Hormones are an integral piece of our body’s systems that carry out functions that support the integrity of our health and well-being. When hormones fluctuate and become out of balance, problems can arise, leading to disease. Symptoms of hormonal imbalance include premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular and/or painful periods, infertility, weight gain, low libido. Causes of hormone imbalance vary from person to person, however, the culprits might be a disease such as an overactive or underactive thyroid, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) dysfunction, liver stress, compromised digestion, use of birth control or hormone replacement therapy, toxins (such as BPA), and pollutants — the list goes on.
It’s also worth mentioning that the extreme symptoms that we typically associate with our periods (PMS, cramps, acne) and menopause (hot flashes, mood swings, hair loss) are actually signs of stress within the body. While these symptoms may be common, they are not normal. You may be relieved to know that it is possible to go through life transitions feeling more balanced by supporting your hormones. When searching for ways to promote hormonal health, consider adopting these five foods into your lifestyle for a more hormone balanced diet.
Did you cringe a little bit reading that? Organ meats such as liver may not sound very mouthwatering, however, they are bursting at the brim with nutrition making them wise choice foods for hormone balance. Eating just three ounces of beef liver can provide ample amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, copper, selenium. A deficiency of iron and/or Vitamin B12 can lead to anemias. There is an association between thyroid disorders and anemia according to this study. Studies have illustrated that a risk factor for thyroid abnormalities could be iron deficiency. Furthermore, a review found that “selenium deficiency decreases the synthesis of thyroid hormones.” Liver serves as an excellent nutritional source and when consumed regularly can help prevent nutrient deficiencies that may affect hormones.
Additionally, consider your own liver and its role in detoxifying excess and “expired” hormones. Eating liver can actually support this detoxification process, therefore supporting your hormone balance. If the liver is overwhelmed with other, higher, priorities such as blood sugar regulation, then detoxification could be impaired. Consider eating liver as a part of a hormone-balanced diet.
Maca is a Peru grown root vegetable that is similar to a radish. For centuries, maca has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for “infertility and female hormone balance.” Animal studies have shown that “maca extracts increase sexual function.” A review of maca use in human studies reports favorable results of maca on menopause symptoms. My go-to recommended brand for maca is The Maca Team. A powdered form an be added to smoothies and puddings.
3. Fatty Fish
Coldwater fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and halibut (remember the acronym S.M.A.S.H.) provide the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids. King mackerel should be avoided if you are pregnant and/or a nursing mother due to its high mercury content. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their benefits on heart health. They are not made in the body, therefore they must be consumed as part of a hormone-balanced diet to reap these benefits.
In a study of 78 women with PCOS and irregular periods, subjects were randomized into a placebo group and an experimental group. The experimental group was given 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily for 8 weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, there were decreases in testosterone levels and the percentage of women with regular periods increased in the experimental group. Fatty fish, along with other quality fats are great ways to support hormonal health. Try my salmon bowl or salmon bites.
All bodies are subject to encounter a level of inflammation at some point which can be normal and expected, however, prolonged inflammation can lead to disease and detriment, creating chaos for hormones. Beets are an excellent source of folate, an essential nutrient for pregnancy. Beets contain highly bioactive pigments, betalains, that have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.
Beets also support liver and gallbladder health further benefiting healthy digestion and detoxification for happy hormones. Color your green leafy salad by topping with chopped beets and soft cheese or try these beet burgersor my ruby red probiotic applesauce.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens are infamous for providing a host of nutrients including Iron, vitamin K, folate, and fiber. Fiber supports healthy digestion by getting things moving and flushing out excesss hormones from the body. Green leafy vegetables are anti-inflammatory foods rich in polyphenols and antioxidants making them a hormone balance promoting food that can help with disease prevention. Use in salads, soups, or smoothies.
Eating a nutrient-rich diet incorporating the five hormone balancing superfoods is a step to alleviating hormone imbalances, improving your mood, preventing disease, and taking control of your health. If you have more questions about supporting your hormones, schedule a complimentary meet & greet session.