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Natural Ways to Regulate Hormones (That Work)
Updated on January 31, 2024
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Natural Ways to Regulate Hormones (That Work)
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Regulating your hormones naturally means making some healthy choices in your everyday life. It involves building good habits like eating right, working out, and getting enough quality sleep.

As you integrate good habits, naturally balancing your hormones becomes simple and sustainable.

Your body produces over 50 different hormones. They control many biological processes that are crucial to your health and survival.

Hormones can influence the following:

  • Physical development
  • Muscle and bone growth
  • Puberty in teenagers
  • Sleeping cycles
  • Mood and libido
  • Fertility
  • Sexual performance
  • Appetite and digestion
  • Metabolism
  • Immune and stress response

Normally, your body produces enough hormones to facilitate these functions. But if one or more of them are imbalanced, it can affect your well-being.

Given the critical role of hormones in human health, it's important that you maintain a proper balance.

Natural Ways to Regulate Hormones (That Work) 2

How to Balance Hormones Naturally

Balancing your hormones naturally is doable through making healthy choices.

Stress and unhealthy lifestyles can cause your hormones to become imbalanced. Some hormones normally decrease with age, causing symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

Medications and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can treat some hormonal problems. But there are natural ways to promote hormonal balance, such as:

1. Avoid eating late at night

Good for: People with elevated insulin and blood sugar, people diagnosed or at risk for diabetes

The human body operates on a biological clock called the circadian rhythm. It expects to receive food when you are active and when light is present.

If you eat when it is dark or when you are supposed to be asleep, it can affect your metabolism, hormones, and health. Studies show that eating close to bedtime (when melatonin levels are high) can increase your body fat.

Late-night eating is also associated with:1

  • Increased blood sugar levels until the next day
  • Higher risk for obesity and metabolic disorders

Eventually, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.2 A person with diabetes usually has elevated levels of insulin, which is a form of hormone imbalance.

Doctors recommend avoiding food intake during hours when your melatonin is elevated, such as during bedtime, sleeping time, or very early in the morning.

2. Get enough quality sleep

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

Getting an adequate amount of sleep is not enough. You can have seven to eight hours of sleep and still wake up tired if you are interrupted. 

You need good quality sleep, which means getting enough hours of undisturbed sleep.

According to research, good quality sleep can help you maintain hormonal balance. It also prevents health problems that can further lead to imbalance, like diabetes, insulin sensitivity, and obesity.3

3. Eat leafy green vegetables

Good for: Men with elevated androgen, people with high estrogen levels, menopausal women

Men with increased levels of androgen have a higher risk for prostate cancer. Women with elevated estrogen are also at risk for breast cancer.

Studies show that brassicas or cruciferous vegetables prevent hormone-related cancers. They contain indole and diindolilmetano (DIM), which block the effects of imbalanced androgen and estrogen.4,5

Examples of cruciferous vegetables are:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cauliflower
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Lettuce

Nutritionists recommend including them in your diet. However, people with thyroid problems should avoid eating them raw.

Vegetables under the brassica family contain goitrin, which can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Cooking removes goitrin and its effects.6

4. Consume enough iodine and vitamin B12

Good for: Thyroid hormone balance

The body needs iodine to produce thyroid hormones. A lack of iodine in your diet (called iodine deficiency) can lead to thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

About 30% of people with thyroid issues have a vitamin B12 deficiency.

If you want to promote thyroid health, eat foods that contain iodine and vitamin B12. Some good sources of iodine are:

  • Dairy products – Cow's milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream
  • Poultry – Chicken and eggs
  • Iodized products – Supplements and table salt
  • Seafood – Saltwater fish, seaweed, and shellfish
  • Soy products – Soy milk and soy sauce

Vitamin B12 can be derived from animal sources, such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. But you can also get it from fortified cereals, yeasts, and supplements.

However, you should avoid iodine-rich foods if you have a thyroid problem.

5. Add phytoestrogen-rich foods to your diet

Good for: People with decreased estrogen, menopausal women

Phytoestrogen is a plant-based compound that mimics the effects of estrogen when consumed. It is found in many fruits and vegetables.

