Healthcare provider discussing hormone balancing foods with patient

20 Hormone Balancing Foods

Medically reviewed on December 19, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

As important as they are, the 50+ hormones your body produces can easily become imbalanced if you make too much or too little of any of them.[1] Adequate sleep, regular movement, and proper nutrition are all critical for establishing—and re-establishing—hormonal health.[1]

Though no specific foods will heal your hormonal imbalances, focusing on several types of foods can support your body in recovering equilibrium. Alongside recommendations from your healthcare provider and learning about hormones and weight loss, the following suggestions for hormone balancing foods can help you build a diet for healthier, happier hormones.

Lean Proteins

Protein lays the foundation for hormonal balance for one reason: without it, your body can’t produce hormones at all.[2]

Protein is a macronutrient that contains essential amino acids, which are necessary for creating and synthesizing hormones.[3,4] Eating enough protein can also help stabilize hunger and satiety cues in your body, which are largely regulated by the hormones ghrelin and leptin.[5,6]

To build a diet for hormonal health, focus on lean protein sources, which contain a greater proportion of protein to fat.[2] Excellent sources include [2]:

  1. White fish like tilapia, cod, and bass
  2. White meats like chicken or turkey breast
  3. Lean beef cuts[7]
  4. Pork loin

Vegetarian sources of lean protein include:

  1. Egg whites
  2. Greek yogurt
  3. Beans
  4. Lentils

It’s best to seek most of your protein from lean sources, as eating mostly fat-dense proteins can heighten health risks like heart disease or hypertension.[2]

Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are another macronutrient that your body turns into sugar, or glucose, to use as energy. Carbohydrates fall into two categories [8]:

  • Simple carbohydrates, which are composed of fewer molecules
  • Complex carbohydrates, which are composed of more molecules

Because simple carbohydrates are smaller, your body breaks them down more rapidly.[9] This can cause bursts or “spikes” in energy—especially if you’re consuming monosaccharides, which only have one sugar molecule.[9]

When your blood sugar levels escalate frequently, your pancreas releases more insulin, the hormone responsible for retrieving blood sugar for energy. If insulin is released frequently or in large amounts, it can result in insulin insensitivity or type 2 diabetes.[9]

Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide a steadier stream of energy.[8] As such, they’re central for stabilizing insulin levels, hormonal balance, and general well-being.[8]

You can incorporate more complex carbohydrates into your diet by opting for [8]:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Black beans
  5. Peas
  6. Potatoes

Bear in mind that even complex carbohydrates can have a high glycemic index, which means they can cause a blood sugar surge after eating them.[9] If you have high blood glucose or diabetes, be sure to discuss which carbohydrates you can enjoy safely with your healthcare provider.

Probiotics And Prebiotics

A growing body of research suggests a close connection between the gut microbiome and a healthy hormone balance, specifically regarding sex hormones.[10,11] Though this relationship has mainly been studied among women and people assigned female at birth (AFAB), it’s thought that healthy intestinal flora helps maintain the balance of androgens like testosterone, as well as estrogen and progesterone.[12]

For many people, eating probiotics has the added benefit of improving digestion.[13] You can integrate more into your diet by eating [14]:

  1. Yogurt
  2. Kefir
  3. Sauerkraut
  4. Kimchi
  5. Miso
  6. Tempeh
  7. Kombucha

Taking a probiotic supplement with at least 1 billion colony-forming units is another way to keep probiotics in your diet.[14] For best results, look for a product that contains any of the following bacterial strains [14]:

  • Lactobacillus
  • Bifidobacterium
  • Bacillus
  • Saccharomyces boulardii

Just be sure to consult with a healthcare provider before adding any new supplement to your hormone balancing diet (particularly if you have a preexisting health condition).

Foods to Limit For Hormonal Balance

A well-balanced diet lays the bedrock for healthy hormone levels. Often, lowering your risk of hormonal imbalance means knowing which foods to limit or avoid.

Fructose And Sugary Foods

As mentioned, a high proportion of sugars and simple carbohydrates in your diet can upset your body’s insulin balance.

Fructose, the sweetest natural carbohydrate, may be particularly harmful to hormonal health.[15] Eating large amounts of fructose is associated with insulin resistance, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome.[15] To limit your fructose intake, try to minimize your consumption of processed foods containing high fructose corn syrup like fruit juices, sodas, and candy.


