Eating to balance your hormones, fact or fiction

Eating to balance hormones is becoming a big trend, but are the current claims based on science?

  • Published: 2/23/2023
  • 4 min. read

Scroll through some health related socials these days and you’ll discover that hormones are making the headlines. Eating to balance hormones is becoming a big trend, but are the current claims based on science?

In healthy circumstances, our bodies are experts at maintaining hormones within a normal level. But modern food processing and sedentary lifestyles make it more difficult for our bodies to do its job. Let’s learn how to naturally support our body in balancing hormones and if related meal plans hold true.

What are hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers in our body which have a big impact on many processes. They influence our growth and development as well as regulate our metabolism, sexual health, sleep, mood, and digestion. 

When hormones are within a normal range, our health benefits! But when too much or too little hormones are produced overtime, or if we’re not able to effectively use them, it can lead to complications such as diabetes, infertility, or weight gain or loss (1). To restore the balance, many people have been turning back to nature in order to regulate their weight. 

Eating to balance hormones

Hormone balance is extremely complex and individual. Our hormones are constantly changing and adapting to things happening in our body and our surroundings. However, there are some general ways of eating that can help promote healthy hormone production and function (2). So here are some general healthy eating tips to support healthy hormones:

  • Limit added sugar and processed foods: Sugar plays a role in insulin resistance and too many processed foods can put stress on our adrenal glands, which produce our steroid hormones (3). 
  • Incorporate healthy fats: Healthy fats like those from avocados, oily fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds help our hormones by reducing overall inflammation (4). 
  • Focus on fiber: Fiber is important because it can actually bind to excess hormones and remove them through our colon (5). Good fiber sources include whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. 
  • Eat protein with meals: Lean protein sources include beans, lentils, tofu, eggs, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy. These help regulate our blood sugar and appetite hormones. Protein is also needed to make hormones (6).

Social media fact check 

Now that we know the basics about hormones and how eating can support them, let’s take a look at what social media says. We compiled some of the most popular content out there and explored whether the claims are fact or fiction.

Do women need to eat a raw carrot salad every day to manage estrogen levels?

Influencers are saying that carrot salad is a must for women in order to lower estrogen levels; helping them balance thyroid function and supporting the liver. This secret ingredient is sought after because too much estrogen can cause unpleasant side effects like moodiness and bloating. 

When it comes to carrots for estrogen reduction, there isn't in-depth research that focuses specifically on the relationship between carrots and estrogen. Fiber feeds the gut bacteria which break down estrogen. So there is some truth to eating carrots for hormone health since they contain fiber, but you can also get it from other sources as well.

Should you replace all carbs and lean proteins with fats to avoid insulin spikes?

In general, when you eat easily digestible carbohydrates, they’re quickly absorbed and released into our bloodstream, but all carbs are not created equal. When you combine carbohydrates with fat, protein, or fiber (found in vegetables, whole grains and fruit), it can slow the absorption of the glucose, regulating the insulin response. To balance your blood sugar through healthy eating, download the Lifesum app. 

Do we have to give up our morning coffee??!!!

Caffeine may or may not impact your estrogen levels, depending on your body and sensitivity to it. A study found that Asian women who consumed the equivalent of about two cups of coffee per day, had elevated estrogen levels, while white women who had the same amount, had slightly lowered estrogen levels (7). Drinking up to three or four cups per day is usually safe for most people but it's important to keep in mind that everyone responds differently to it (8). 

Keep in mind: Trying to regulate imbalances and underlying conditions can be tricky with just food or lifestyle so it’s always important to check in with a doctor.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.