Foods that are high in phytoestrogen include:

  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocadoes
  • Beansprouts
  • Blackberries
  • Blackcurrants
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Carrots
  • Cherries (stoned)
  • Chestnuts
  • Chickpeas
  • Coconut
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Fennel
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Gooseberries
  • Grapefruits
  • Grapes (dried fruit)
  • Green beans
  • Green olives
  • Honeydew melons
  • Kiwi
  • Leaks
  • Lemon (peeled or dried fruit)
  • Mango (skinned or stoned fruit)
  • Mung beans
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parsley
  • Parsnips
  • Passion fruits
  • Peaches (stoned)
  • Pineapples
  • Pomegranates
  • Potato crisps
  • Prunes
  • Pumpkins
  • Raspberries
  • Red currants
  • Red potatoes (skinned and boiled)
  • Victoria plums
  • Watermelons
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Spring onions
  • Strawberries (tinned)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Watercress
  • Yellow plums

Some types of legumes contain more phytoestrogens than others. French, kidney, and runner beans and sugar snap peas retain their phytoestrogen content even when cooked.7

According to some studies, phytoestrogens can regulate your endocrine system.8 This lowers your risk for hormone-related health problems such as diabetes, osteoporosis, cognitive decline, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

Phytoestrogen has also been shown to help with menopausal symptoms.9

Note that you need to avoid soybeans and soy products. If you can’t avoid them, eat them in moderation. These foods contain goitrin and a high amount of phytoestrogen. They can interfere with your hormone balance.5,6

6. Make sure you eat high-fiber foods

Good for: People with excess estrogen, menopausal women

The average American consumes 17 grams of fiber in a day. That's about 8 to 18 grams less than the recommended daily fiber intake for adults.10

Studies show that a high-fiber diet significantly lowers your estrogen. It can prevent breast cancer in healthy and menopausal women, as well as in women with a family history of breast cancer.10,11,12

Unfortunately, too much fiber also decreases progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in premenopausal women. This can cause infertility.12

7. Try a Mediterranean diet

Good for: Balancing cortisol and reducing stress

Your pancreas releases cortisol to help your body cope with stress and illness. It is a normal and healthy response. But if you have chronic stress, it exposes you to cortisol for too long.

If you are constantly stressed, consider switching to a Mediterranean diet. It reduces cortisol and offers these benefits:13

  • Reduce stress and inflammation
  • Promote regular sleep cycle
  • Maintain blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Facilitate healthy metabolism

The diet mostly consists of fruits, vegetables, fibers, whole grains, and olive oil. You also get some fish, lean meats, and dairy with your meals.

Here's what you can eat with a Mediterranean diet:

Foods high in Vitamin B, like:

  • Beef
  • Cereal (fortified)
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Organ meats

Foods high in omega-3 acids, like:

  • Anchovies
  • Avocadoes
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Olive oil
  • Oysters
  • Salmon
  • Seeds (chia and flax)
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Walnuts

Foods high in magnesium, like:

  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Broccoli
  • Chocolate (dark)
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Spinach

Foods high in protein, like:

  • Almonds
  • Beef (lean)
  • Chicken (breast)
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Peanuts
  • Quinoa
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Turkey (breast)

8. Exercise regularly

Good for: Stress reduction, balancing cortisol and insulin, women with elevated estrogen

Exercise relieves stress by reducing stress hormones. It also lowers the risk of breast cancer in women with high estrogen. Furthermore, it helps maintain normal blood sugar and insulin levels.14,15,16

9. Go organic

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

Some mass-produced fruits, vegetables, livestock, and poultry are injected with hormones and antibiotics to speed up their growth and protect them from disease. Plant-based foods are also often sprayed with pesticides to deter pests, which can harm humans.

Unfortunately, these practices make food unsafe. Consuming these foods and their byproducts (e.g., eggs and milk) exposes you to endocrine disruptors and leads to hormonal imbalances.

If you can, buy organic fruits and vegetables from local farms. Replace mass-produced meats and poultry with free-range options. When buying foods, make sure they are organic, chemical-free, and pesticide-free.

