10 foods to eat to balance your hormones | PCOS, Endo & Fertility
Some reports show as many as 80% of women but suffer from hormonal imbalances with 1 in 10 women experiencing endometriosis, 1 in 8 experiencing PCOS, and 1 in 6 women need a fertility consult!
If you have headaches, breakouts, cramps, or heavy periods you may also have a hormonal imbalance that you are not aware of.
The good thing is that you can absolutely influence your hormones through food, after all food is responsible for the building blocks and metabolism of these hormone messengers.
To balance hormones, you want to:
Support your liver and detoxification system
This is particularly important especially when it comes to oestrogen. It is made predominantly in the ovaries every day – goes through the body doing its job then goes to the liver where it is packaged up and goes to the intestines to be excreted. A sluggish liver can impede this process.
Support a healthy gut
A healthy gut means is critical to hormone balance, and we are now learning more and more about this. The gut contains a very special type of microbiome which is called the oestrobolome, it has the specific task of metabolizing and removing oestrogen with some oestrogen being reabsorbed. An unhealthy microbiome means that your body is not able to excrete sufficient amounts of oestrogen and most is reabsorbed by the body circulating back through the blood stream leading to excess oestrogen. So having a healthy gut is key to happy hormones but there are a few foods that really assist in achieving this.
Support the creation of hormones
This means providing the body with sufficient fat, antioxidants and vitamin C to promote healthy progesterone balance.
Healthy fats, namely Omega 3s can be incredibly helpful in reducing the inflammation which can contribute to conditions such as PCOS, insulin resistance and endometriosis.
My top 10 foods for balancing hormones are below:
We all now broccoli is good for us but I want to explain why. It contains a compound called Indole-3-Carbinole which helps to shift the metabolism of oestrogen away from 16-alpha-hydroxeystrone which is the problematic form of oestrogen to a safer form.
Studies show it can be a potential blocker of hormone driven cancers like breast cancer. You will get this benefit from any cruciferous vegetables.
I recommend trying to have 3-4 cups a day. If you have a thyroid condition, be sure to cook broccoli well as this will ensure iodine uptake is not impacted
Flaxseeds are my golden food for hormone balance. They contain compounds called phytoestrogens and a class known as lignans. Flax works like an estrogen adaptogen – if you have too much oestrogen it can be an oestrogen blocker or amplify ostrogen if you are low.
It can also help to bind and remove oestrogen and can influence the ostrobolome to reduce the reabsorption of oestrogen.
Studies show flax can help to reduce night sweats and hot flashes and improve quality of life during menopause. In some studies, 40 grams per day of flaxseed had effects similar to hormone replacement therapy for decreasing menopausal symptoms.
As little as 10 grams daily can improve ovarian function and increase progesterone to oestrogen ratios.
These super fruits are definitely considered a fertility food. Firstly, they are a healthy source of fat which is a building block for hormones. It provides micronutrients that regulate hormones like B vitamins, Vitamin E and potassium.
147 women undergoing IVF found that those that were eating the highest amounts of monounsaturated fat were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF.
Conversely, saturated fat was found to decrease the number of healthy ovum. A diet high in Omegas in general has also been found to protect against PCOS and endometriosis.
Seaweed is highly rich in iodine which normalizes your thyroid. It is seaweed is also rich in vitamins B1, B2 and B12, potassium, calcium and iron. Provides a unique source of fibre and polysaccharides which support the oestrobolome and a healthy gut microbiome
5. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are wonderful plant based source of zinc which helps to keep progesterone levels balances. It is also a great source of magnesium which is fantastic for keeping cramps at bay.
6. Green Tea & Spearmint tea
Both have been found to be helpful in balancing hormones. Studies down on consumption of spearmint tea show it is helpful in managing PCOS. ECGC in Green tea has been shown to have anti-androgenic impact and can also be helpful in reducing prostaglandins which are the inflammatory markers linked to painful periods. Studies show supplementing with 200 mg daily can reduce uterine fibroid size.
7. Kiwi fruits
I love kiwi fruit. Just one contains 100% RDI of vitamin C which is a wonderful progesterone balance. It is also is a great fruit for balancing gut microbiome. If you are not a fan of eating fruit try to get a vitamin C or antioxidant powder in. Our Native Collagen Powder is a great way to do this.
Turmeric slows down the body’s breakdown of chemicals or detox process. Thi sis helpful as it slows this process down long enough for body to be able to excrete toxins and excess hormones effectively without causing you to build up toxic intermediates. It also boosts up your body’s natural anti-inflammatory production. It’s one of the herbs I use most in my practice, at a dose of 1000-2000 mg of curcumin extract daily. You can also use it in cooking or in your favorite shake, 2-10 grams of the powdered spice per day
Maca is a Peruvian root veggie wonderful for balancing hormones. Peruvians have used it for everything from PMS to improving libido and even improving menopause symptoms.
Young adolescents in Peru are given maca daily as a tea when they reach puberty to harmonise their menstrual cycles and reduce the symptoms of PMS. It is rich in B vitamins including trace minerals like iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, copper, magnesium and potassium.
Maca can be helpful in treating perimenopausal and menopausal women as has been linked to increased progesterone and luteinising hormone.
A small trial showed that post-menopausal women who used maca for six weeks experienced a reduction in psychological symptoms like anxiety and depression.