential amino acids!
Plants are high in a ton of vitamins and minerals (although vitamin b-12 supplementation is usually needed in a plant-based diet). Getting a WIDE variety of plant-based protein is where you will get the most bang for you nutritional buck.
Here are some of my favorites:
I also really love this graphic for the highest forms of plant-based protein by Get Healthy U.
Oh, my goodness … I love me some healthy fats!!
Not only do fatty acids support healthy hormone function, but they help us stay full, energized, and happy! All by helping to stabilize our blood sugar.
And, the great thing is, many good forms of fat also serve as sources of protein and fiber (getting enough fiber in your diet is also crucial for hormonal health, but we will leave that for another post…).
Here are my favorites:
Fruits, Veggies, Greens, & Grains…
I could continue on for a while about the wonderful nutritional benefits of fruits, veggies, greens, and grains. But how about we save that for part 2?? ;)
I’ll leave you with these tips for now:
EAT THE RAINBOW! Try to get lots of colors on your plate to emphasize maximum nutrient absorption.
Enjoy lots of leafy greens for extra fiber (helps us release excess hormones)
Cruciferous veggies support our liver, which in turn, also helps us detox excess hormones!
Berries are full of fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients. Plus, they are lower in sugar which, you guessed it, supports our hormones! ;)
Grains can be tricky. I usually recommend going gluten-free to help reduce inflammation. The amount you need for YOUR body is very bio-individual. Listen to what your body is asking for and how you belly feels ;) I never recommend “cutting carbs” as this can cause a lot of stress on the body.
Keep a look out for PART 2 of this blog post where I will go in more detail about fruits, veggies, greens & grains!