According to the Institute for Functional Medicine, nutrition plays a vital role in promoting hormonal balance and proper hormone signaling. It’s important to note that hormonal balance involves a complicated web of many different hormones, some of which actually impact other hormones. And the impact of diet can be equally complex. Each person’s optimal hormone balance is unique, so you may need some trial and error to determine exactly what works best for you. Still, you can follow some overall guidelines to improve eating for hormone balance. These include:
Your gut is filled with a variety of bacteria. Good bacteria help you digest food and promote overall health. Bad bacteria contribute to a wide range of health problems, from gastrointestinal illnesses to skin conditions. Your gut health also plays an important role in balancing your hormones. Probiotics are good bacteria that support health. You’ll find them in fermented foods like kimchi, sourdough bread, and yogurt. Or you can take a supplement.
Healthy fats are essential to hormone production and stability. They are particularly useful in regulating the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. To optimize balance, consume at least 15 grams per day of fats such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, or ghee. Walnuts are also high in healthy fat content.
Getting enough protein is vital to maintain hormonal balance, but the type of protein matters. Choose chicken, fish, or beans rather than consuming too much red meat. Try to get 45–60 grams of healthy proteins per day.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones responsible for regulating everything from blood pressure to cholesterol levels. Boost its functioning with the micronutrients magnesium and iodine. You can get magnesium from dark leafy greens or almonds, while iodine is present in iodized salt and vegetables from the sea, such as nori.
For optimum hormone balance, you need to consume a variety of different foods. Try this easy tip if you don’t want to count your nutritional intake. At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits or vegetables. Then divide the remaining half between whole grains (such as brown rice, oatmeal, or whole-wheat bread) and healthy proteins. Remember to “eat the rainbow,” consuming all the different produce colors.
Limiting hormone health busters
Inflammation is the enemy of hormone health. And it can occur when unhealthy foods hinder digestion. Common sources of inflammation include fatty meats, refined sugars, and overly processed foods. You don’t have to eliminate these items thoroughly, but make them a smaller component of your diet.
Everyone’s hormonal makeup is unique. If you have any identified nutritional deficiencies, you’ll need to address those with your doctor and perhaps a nutritionist. But for those who are simply trying to promote better everyday health, the above tips can help make eating for hormone balance easier. You may want to experiment a bit within these guidelines to see precisely what makes you feel the healthiest and fittest overall.