Best Foods for Hormone Imbalance: PMS & Acne
One of our missions here at Elevays is to show you that balancing your hormones naturally is possible. We want to shift your relationship with your symptoms from viewing them as problems to seeing them as a guiding light to your very best, healthiest self. That’s why we love to share accessible and transformative healing tools. One of those healing tools is food.
A healthy diet has the power to support hormones and transform mood, skin, and energy levels. In this article, I’m going to share the best foods for hormone imbalance so that you can get back on track and feel like yourself again. Are you ready to learn about my favorite balancing hormones diet? Let’s get started.
What Helps to Balance Hormones
Nourishing foods, herbs, and nutrients are essential for balanced hormones. They are the building blocks of healthy hormone levels! At the end of this article, you’ll find a grocery list of the best foods for balancing your hormones. But I want to get a little more specific in this article. Two of the most common hormone imbalance complaints are period and PMS problems and hormonal acne. I want to dive deeper into these topics and talk about specific foods, herbs, and nutrients that can help heal the root cause of these hormonal imbalances.
Period issues and PMS
Cramps, migraines, breast tenderness, low mood, heavy flow, and extreme lethargy. Hello, that time of the month! The thing is, while PMS is common, it’s not normal. Here are the best foods, herbs, and nutrients for hormonal imbalances causing period issues and PMS.
- Omega-3 Rich Foods: try and consume wild-caught fish up to three times per week to get your omega-3 count up.There are wonderful omega-3 rich plant foods like flax seeds, walnuts, and chia seeds if you are plant-based. Make a delicious chia seed pudding overnight for a yumm
- Focus on Plant-Based Meals: this doesn’t mean to stop consuming animal products (hint we love fish^), but it does mean making two-thirds of your plate vegetables, with a focus on dark leafy greens. Kale, collards, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli sprouts can help eliminate excess estrogen, which is often a root cause of breast tenderness and other period complaints.
- Ditch Alcohol and Reduce Coffee/Caffeine: both linked to breast tenderness and other hormonal issues. Instead, try an herbal coffee like maca and chicory or try our Hydration Superfood Energy Powder. We talk more about caffeine and coffee in this episode and list our favorite alternatives here.
- Eliminate Red Meat: conventionally raised meat often contains artificial hormones, and we want to avoid that at all costs. Consider only eating red meat during or after your period for extra iron. But also opt for ethically raised grass-fed meats.
- Focus on Fiber: fiber is essential to flush out excess estrogen, which is a primary cause of heavy periods among other cycle complaints.
- Add in Iron Rich Foods: yes, red meat is an iron-rich food, but so are dried apricots, lentils, raisins, and leafy greens.
- Try Going Vegan: going vegan has been shown to dramatically reduce period cramps. When going vegan, there are some things you need to avoid to keep hormone levels healthy. We talk about them in this article and in this podcast episode.
- Stay Hydrated: water should be a food group. Staying hydrated is key to helping hormones function properly. Give your body some love with electrolytes. Make sure you are drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water per day. If this is hard for you like it was for me, I highly recommend checking out our strawberry-kiwi Hydration Superfood Energy powder. It makes drinking water a cinch. Say goodbye to headaches and extreme lethargy!
- Ginger Root: ginger can help with common period problems like bloating, headaches, nausea, and other pains. Consume as a tea or in a warming stew or soup.
- Motherwort and Cramp Bark: Take as a tincture in infuse into a bitter tea just before and during your period to help with pain.
- Chamomile: Consider taking a chamomile tincture or drinking chamomile tea daily for the week post-ovulation to the start of your menses. This can help with mood, anxiety, and cyclic breast tenderness.
- Red Raspberry Leaf and Yarrow Tea: yarrow tea can be helpful for getting your cycle back on track, or telling your body it’s ok to start bleeding. Both of these herbs are great to consume during heavy flow. Try 2 cups/day.
- Fish Oil: rich in omega-3’s, this nutrient is a must as if taken daily it reduces the need for ibuprofen in as little as three months. We talk about what to look out for when purchasing a fish oil supplement in this article and in this podcast episode.
- Magnesium: most people are deficient in magnesium due to our conventional agriculture system. While I think everyone should be taking a magnesium supplement (I love our Hydration Superfood Energy), it’s especially important to take magnesium 5 days before and the first 3 days of your period to reduce cramps! It’s also fabulous for calming down the nervous system and promoting a good night’s sleep.
- Calcium: calcium can reduce moodiness, food cravings, headaches, and pain all associated with PMS by 50%. Consider taking a calcium supplement if you feel like you are not getting enough through your food.
