Eating Your Way to Hormone Balance

Use food to keep you level

Women’s health expert Christiane Northrup, MD, recommends a hormone-balancing diet that includes lean protein at every meal and limiting grains—even whole grains—if you’re dealing with a gluten sensitivity.

High-glycemic foods can trigger hormonal spikes, so Dr. Northrup advocates eating smaller portions of foods like basmati rice, kidney beans, potatoes, and bananas.

Instead, she recommends low-glycemic options such as chickpeas, black beans, leafy vegetables, wild rice, and pears. (Obviously, anyone with a gluten sensitivity should avoid gluten or limit it to tolerable amounts.)

Dr. Northrup also offers these tips:

  • Eat at least three meals a day—never skip breakfast or lunch to “save” calories for dinner.
  • Eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables every day—the more colorful the better.
  • Eat healthy fats daily, such as eggs, flaxseeds, soybeans, walnuts, and wild, coldwater fish.


“Nutrition: Hormone-Balancing Food Plan” by Christiane Northrup, MD,, 8/21/09
Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom by Christiane Northup, MD ($20, Bantam Books, 2010)


Does gluten cause low libido?

For those with an intolerance or even just a sensitivity, gluten can turn into a hormone-trashing fireball.

It sends a stress signal to the adrenal glands, and the panic mode begins once the chain of proteins reaches your digestive tract. 

The adrenals are designed to combat hormonal stressors, but if you’re eating gluten several times a day—unaware that you have an intolerance—the glands soon become exhausted and malfunction.

Adrenals make the stress hormone cortisol and women’s sex hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. Cortisol gets top priority, so in times of stress and inflammation, production of the sex hormones takes a back seat.

“The Gluten Effect” by Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN,, 2013