How to choose the best foods for hormone balance

Woman with food shop holding thumbs up

Whether your pre, peri or post menopausal, hormone balance is vital for energy, mood, brain power, weight, sleep, digestion, bone health and a whole lot more!

What’s the one thing that you can do right away that will affect your hormone balance really quickly? It's choosing the right foods.

It sounds easy, right? We kind of know what we're supposed to be eating. But when you know WHY you're eating certain foods, it can really help in sticking to good habits that will support your hormones.

You can watch the video below or listen to the podcast (episode 55);

Food is information!

To truly balance your hormones, you need to start seeing food differently.

Not as calories, but as INFORMATION. Food has the power to change how you look, feel, think and perform. It does this by sending messenger signals to your cells and hormones.

Food can literally tell your body to burn or store fat, to increase or decrease your energy levels, to alter your mood, to change how your brain functions or to switch on genes that cause disease.

What foods support your hormone balance?

There is no ‘one size fits all' diet. Every body is unique, and therefore will thrive on different foods.

But there are some key nutrients your main hormones need to function properly.

If you base your diet largely around these foods, you will naturally crowd out the foods that don't support your hormones.

Foods for your Feisty 4 Hormones

Your Feisty 4 hormones are the main ones that if out of balance can affect how you look, feel, think and behave (especially after 40!).

If you know you have a particular hormone imbalance, you can choose foods that directly help with those hormones.

If you don't know which hormones to focus on, jump over to my blog on the Feisty 4 where you can identify which ones may be an issue for you.

  1. CORTISOL – your stress hormones can be triggered by many things, including food stressors.
  • Avoid potential food stressors – processed foods, sugar, alcohol, vegetable oils.
  • Identify food sensitivities – e.g. gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, nightshades, etc
  • B vitamins – whole grains, oats, meat, dairy, green veg, nuts, seeds – B vitamins are needed for your adrenals to work well and keep you on top form.
  • Vitamin C – bell peppers, citrus fruits, broccoli – Vitamin C helps to support adrenal reserve so that are more likely to be balanced.
  • Magnesium – nuts, seeds, dark green leafy veg, dark chocolate – magnesium is your ‘relaxation mineral' – it helps to increase relaxation, sleep, energy, mood and hormone balance.

2. INSULIN –  blood sugar balance is crucial and so should be at the heart of all hormone balance programmes.

  • Eat protein and healthy fats at each meal – not only will you feel fuller for longer, but your blood sugar will be nice and stable.
  • Choose the right carbs – foods that release their sugars more slowly help to balance your blood sugar, therefore reducing cortisol (which gets released when you have low blood sugar) – load up on the veggies (they are good carbs), and slow carbs like oats, quinoa, brown rice.
  • Avoid refined sugar or carbs (cereal, baked goods, white bread, pastries, etc!)
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on everything – cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar

3. THYROID – thyroid hormones need good nutrient intake to function well. These include;

  • Vitamin D – from the sun (you need to supplement Vitamin D3 through the UK winter)
  • Vitamin A – animal products, carrots,
  • Iron – meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, dried fruits, whole grains
  • Selenium – brazil nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds, brown rice, meat, fish, eggs
  • Zinc – oysters, lamb, nuts, ginger, whole grains, sardines
  • Iodine – fish and shellfish, sea vegetables (nori, dulse, kelp, wakame)
  • Tyrosine  – chicken, turkey, fish, avocado, seeds, nuts, organic dairy
  • Omega 3 fats – oily fish, flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds
  • MCT’s (medium chain triglycerides) – coconut oil or liquid MCT oil
  • Avoid gluten (especially if you have diagnosed hypothyroidism) – there are proven links between auto immune thyroid conditions and Coeliac disease (which is a gluten allergy).

4. OESTROGEN – certain dietary tweaks can help to regulate your oestrogen levels;

  • Flaxseeds, lentils, chick peas – contain phytoestrogens that help to balance your oestrogen levels
  • Eat your broccoli and cabbagecruciferous vegetables help to get rid of excess oestrogen
  • Fibre – fruit, veg, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes, oats – help to eliminate excess oestrogen
  • Go organic – avoid pesticides that can mess with your hormones
  • Avoid mass produced meat and dairy – buy the best you can (and eat more plants!)
  • Limit alcohol – alcohol can trigger hot flushes, but can also increase oestrogen levels – not good for either high or low levels
  • Vitamin E – almonds, sunflower seeds, olives, spinach, berries – helps to boost progesterone, reduce PMS & breast tenderness

So there you have it, foods that support each of your Feisty 4 (and hormone balance in general).

If you want to go deeper and find out if you have a hormone imbalance, contact us for details of our testing packages.

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