- Vitamin B6: take it separately, or take in a complex (or take it via our Hydration Superfood Energy powder) and get this vitamin in. It’s a must for PMS>
- Zinc: not only great for immune system, but it can also help prevent emotional and physical symptoms that come with PMS. Personally, the taste of a zinc tincture to me (even with glycerin) is horrible. I love to get my dose through our vanilla-honey Beauty Collagen Complex powder.
- Vitamin D3: ah, the beautiful hormone of the sun. Winter can make it hard for us to get enough of this. Taking a supplement is a must to help with PMS symptoms.
Hormonal acne affects about half of women between twenty and 40 and 25% of women in their forties. Acne isn’t just something teens experience. We did an entire episode on hormonal acne fixes that really work, you can listen here. In the episode, I dive into my struggles with acne, the foods to avoid (hint: dairy), and what products you need to get out of your house ASAP for clear skin. Let’s dive into some of the best foods, herbs, and nutrients for balancing hormones for skin you feel confident in.
- Fruits and vegetables: low intake of fruits and veggies has been associated with a higher risk for acne. Increase your intake of hydrating(but low glycemic) fruits and vegetables like melons, berries, apples, cucumbers, celery, carrots (great for eliminating excess estrogen as well)
- Healthy fats: blood sugar balance is essential for clear skin. Keep it stable by including healthy fats in every single meal. This includes avocados, coconut, and wild-caught fish.
- Ditch dairy: conventional dairy contains growth factors and hormones that contribute to hormone imbalance. Most people have a difficult time digesting it, and your skin shows that.
- Avoid processed carbs and refined sugars: overly processed flours and even empty carbs (ah, rice) can worsen acne. Try skipping them for a month and see how your skin likes it.
- Milk thistle and other bitters: one study showed that daily consumption of bitters like milk thistle led up to a 53 percent decrease in hormonal acne.
- Tea Tree: I LOVE this essential oil for fighting acne. Read more about tea tree’s magic here.
- Adaptogens: stress can worsen hormonal acne symptoms. Try incorporating adaptogens like ashwagandha and Schisandra to help balance hormones and make you more resilient to stress. Both can be found in our Beauty Collagen Complex (amazing for gut health, which in turn is amazing for skin health! Oh, and our clinically-proven collagen has been shown to reduce wrinkles and improve elasticity.)
General Hormone Imbalances
Hormone imbalances can look like a bunch of different things: hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, fertility issues, recurrent UTIs, mood changes, low libido, lethargy, uterine fibroids, PCOS, and more. We just dove into two of the most common complaints surrounding hormones, PMS and Acne.
At the root of hormonal imbalances—our hormones are just asking for proper nourishment, both internally and externally. The one thing we know for sure is that certain foods, herbs, and nutrients help with all general hormone imbalances. Let’s get you a grocery list:
- Omega 3 Rich Foods like flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds, wild-caught fish including salmon, and halibut (also small fish like anchovies and sardines)
- Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli sprouts, bok choy, cabbage and dark leafy greens.
- Low-Glycemic & Hydrating Fruits like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew
- Iron-rich foods like dried apricots, raisins, lentils, leafy greens like collards, found in our Organic Immunity Greens powder, along with 11 other supergreens we talked about today!
- Blood sugar regulating foods like sweet potatoes, avocados, coconut oil, nut, and seed butters, good quality olive oil
- Legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and black beans
- Slow Carbs like buckwheat, oats, quinoa, red, pink or black rice, wild rice
- Nuts and seeds like chia, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, tahini, almond, cashew, pine nuts, pagans, walnuts
Herbs and Spices
- Stinging Nettles
- Women’s Multivitamin
- B6 (or B Complex)
- Vitamin D3
- Fish Oil/Omega 3
I hope this article has helped you see a clear path for your healing journey. It starts with nourishment. Let me know in the comments below what foods, herbs, and nutrients you are most excited about using. In our other article, How to Balance Hormones with Food we look at specific hormones: adrenal, sex, and thyroid and talk about foods that help each system thrive.
To shop the Superfood Supplements we mentioned, go here. Having trouble deciding which one to get first? Save money and make space in your medicine cabinet with our one-stop shop Be Well Bundle. You can also download our Happy Hormone’s Guide to learn about 7 fixable mistakes most people are making that are causing their hormones to go haywire.
ROMM, AVIVA. Hormone Intelligence: The Complete Guide to Calming Hormone Chaos and Restoring Your Body’s… Natural Blueprint for Well-Being. HARPERONE, 2022.