Our hormones are our body’s main control panel. When foods that we eat disrupt our delicate hormone balance, many systems go haywire, or, shut down altogether. Maintaining hormonal balance is essential to our health – an imbalance can affect our ability to lose weight, conceive a child, and maintain our mental health. In fact, studies have linked certain types of cancers and other chronic illnesses to unhealthy hormone levels.
Fortunately, there are many SUPERFOODS that are known to help keep this delicate balance in check!
In addition to other cruciferous vegetables (kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage) contain high amounts of phytonutrients (specifically isothiocyanates) which helps break down potent estrogen metabolites known to cause tumour growth.
These seeds contain lignans (phytoestrogenic compounds) that are proven to fight colon and breast cancer, and help burn fat. Adding 2-3 tbsp. to your smoothies, cereal, or salads daily can reduce your risk of cancer and also contributes healthy fiber and essential fatty acids.
Rich in beta-sitosterol, a compound that helps to balance the stress hormone, cortisol, and also to lower blood cholesterol. Avocados also help restore low DHEA (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland).
These are fantastic on so many levels! Along with being the best source of omega 3 fatty acids in nature, their hormone benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing metabolic syndrome.
If you are tolerant of dairy, this is a great source of probiotics, which promote gut health, aids in the metabolism of estrogen, and boosts immunity.
This is an extremely powerful fruit. The most powerful estrogen in the body, estradiol, is a key culprit in the development of breast cancer. Pomegranates contain compounds that inhibit the enzymes responsible for converting estrogen to estradiol.
Like ginger, cumin, garlic, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and a favourite here at Ki’s Kitchen, turmeric, have hormone-balancing properties. Turmeric is also a known anti-inflammatory.
(yes, it’s true!) boosts our endorphins and contains tryptophan (a building block of serotonin – the stress-fighting hormone). It also contains the chemical phenylethylamene which is known to produce feelings of love, excitement, and attraction (remember the romantic movie, Chocolat?)
In terms of overall dietary requirements to maintain hormone balance, it is important to make sure you are getting enough lean protein (60 grams / day of digestible protein). Protein can come from a variety of sources. If you eat meat, it can come from pasture-fed lean beef or chicken, or from fatty fish, or eggs. If you eat a plant-based diet, it can come from legumes and nuts.
It is also important to make sure you are getting enough healthy fats (coconut, ghee, olive oil, walnuts) as they are the building blocks of all hormones and are responsible for the production of your stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Finally, take care of your liver and your thyroid. A clogged liver can interrupt the careful hormonal balancing act that is occurring at all times within your body. Try a green smoothie during the afternoon. Add some cilantro, parsley, and dandelion to it for and extra boost. For your thyroid, add foods rich in magnesium (almonds and dark leafy greens) and in iodine (Himalayan pink salt and nori).
Now that we’ve given so many wonderful, tasty, and nutritious examples of what foods to eat to support hormone balance, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the foods that actually DISRUPT our delicate hormonal balance
1) Avoid non-healthy fats (vegetable oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, canola oil, margarine, etc).
2) Limit the caffeine – too much caffeine can wreak havoc on the endocrine system, so limit yourself to one cup/day, or, add 1 tsp. of coconut oil to your coffee to make it an elixir.
3) Surprise, surprise, sugar is a big one – sugar (in all its forms) has been known to increase hormonal symptoms in women. When you consume sugar, the body then responds by producing an abundance of insulin – too much prolonged focus on producing insulin to process the sugar, and your body ends up with an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone.
4) Factory-Farmed meat – growth hormones added to meat, eggs, and dairy are known estrogen disruptors. If you eat meat, choose organic, pasture-raised alternatives.
5) White Bread – gluten plus sugar cause inflammation, which can disrupt the adrenal glands.
In closing, a few lifestyle practices can also aid in the balance of our hormones. Not surprising, SLEEP is so important – 7-9 hours / night are recommended, as is drinking lots of WATER – 2 L / day, and EXERCISE – 30 min / day at least 3 times / week.
Have more questions about your diet and hormonal balance? Reach out to us at Ki’s Kitchen. We’d love to share our flavourful, healing, balancing menus with you.
Thank you so much for visiting! I hope you have found some valuable information, if so, I’d love to hear about it!
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I look forward to connecting with you next time!
From our kitchen to yours,
Love + Peace