10. Eat moderately

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

Regardless of what you eat, it's important that you consume your food in moderation. This means eating the right amount of each food group every day and eating a variety of foods.

Some choices of good diets that stress moderation are the standard and the Mediterranean diet.17,18 Below are the recommended daily intake based on a 2,000 to 2,200-calorie diet:

Standard Diet

  • Vegetables – 2 1/2 servings of different varieties per day (e.g., 2 cups raw leafy, 1 cup chopped, or 1 cup 100% vegetable juice per serving)
  • Fruits – 2 servings per day (e.g., 1 medium whole fruit, 1 cup sliced or juice, or 1/2 cup dried per serving)
  • Grains – 6 servings of whole grains per day (e.g., 1 slice bread or small tortilla; 1 cup cereal; 1/2 cup cooked pasta, rice, or oatmeal; or 3 cups cooked popcorn per serving)
  • Protein – 5 1/2 oz. per day not exceeding 8 oz. of seafood per week (e.g., 1/4 cup cooked beans, peas, or lentils; 1/4 cup tofu; 1/2 oz. nuts or seeds; 1 tbsp. peanut butter; 1 egg or 2 egg whites; 1 oz. cooked seafood, meat, or poultry per serving)
  • Dairy – 3 servings per day, preferably low-fat or fat-free (e.g., 1 cup milk or yogurt or 1 oz. cheese per serving)
  • Fats and oil – 3 tbsps. of fat and oil per day (e.g., vegetable oil, soft margarine, low-fat mayonnaise, or light salad dressing)

Mediterranean Diet

  • Vegetables – 4 or more servings per day with at least 1 portion of raw vegetables (1 cup raw or 1/2 cooked per serving)
  • Fruits – 3 or more servings per day
  • Grains – 4 or more servings per day (e.g., 1 sliced bread or 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal per serving)
  • Nuts and seeds – 3 or more servings per week
  • Beans and legumes – 3 or more servings per week
  • Fish and seafood – 2 to 3 times per week, preferably as salmon, tuna, and sardines
  • Dairy – Any amount daily or weekly, preferably low-fat yogurt and cheese
  • Meat – Any amount daily or weekly, preferably skinless chicken or turkey instead of red meat
  • Herbs and spices – Any amount daily
  • Fats and oils – 4 tbsps. of olive oil per day, preferably extra virgin; diet may also include avocados and natural peanut butter
  • Herbs and spices – Use them to season food instead of salt
  • Wine – 1 to 2 glasses per day if your doctor allows it

11. Eat Omega 3 rich foods

Good for: Infertile and menopausal women

Studies show that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can:19

  • Help women with infertility conceive
  • Reduce menopause symptoms
  • Prevent breast cancer and osteoporosis in menopausal women
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease in women receiving hormone replacement therapy

For a list of omega-3-rich foods, you can refer to #6 on our list. Alternatively, you can take omega-3 supplements with your normal diet.

12. Drink spearmint tea

Good for: Women with PCOS and hirsutism, decreasing elevated testosterone in women

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common cause of infertility and sex hormone imbalance in women. One symptom of PCOS is hirsutism or excessive body hair growth.

Early studies show that spearmint tea has anti-androgen effects. It reduces testosterone and hirsutism in women suffering from PCOS.20

13. Take herbs that help balance your hormones

Good for: Older men and women, people with too much androgen

Androgenetic alopecia (AGA), or male-pattern baldness, is caused by elevated dihydrotestosterone (DHT) levels. It is common in older men, but it also occurs in adolescent boys, young men, and women.

Meanwhile, decreasing estrogen levels causes menopausal symptoms. These include hot flashes and mood swings.

Scientists have discovered herbs that can treat and reverse alopecia. They prevent the body from converting testosterone into DHT and promote hair regrowth. Some herbs also reduce symptoms of menopause.23,24

Herbal treatments for menopause include:

  • Sage
  • Lemon balm
  • Black cohosh
  • Fenugreek
  • Black cumin (nigella seed)
  • Evening primrose
  • Fennel
  • Gingko biloba
  • Vinex (chasteberry)

Herbal treatments for alopecia include:

  • Saw palmetto
  • Green tea
  • Pumpkin seed
  • Licorice
  • Rosemary
  • Grape seed

Other herbs that promote hormone balance are ashwaganda and marjoram.

