A diet full of healthy food isn’t only good for your heart and your waistline, it’s also great for your mood and your mental health! Vitamins, minerals, proteins, fiber, and fats are ALL necessary for health. Hormone balance depends on protein, fat, and fiber especially. If you struggle with acne, weight imbalance, bloating, painful periods, anxiety, depression and/or mood swings, some simple shifts in your nutrition may make a big difference. What’s even better is that good nutrition can also boost your energy levels and help you sleep better!
Here are 6 foods which may help you balance your hormones and overall health:
Spirulina is a blue-green algae which is typically grown in freshwater ponds and lakes. It is rich in protein, copper, B vitamins, iron, and manganese. It is also a good source of zinc, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for immune response, balancing hormones, supporting good mood, reducing cramps, easing breast tenderness and inflammation. More spirulina is not better because of the copper content.
2. Bee Pollen
According to Dr. Deanna Minnich, “Bee pollen also has the power to interfere with the reproductive hormones, which can be beneficial in some cases and detrimental in others. One of the flavonoids found in bee pollen, chrysin, is an aromatase inhibitor. Aromatase is an enzyme that has many jobs in the body, including converting testosterone into estrogen. Inhibiting this enzyme can lead to higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of estrogen in women.”
In women who struggle with estrogen dominance, bee pollen may be more beneficial since it seems to decrease estrogen production and reduce estrogen activity. Dr. Minnich also notes benefits for fertility and for easing menopausal symptoms!
As part of a healthy diet, bee pollen provides protein, B vitamins, healthy fats, carotenoids and polyphenols, all supportive of great health!
3. Cod liver oil/ Fish oil or Krill Oil
These oils are rich in vitamin D and omega 3s. Vitamin D is critical for immune health. Omega 3’s support brain, cardiovascular and hormonal health. They are also known to reduce prostaglandins (which can help ease menstrual cramps and systemic inflammation). In therapeutic (high) doses, fish oil is used to treat anxiety and depression. Follow the instructions on the label though. Fish oil is a very effective blood thinner and should only be used in higher doses under the care of a knowledgeable physician.
Vitex is also known as Chasteberry. It is a medicinal herb used for women’s reproductive health. It is known for boosting progesterone levels and has studies that have shown that it is effective in reducing symptoms of PMS (mood swings, irritability, tender breasts, bloating, headaches, insomnia, and drowsiness).
Maca is a root native to Peru. It is full of antioxidants and is a very popular superfood renowned for easing hormonal imbalances. Rich in vitamin C, copper, protein and fiber, Maca is known to help with libido problems, PMS, and hot flashes.
If you have high blood pressure, thyroid hormone issues, are pregnant or breastfeeding or have PCOS, you should consult with your physician or nutritionist before consuming Maca.
Steep Maca in hot water like tea, add it to your smoothies, overnight oats, raw protein balls or even soups!
Kale is a leafy green cruciferous vegetable. Cruciferous veggies contain indole-3-carbinol. Indole-3-carbinol helps the body to metabolize estrogens and can be very beneficial for people who struggle with estrogen dominance. Uterine fibroids, menopausal symptoms, low progesterone, and fibrocystic breast disease can all benefit from balanced estrogen levels. Kale is also packed with vitamins including A, K, C, and B5 as well as minerals like copper, manganese, and calcium.
For those with thyroid issues, it is important to cook kale to reduce goitrogenic compounds that inhibit the way thyroid hormones are metabolized. If you are eating a lot of raw kale and begin gaining weight or notice an increase in PMS, bloating, fatigue or moodiness, cut back or cook the kale --- those may be signs that you’re enjoying more raw kale than your thyroid can handle.