Between keeping our bodies warm, telling us when to ovulate and helping us nurse new babies, our hormones do a lot for us. What do we give them in return? Sadly, sometimes not enough of what we need to stay at our optimal health.
Fortunately, we can help bring our hormones back into balance by eating the right foods. And guess what? Most are delicious (chocolate, anyone?)! If your hormones feel a bit off, try noshing down on these nutritious foods to bring them back into balance.
There’s a reason so many of us reach for candy bars when we’re stressed — chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, helps to regulate cortisol levels . When the body is under stress, the catecholamine epinephrine (commonly known as adrenaline) rises. Dark chocolate helps to decrease excess adrenaline, bringing the body back into balance.
Kale — and other cruciferous vegetables — help to reverse the effects of estrogen dominance. When estrogen goes out of control, men and women alike experience belly bloating, migraines and weight gain. These veggies contain compounds known as glucosinolates, these can then convert into other compounds such as indole-3-carbinol , a chemical that helps liver function and estrogen balance.
Avocados, like chocolate, contain nutrients that help control elevated cortisol levels, leading to decreased stress. As a bonus, avocados also help balance out excess estrogen that can lead to PMS at best and breast cancer at worst .
Many people know about probiotics, but did you ever wonder what those healthy gut bacteria eat? They feed on prebiotics, and bananas (particularly, less ripe green ones) make for an excellent source of good belly fuel. When the gut is in balance, it can help to reduce bloating associated with PMS decreases.
This ancient grain can help indirectly alleviate the suffering of women with an excess androgen, one indication of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS often gain weight without adjusting their diet and also sometimes develop male characteristics such as facial hair. As PCOS can impact fertility, women hoping to conceive need to make sure they consume adequate levels of iron, folate, B12, healthy fats, calcium, and vitamin D . Quinoa contains iron, folate, and even some healthy fats .
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6. Soy Beans
The soy isoflavones in soybeans serve as weaker forms of the body’s own estrogen and can ease the suffering of those going through menopause. Because the drop in estrogen often results in hot flashes, upping soy consumption could ease the burn. Women in Japan who eat a diet high in soy experience fewer menopause symptoms than their western sisters. Look for organic, non-GMO soy.
Scores of women suffer from hypothyroidism, which can lead to weight gain, tiredness, and dry skin – and many go undiagnosed. Those who suspect that their thyroid function might be playing a role in them feeling under the weather would do well to increase their consumption of Brazil nuts can help improve thyroid function .
For help shedding excess weight, people can likewise nibble on almonds. These nuts have been shown to have low lipid bio-accessibility . This means, that even after chewing, the fats (lipids) in almonds are not well absorbed, making them a great food to snack on if you’re looking to lose a little weight.
8. Egg Yolks
Another food that helps stimulate thyroid function, the humble egg contains high levels of selenium and iodine . Both minerals play a role in improving how the thyroid works. As the thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism, once the hormones normalize, weight loss proves easier.
Eggs also pack a powerful protein punch, making you feel fuller longer. Go ahead and order that omelet for breakfast!
Salmon comes chock-full of Omega-3 fatty acids, making the fish the friend of women suffering from PMS. Omega-3’s help balance out the body’s hormones while decreasing excess estrogen levels. As an added bonus, Omega-3’s keep hair and nails strong and eyes bright.
10. Fermented Foods
Foods like tempeh, a vegan staple, and kombucha, a fermented tea, help promote probiotics — the guts’ natural bacteria. When probiotic balance exists, PMS symptoms such as excessive bloating tend to ease.
Yogurt, another naturally fermented food, may help dissolve that monthly bulge. While many yogurt products do include dairy, some popular brands like Chobani have launched vegan products.
Restore Your Hormonal Health
When hormones run amok, symptoms can range from slightly annoying to life-altering. Fortunately, you can help restore hormonal balance by making simple, healthy dietary changes. Here’s to a more naturally balanced life through eating well!
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