The world of hormones is vast, nuanced, and at times, vaguely terrifying. After all, there's an endless list of seemingly random things (your period! Your nail polish! Your couch!) that can tip the scales and throw the delicate system off balance, manifesting in any number of symptoms—moodiness, weight gain, and fatigue, to name a few. When something feels "off," chances are your hormones may be to blame.
Diet is a huge component in this system. Experts tell us that a poor eating plan—particularly one that's high in sugar and processed food—can consistently throw off our hormones. "Overloading on sugary foods can lead to insulin resistance, where your cells become numb to insulin," notes Sara Gottfried, MD, New York Times best-selling author of The Hormone Reset Diet ($17). But while knowing what not to eat is always useful, know that you prime your body for optimal hormonal function by also ingesting an array of balancing foods. And according to experts, one type of food in particular should be your go-to in this pursuit.
Keep reading to find out what it is.
The best Hormone-Balancing Food
Saturated fats still have a bit of a sticky reputation, and it's not totally undeserved since processed saturated fats really aren't good for us. But on the flip side, healthy saturated fats found in natural foods like avocado, dark chocolate, coconut oil, and ghee are quite beneficial for our endocrine glands, which are responsible for producing hormones.
"Beneficial omega-3s and saturated fats are vital for hormone function and balance," celebrity nutritionist Elissa Goodman tells us. "If the body doesn't have enough healthy fat to make hormones, it must rely on lower-quality polyunsaturated fats that oxidize easily and lead to inflammation. This inflammation can cause further hormonal issues." She recommends filling up on rich sources of healthy fat like fish, grass-fed butter, chia seeds, and avocado.
On that note, check out more "superfats" that belong in your diet.