Balancing Hormones Naturally: Foods That Heal

Contributor: Caroline Potter
Photographer: Primally Pure
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Providing our hormones with the raw materials they need to build, balance and perform their various tasks is a crucial step in balancing our hormones. Thankfully, our hormones desperately want to balance and work efficiently for us, so with a little love and care plus consuming these 6 foods for hormone health, you will be amazed at the results!

Remember, taking care of your self, encouraging a positive mindset and working to eliminate stress is just as important as the food on your plate.

Here are the top 6 foods to boost hormone health!

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MINERAL RICH SEA SALT

Your adrenal glands hold the keys to your stress response as well as play a vital role in your hormone health. Without working to balance your adrenals first, your hormone health will never reach its full potential! 

One of the functions of the adrenal glands is to control your sodium-potassium levels and thus the fluid balance in your body, which also helps regulate blood pressure. This is done through aldosterone, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone regulates blood pressure according to stress levels—this is why blood pressure generally rises in stressful situations.

Consuming mineral rich, pure salt (not bleached table salt) will provide the adrenals with the raw materials they need to function and thus help balance the body’s natural stress response. Pure, mineral rich salt is balanced in minerals so that your body receives exactly what it needs.

When the body is in adrenal imbalance, you must be very careful not to over consume water as that can actually dehydrate you. Often the body simply needs more minerals to retain the water, not actually more water.

BRAZIL NUTS

Brazil nuts are the best source of selenium, an important mineral crucial to your thyroid health, especially in converting T4 into the active thyroid hormone T3. Thyroid health is crucial to balancing hormones in general and selenium can act as a catalyst to thyroid functioning and metabolism. Selenium is anti-inflammatory and can help calm inflammation in the body and thus keep the immune system strong and skin balanced.

It only takes 1-2 Brazil nuts per day to give your body the selenium it needs and keep your thyroid hormones and immune system balanced. You can also make Brazil Nut Milk for a creamy, dairy-free milk alternative.

QUALITY, NOURISHING FATS

Your sex hormones (estrogen and testosterone) and adrenal hormones (cortisol) are cholesterol derived hormones meaning they are made from essential fatty acids. In simple terms, these hormones are made from cholesterol. So yes, those avocado slices and spoonfuls of Hollandaise are providing your hormones with the raw materials they need to build, balance and thrive.

Grass-fed butter/ghee, duck fat, beef or pork tallow, olive oil, avocados, avocado oil, avocado oil mayo, nuts and seeds, whole eggs, raw/grass-fed cheeses are the best dietary sources of quality nourishing fats. 

CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES

This family of flowering vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbage, arugula, boy choy, broccoli, etc) is rich in sulphur, which helps detoxify the liver, cleanse excess estrogen, promote digestion, and give your skin a healthy glow. The liver plays a crucial role in hormone health as it helps balance and detoxify excess estrogen. 

Please note, cruciferous vegetables can be difficult to digest as well as contain thyroid hormone inhibitors in their raw state, which is why I highly recommend always eating them cooked.

LOW GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES

Missed periods, change in body temperature, sleep imbalances, difficult periods, weight gain, weight loss plateau poor performance during a workout or poor recovery after a workout, or exhaustion can be a few signs that you may need more low glycemic nourishing carbohydrates in your daily diet. 

First, for those already with adrenal fatigue, prolonged low-carbohydrate diets can create stress and worsen the situation by causing the adrenals to pump out more cortisol in an effort to balance blood sugar, sustain life and proper brain functioning. 

Second, the liver also needs adequate glycogen to metabolize and detoxify estrogen and other hormones properly—thus consuming carbohydrates is necessary for glycogen storage. Especially during periods of higher stress, our liver needs more nourishing, unrefined carbohydrates to balance blood sugar. 

Now this does not mean that carbohydrates, even the nourishing ones, should be the center of your diet as that can severely impact blood sugar and hormones, but rather consuming an appropriate amount of nourishing carbohydrates, quality protein, fiber and fat will help keep hormones balanced.

Winter squash (butternut, kabocha, acorn), sweet potatoes, berries, avocados, cashews, whole-fat plain yogurt, peppers, green beans, tomatoes are my personal favorite, lower glycemic carbohydrates to consume daily.

ADAPTOGENS

Adaptogens are gaining a lot of popularity recently, but truthfully have been used for centuries as ancient cultures recognized their incredible benefits. Adaptogens help the body adapt to incoming stressors or changes in the environment and have an incredible balancing effect on hormones. There are quite a few adaptogens, but for female hormones, these are my favorites.

Maca: This Peruvian superfood is fabulous for boosting energy, especially during those afternoon sugar cravings, balancing hormones and boosting the immune system. It has a lightly sweet, slightly smoky taste so I love adding it into smoothies with a bit of raw cacao powder or even bulletproof coffee.

Ashwagandha: This adrenal boosting superfood helps regulate the body towards normal functioning meaning it can “read” the body’s internal environment, providing a boost for those that are exhausted or act as a calming agent for those needing to cope with stress. Ashwagandha is apart of the nightshade family, so those with sensitives should avoid.

Cordyceps: Cordyceps are a type of fungus closely associated with medicinal, nutritionally beneficial mushrooms and have long been prized in Chinese medicine. This adaptogen has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, helps the body fight stress or fatigue, boosts stamina and improves liver detoxification. Other mushroom adaptogens are chug, shiitake, lion’s mane and reishi.

You only need a little bit—approximately 1-/4 to 1/2 tsp does the trick, except for maca which about 1 tsp can be consumed at a time.