Soy can be a healthful vegetarian protein option, but eating too much of it may contribute to hormonal imbalance symptoms.[16] Soy gets broken down by the body into compounds that are similar to estrogens (phytoestrogens), which could mimic the effects of an estrogen imbalance if consumed too frequently.[16]


Recent research suggests a connection between high caffeine intake and an imbalance in estrogen levels in some women.[17] Moreover, drinking large amounts of caffeine could contribute to higher levels of anxiety in some people, which may result from imbalanced cortisol levels.[18]


The use of alcohol is thought to disrupt almost every hormonal feedback system, both immediately and in the long term.[19,20] It’s particularly damaging to the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, which some researchers call the “master switchboard” of the endocrine and nervous systems.[19]

Currently, high-risk drinking is defined as [21]:

  • 5 or more drinks per day in men and people assigned male at birth
  • 4 or more drinks per day in women and people assigned female at birth

Reducing your consumption of alcohol may have positive effects on hormonal balances in both the short and long term.

Hit Your Stride In Hormonal Health With Everlywell

Rebalancing your hormone levels is an individual journey that varies on the grounds of sex, health history, and unique wellness goals. Let Everlywell connect you to a qualified healthcare provider for a comprehensive evaluation of your hormonal health.

Whether you’re working on balancing your hormones, sexual well-being, or general wellness, book your first men’s online health visit and get started today.

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  1. Hormones: What They Are, Function & Types. Cleveland Clinic Medical. Last reviewed February 23, 2022. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  2. Plate Debate: What Are the Best and Worst Sources of Protein? Cleveland Clinic. 6 Dec. 2023. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  3. Rose, Adam J. Role of Peptide Hormones in the Adaptation to Altered Dietary Protein Intake. Nutrients. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 23 Aug. 2019. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  4. Layman, Donald K, et al. Defining Meal Requirements for Protein to Optimize Metabolic Roles of Amino Acids. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. U.S. National Library of Medicine. June 2015. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  5. Cuenca-Sánchez, Marta, et al. Controversies Surrounding High-Protein Diet Intake: Satiating Effect and Kidney and Bone Health. Advances in Nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 15 May 2015. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  6. Physiology, Obesity Neurohormonal Appetite and Satiety Control. U.S. National Library of Medicine. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  7. What does "lean" and "extra lean" beef mean on a nutrition label? ASKUSDA. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  8. Carbohydrates: Types & Health Benefits. Cleveland Clinic Medical. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  9. Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar. The Nutrition Source. 25 July 2016, URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  10. Szydłowska I;Marciniak A;Brodowska A;Loj B;Ciećwież S;Skonieczna-Żydecka K;Palma J;Łoniewski I;Stachowska E; Effects of Probiotics Supplementation on the Hormone and Body Mass Index in Perimenopausal and Postmenopausal Women Using the Standardized Diet. A 5-Week Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, and Randomized Clinical Study. European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences. U.S. National Library of Medicine. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  11. Barrea, Luigi, et al. Probiotics and Prebiotics: Any Role in Menopause-Related Diseases? Current Nutrition Reports. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Mar. 2023. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  12. He, Song, et al. The Gut Microbiome and Sex Hormone-Related Diseases. Frontiers. 25 Aug. 2021. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  13. Probiotics: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last Updated: August 2019. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  14. How to Pick the Best Probiotic. Cleveland Clinic. 27 Nov. 2023. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  15. Taskinen, Marja-Riitta, et al. Dietary Fructose and the Metabolic Syndrome. Nutrients, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 22 Aug. 2019. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  16. Domínguez-López, Inés, et al. Effects of Dietary Phytoestrogens on Hormones throughout a Human Lifespan: A Review. Nutrients. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 15 Aug. 2020. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  17. NIH Study Shows Caffeine Consumption Linked to Estrogen Changes. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 26 July 2015. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  18. Fiani, Brian, et al. The Neurophysiology of Caffeine as a Central Nervous System Stimulant and the Resultant Effects on Cognitive Function. Cureus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. 14 May 2021. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  19. Rachdaoui, Nadia, and Dipak K Sarkar. Pathophysiology of the Effects of Alcohol Abuse on the Endocrine System. Alcohol Research : Current Reviews. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2017. URL. Accessed 13 Dec. 2023.
  20. Rachdaoui, Nadia, and Dipak K Sarkar. Effects of Alcohol on the Endocrine System. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Sept. 2013. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.
  21. Alcohol in Moderation: How Many Drinks Is That? Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. 11 Dec. 2021. URL. Accessed December 13, 2023.

Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP is a board-certified Family Physician. Since completing her residency training in 2010, she’s been practicing full-scope family medicine in a rural setting. Dr. Foglesong Stabile’s practice includes caring for patients of all ages for preventative care as well as chronic disease management. She also provides prenatal care and delivers babies. Dr. Foglesong Stabile completed a teaching fellowship in 2020 and teaches the family medicine clerkship for one of her local medical schools. Dr. Foglesong Stabile’s favorite thing about family medicine is the variety of patients she sees in her clinical practice.
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