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10 Best Foods to Combat Hormonal Imbalance in Women

Lauren Gillan
Woman making a healthy meal.
Though we often think of hormones as being solely linked to the reproductive system, they also affect other aspects of our health, such as our mood and weight. 

Statistics show that 80% of women suffer from hormonal imbalances. And many don't even realize it—since symptoms of imbalance are vast, and the discomforts are so common, unclear health problems are often chalked up to "just being a woman." 

Hormonal imbalance commonly manifests as acne, depression, anxiety, insomnia, sluggish digestion, weight gain (or loss), hair thinning, fatigue, infertility, and night sweats.

A healthy diet is integral to balancing your hormones, so here are 10 foods to add to your plate for better hormonal health.

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1. Broccoli

High-fiber keto foods, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli help to promote healthy and regular bowel movements. They also help process and remove excess estrogen from the body, reducing the possibility of a hormonal imbalance.

2. Avocados

Avocados are rich in healthy fat and help to keep you satiated without overeating. Healthy fats found in whole foods, such as avocados, can improve overall hormonal health and boost brain cognition. In other words, they can help to boost your mood. 

Naturally occurring chemical properties in avocado may also help to balance cortisol levels and promote the healthy regulation of estrogen and progesterone, the two primary hormones responsible for regulating your cycle. 

3. Wild Salmon

Fatty fish, like salmon, trout, and sardines, are rich in healthy fats and easily digestible protein, which, according to the American Heart Association, is necessary for staying satiated and stabilizing hunger hormones

Fatty fish is also a good source of vitamin D, which is vital for hormone balance. This is especially important during the darker winter months when we get less vitamin D from the sun.

If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid fish that are higher in mercury, like tuna, swordfish, and shark. 

» Want to keep your little one safe? Here are 10 foods to avoid while pregnant.

4. Spinach

Leafy greens like spinach are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

They are also a great source of minerals like magnesium. These minerals can help you better deal with stressors and lower cortisol levels, which can wreak havoc on your hormones. 

5. Pumpkin Seeds

Have you ever heard of seed cycling? Seed cycling is the holistic practice of eating specific seeds during the two main phases of your menstrual cycle to help promote the healthy balance of estrogen and progesterone levels.

Seed cycling advocates recommend enjoying 1-2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds during days 1-14 of your cycle. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, which is needed for the production of progesterone. 

6. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds contain lignans which bind to excess estrogen. When excess estrogen is left circulating in your system, it can leave you feeling "out of sorts."

During days 1-14 of your cycle (from the first days of getting your period until ovulation), enjoy 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseeds. Flaxseed is also an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and can promote regularity. Proper digestion is important to rid your body of excess hormones.

I like to sprinkle flaxseeds into my smoothies, and I also enjoy them over oatmeal. 

7. Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds also play a role in seed cycling. High in vitamin E, they support progesterone production. They are also a good source of zinc and selenium, an essential trace mineral that can help detox the liver of excess estrogen. Selenium and zinc are also vital for healthy thyroid function. 

Seed cycling advocates also recommend enjoying 1-2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds during days 15-28 of your cycle (from the start of ovulation to the start of your period). Even if you're not entirely on board with the idea of seed cycling, these seeds all have hormone-balancing properties.

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8. Lentils

Unfortunately, processed carbs are off the table, as they can spike blood sugar and affect gut health.

Lentils, on the other hand, are a slow-digesting carbohydrate, high in protein, and rich in magnesium. This combination may help to regulate blood sugar levels, improve sleep, and lower cortisol levels.

9. Artichokes

The liver works to break down excess hormones and toxins that are then excreted through the bowels, urine, and sweat. This makes food that aids and supports the liver in natural detoxification vital for hormonal balance.

Artichokes support liver health and are a great source of fiber, ideal for healthy digestion and elimination. Fiber binds to excess hormones for proper elimination through stool.

Including artichokes in your weekly meal planning may help support liver function, improve digestion, and balance hormones. 

10. Apples

Apples are a good source of vitamin C—essential in the production of progesterone—and quercetin, a potent antioxidant that helps combat inflammation.

Apples are also a great source of fiber and contain pectin, a prebiotic that supports gut health for superior digestion and elimination. 

Simple Ways to Balance Your Hormones

There are many external factors and foods that can contribute to hormonal imbalances and even worsen menopause symptoms, including alcohol consumption, excess caffeine, soy, dairy, BPA found in plastic, and chronic stress.

I used to experience panic attacks, bouts of depression, and embarrassing breakouts all throughout high school and college, and It wasn't until I changed my diet that my symptoms dissipated. As always, consult with a medical professional before implementing new lifestyle changes.

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Lauren Gillan
Lauren Gillan is a certified nutritionist who writes for Top10.com. After developing debilitating anxiety she refocused her studies from business development to holistic nutrition. Lauren has had a private practice for the past decade, empowering clients with the tools they need for a happier, healthier life.

*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.