My original post for this image was called “Simple PCOS Plate” and you can absolutely eat this way if you have PCOS, but this also applies to all of us.
What makes up a Happy Hormone Plate?
Quality Protein: When we eat protein we break it down into amino acids, which are used to build muscle, hormones, and function in hundreds of essential reactions in the body.
The other important aspect of foods high in protein is that they are from animals and high in vitamins and minerals. Some of the most important micronutrients we get from animal protein are vitamin A, vitmain B12 and other B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and selenium. These are the building blocks of our hormones.
Protein also helps keep our blood sugar stable and keeps us feeling satisfied after meals.
Healthy Fats: Healthy fats are made up of cholesterol, which is the backbone to all of our hormones.
If we don’t have enough fat and cholesterol in the diet, we literally cannot make hormones.
Fat also helps slow down the time it takes for us to breakdown carbs, which helps keep blood sugar stable. Fat, much like protein, is very satiating.
Fiber: Fiber is important for a couple reasons when it comes to hormone health. One is because it helps support healthy daily bowel movements and get rid of excess estrogen.
Another reason fiber is great for hormone health is because it slows the digestion of carbs. You might be wondeirng why keeping a healthy blood sugar level is important for hormones. Here’s a quick explanation:
If we are eating a diet of processed foods or not balanced our meals, we tend to have lots of highs and lows in our blood sugar.
Whenever we have a high blood sugar level, the body releases insulin to get the sugar into our cells to keep us healthy. After we have this high blood sugar, we have a low blood sugar.
This is where the problem is–a low blood sugar leads to a release of the stress hormone cortisol. If this happens too often and we also have other stressors in our bodies and lives, this can deplete hormones and lead to imbalances.
Starchy Carbs*: I know carbs are controversial, but here’s my hot take–starchy carbs ARE beneficial for menstruating women. Wehter you have PCOS, are overweight, etc. You can still eat carbs. They support healthy stress hormone levels and progesterone levels. Balance them out like this plate and you’re good!
*My caveat to this is for women that are peri and post menopause. Why? Because things change! Your ovaries are no longer making high levels of hormones. You have a small production coming from the adrenal glands, but that’s still much lower. Estrogen helps improve are sensitivity to insulin. As you get older, you are typically less sensitive to insulin and do better with less carbs.
This doesn’t mean no carbs, but you definitely want to balance your plate like the above and keep starchy carbs to 1-2 meals a day. I recommend dinner time since they help you sleep!
Want even more of a deep dive into building a nourishing nutrition foundation? Check out my podcast episode where I dig into this.
And check out what your hormone health looks like by taking my free mineral quiz to see if you have any imbalances.
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