14. Stick to a daily routine

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

Your body releases some hormones at certain times of the day. Others are released when you perform certain activities.

Keeping a daily routine allows you to balance hormones. This includes:

  • Sleeping and waking up at the same time every day
  • Getting as much sunlight during the daytime
  • Creating a bedtime routine
  • Dimming your room before going to sleep

15. Maintain a healthy weight

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

Obesity can lead to different kinds of hormonal imbalances. It affects your insulin, cortisol, and appetite hormones.

Maintaining a healthy weight will help you keep these hormones balanced.

People who are overweight or obese can improve their hormone balance by losing weight.25 You can read our review of the Best Weight Loss Apps to help with your journey.

16. Manage your stress

Good for: Decreasing stress; preventing stress-related hormonal imbalance

If you don't have time to exercise, there are other natural ways to reduce stress and cortisol hormone levels.

Here are some stress-reduction techniques that you can do:14

  • Slow breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Progressive muscular relaxation

17. Promote gut health

Good for: Overall health and hormonal balance

A healthy gut ensures that you absorb nutrients that promote hormonal balance. Eating fermented foods usually helps. These include:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Sauerkraut

What Causes Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormonal imbalance can result from numerous factors. Some causes of hormone imbalance are:

  • Aging
  • Chronic stress
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of sleep
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Exposure to endocrine disruptors

Certain conditions can also increase your risk for hormonal imbalances. These include obesity, diabetes, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Updated on January 31, 2024
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25 sources cited
Updated on January 31, 2024
  1. "When to Eat: The Importance of Eating Patterns in Health and Disease." SAGE Journals.

  2. Why Late-Night Eating Leads to Weight Gain, Diabetes.” Northwestern Medicine.

  3. "The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  4. "Brassica Vegetable Consumption Shifts Estrogen Metabolism in Healthy Postmenopausal Women." Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention.

  5. "Cruciferous vegetables help fight cancer." University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources.

  6. "Four nutrients to help your hormone imbalance - and two foods to avoid." Oregon State University.

  7. "Phytoestrogen content of fruits and vegetables commonly consumed in UK based on LC-MS and 13C-labelled standards." Research Gate.

  8. The Pros and Cons of Phytoestrogens.” National Library of Medicine.

  9. "Effects of Dietary Phytoestrogens on Hormones throughout a Human Lifespan: A Review." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  10. "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber." PubMed.

  11. "Effects of a High-Fiber, Low-Fat Diet Intervention on Serum Concentrations of Reproductive Steroid Hormones in Women With a History of Breast Cancer."

  12. "Dietary Fiber Intake and Endogenous Serum Hormone Levels in Naturally Postmenopausal Mexican American Women: The Multiethnic Cohort Study." Taylor and Francis Online.

  13. "Effect of daily fiber intake on reproductive function: the BioCycle Study." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  14. "Eat These Foods to Reduce Stress and Anxiety." Cleveland Clinic.

  15. "Steroids, hormones make veggies, fruits harmful." India Times.

  16. "Exercising to relax." Harvard Health Publishing.

  17. "Effect of physical activity on sex hormones in women: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  18. "Blood Sugar and Exercise." American Diabetes Association.

  19. "Suggested Servings from Each Food Group." American Heart Association.

  20. "Mediterranean Diet." Nutrition and Food Services.

  21. "Women and omega-3 Fatty acids." PubMed.

  22. "Spearmint herbal tea has significant anti-androgen effects in polycystic ovarian syndrome. A randomized controlled trial." PubMed.

  23. "An overview of herbal alternatives in androgenetic alopecia." ResearchGate.

  24. "A review of effective herbal medicines in controlling menopausal symptoms." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

  25. "A Review of Weight Control Strategies and Their Effects on the Regulation of Hormonal Balance." National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Ada Sandoval
Ada Sandoval
Content Contributor
Ada Sandoval is a B.S. in Nursing graduate and a registered nurse with a heart for abandoned animals. She works as a content writer who specializes in medical-related articles and pet health.
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