How Does Food Affect My Hormones?

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How Does Food Affect My Hormones?

There is an intimate connection between the food you put into your mouth, and how well your hormonal system operates. Or as the website for Cancer Treatment Centers of America puts it[1]: “Eating to balance your hormones consists of achieving the right balance of macro and micronutrients so your endocrine system gets the right variety and amounts of the key nutrients it needs to produce optimal hormone levels.”

Food also plays another important role when it comes to hormone health, and that is overall body weight. Carolyn Lammersfeld, Vice President of Integrative Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America – Chicago, reminds us[2] that “excess weight can affect hormone levels; achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight through diet and physical activity is important. Carrying extra weight can lead to elevated estrogen, insulin and leptin levels, all of which have been associated with increased risk of chronic disease.”

Speaking of estrogen, let’s hone in on that hormone since it – along with progesterone – is so intimately connected to a woman’s vibrancy. Here, we defer to naturopathic physician Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, who has published[3] some excellent thoughts on the nutrition/estrogen and progesterone connection:

“For the purposes of developing your own personal beauty regimen then, let’s talk about two hormones at the center of it all: estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is friend and foe, too little and we have dry, sagging skin and our moods go south; too much and we can be bloated and irritable. Progesterone is our steadfast friend. When your progesterone levels are balanced with your estrogen, you sail through hormonal cycles, you’ve got energy, and you aren’t bogged down with PMS, bloating, fatigue, and draining heavy periods. So how can you optimize your estrogen and progesterone levels? There are some foods you want to add in – and some you definitely want to take out.”

What Foods Should I Avoid?

greasy food

Let’s start with the “don’ts” first, so you can do a clean sweep. What you want to take out of your diet is anything that interferes with liver detoxification of estrogen, which includes [4]:

  • Heavy, greasy fatty foods
  • Fast foods that are full of chemicals, calories, and sugar, but short on nutrition
  • Non-organic foods that may have higher levels of xenoestrogens (aka estrogen-mimicking chemicals that could interfere with the healthy liver detox of estrogen)

Other ones to watch out for? Vegetable oils like corn, safflower, and sunflower, which all contain omega-6 polyunsaturated fats. These show up everywhere, from french fries to salad dressing, so read labels at the grocery store, and look for foods prepared with alternative oils instead. (Olive oil and coconut oil are good choices.)

Another area to watch? Your soy consumption. The science is still coming in[5] on soy, and how exactly it affects estrogen function. As Harvard School of Public Health reminds us, “a handful of unsettling reports suggests that concentrated supplements of soy proteins may actually stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells,” due to its interaction with estrogen. So while at this point you probably don’t need to ban soy altogether, keep an eye on the science: we are very much in “learning mode” still as to how it interacts with a woman’s endocrine health.

What Foods Should I Eat for Hormone Health?

plant protein

Now let’s get to the fun part: eating! (Nom nom nom)

According to Dr. Steelsmith, all of these foods support healthy ovulation:

  • An organic diet consisting of lean protein sources (fish, eggs, skinless poultry)
  • Organic veggies (lots!)
  • Leafy greens
  • Whole grains

She also recommends taking a supplement to super-charge your hormone health, with effects you will feel on the inside, and see on the inside. These are:

  • The supplement chaste berry to support healthy ovulation
  • Adrenal-supportive herbs like ginseng to mitigate stress, which can have an adverse effect on ovulation

(Note: If you’re looking for a good chaste berry supplement, the  Asensia® formula contains it – see how it interacts with your hormones and supports healthy progesterone levels on our FAQ page.)

And finally: if you’re going to buy just one hormone-power ingredient at the store tonight, make it…(drum roll please)…

Broccoli! From Organic Life[6]:

“Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage, contain high amounts of phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, including indole-3-carbinol, which helps break down a harmful and potent estrogen metabolite that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells.

Choosing meals and ingredients with the correct nutrients can keep your hormones functioning optimally, so look for food that especially nourishes your estrogen and progesterone function. Want a recipe? We love Dr. Steelsmith’s healthy hormone salad[7] to get you started. Bon Appetit!



[1] “How to Eat for Hormonal Balance: Nutrition Tips for Every Woman,” read full article at:

[2] “How to Eat for Hormonal Balance: Nutrition Tips for Every Woman,” read full article at:

[3] “Natural ways to feel better inside and out,” read full article at:

[4]  “Natural ways to feel better inside and out,” read full article at:

[5] “Straight Talk About Soy,” read full article at:

[6] “21 Hormone-Balancing Foods You Should Be Eating,” read full article at:

[7] “The 5 Ingredients You Need for a Hormone Healthy Salad,” read full article at:


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Stacey Chillemi

I am on a mission to transform the health of millions worldwide. Check out my website at I am a popular and recognizable health and lifestyle reporter and expert, columnist and health host. Author of The Complete Guide to Natural Healing and Natural Remedies for Common Conditions, along with 20 other published books. I am the founder of The Complete Herbal Guide and a recognized health and natural remedies expert, with over 20 years in practice as a Health Coach. I write for the Huffington Post, Huff Post, Thrive Global and Medium (Owned by Arianna Huffington). I have been a guest on the Dr. Oz Show, local news, and numerous radio shows. My focus is on natural healing, herbal remedies, alternative methods, self-motivation, food for medicine, nutrition, fitness, natural beauty remedies and the power of positive thinking.



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