Updated: Mar 6, 2020
Hormone balance is affected by many different factors such as sleep, exercise, stress and exposure to toxins. But one very critical, often overlooked factor in hormone balance is diet. Diet has a huge effect on hormone balance, especially when recognizing that hormones are ultimately formed from essential fatty acids, cholesterol and proteins. Blood sugar balance is also essential to having healthy hormone balance. When blood sugar goes array, all our hormones go haywire!
While it is important to get enough of these beneficial foods, it is also important to avoid hormone disrupting and inflammatory foods such as sugar. Let’s dive into the Should's and Shouldn'ts for diet and hormone balance!
Incorporate more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - choose high quality sources and stores and cook properly as these fats are not very stable and can go rancid easily. These fats help to fight inflammation, improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, stabilize blood sugar and act as precursors for hormones.
Incorporate cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and brussel sprouts to help aid in the metabolism of estrogen.
Make sure to get enough high-quality protein - choose only meats which are free from added hormones. Protein promotes satiety which will help you to avoid sugar cravings as well as provides the building blocks for some hormones.
Eat enough slowly digested carbs such as sweet potatoes and vegetables which control blood sugar and insulin levels and help aid in ovulation. Stick to organic produce! Pesticides can act to disrupt hormone balance.
Drink plenty of filtered water - water is needed for every basically every process in the body, however some chemicals found in tap and bottled water are endocrine disruptors.
Eat smaller, more frequent meals, with an emphasis on correct ratios of healthy fats, proteins and complex carbs to keep blood sugar stable.
Sugar - Sugar is super inflammatory and also increases levels of androgen hormones which leads to problems such as PCOS.
Alcohol - Alcohol is also very inflammatory and acts as an endocrine disruptor. If you suffer from any form of hormone imbalance, it is best to avoid alcohol altogether but if you feel this is impractical for you then, at the very least, do not exceed 4 drinks a week and stick to a dry wine or beer which does not contain copious amounts of sugar.
Snacking - While eating is good, snacking is not the best route to take. It is best to eat larger meals more spread throughout the day. Everytime you eat it creates an inflammatory and insulin response. Give your digestion a break and avoid grazing.
Hydrogenated oils and Trans fats - These oils are Inflammatory and tied to many chronic diseases.
Inflammatory foods - On top of the above mentioned inflammatory foods, each individual should pay particular attention to which foods their body does and does not like. A food that may be healthful for your friend, may be inflammatory for you.
Hormone balance is achieved through a variety of lifestyle and diet factors. When you take the time to dial in on the nutrition that best suits your needs, you will be that much closer to hormonal bliss!
If you have any questions on hormone balance don’t hesitate to reach out!
Briden ND, Lara. Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatments for Better Hormones and Better Periods. Greenpeak, 2018.
Weschler, Toni. Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. HarperCollins, 2015.