Super-foods that balance your hormones.
Your hormones are responsible for how you feel, look and even think...and when they are out of balance you know it. Even if one hormone is out of balance it can disrupt all of the other hormones in your body and this can create havoc on your system.
So what are hormones and why do they have so much control over us? Think of your hormones as an orchestra. When all of the instruments are tuned properly and the musicians are playing in harmony it is a perfect masterpiece, however, just one note off can be torturous. Produced by the endocrine glands hormones act like messengers sending chemicals to our thyroid, pancreas, pituitary, adrenal, and pineal glands. They also play a vital role in reproduction. There are so many types of hormones and they all play a major part in nearly every process of how our body functions.
For instance, steroid hormones are a type of hormone that is derived from cholesterol. This fatty substance travels through your bloodstream in little bundles called “lipoproteins.” You know them as low-density lipoproteins or LDL (bad cholesterol) and high-density lipoproteins or HDL (good cholesterol). LDL can cause arteries to clog and HDL what is what steroid hormones are made of and why people who follow low-fat diets tend to have imbalances. These hormones include Pregnenolone, Progesterone, DHEA, Cortisol, Testosterone, and Estrogens (E1, E2, E3). Non-Steroid hormones include insulin, leptin, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)...so as you can see it is very intricate and if any one hormone is out of sync, it throws off all of your other hormones.
Hormones are incredibly important in the day-to-day functioning of both woman and men. Unfortunately, many people have hormone issues and don't even realize it. A person with unbalanced hormones can feel lethargic and emotionally unsettled, they easily gain or lose weight, and have changes in the skin and hair. They can also experience digestive issues, acne, night sweats, hair loss, infertility, loss of libido and it can even cause weak bones. Birth control, antibiotics, chronic stress, lack of sleep, genetic predispositions, environmental toxins and poor nutrition can all play a part in causing the imbalance.
They can be tricky to figure out and while the functions of some hormones are relatively easy to understand, others require a Ph.D. in science.
How do we balance them? Well, there are many ways that your doctor may suggest like birth control pills, undergoing hormone replacement therapy, applying creams, or even a hysterectomy for women.
However, in the famous words from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, often called the father of Western medicine, "Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food" using natural foods with hormone balancing properties can be extremely helpful... and easy. ________________
like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, elderberries, and raspberries are not only rich in antioxidants that come from polyphenols (which protect against insulin sensitivity), they have tons of minerals, are high in fiber, anti-inflammatory and have sugar and estrogen balancing properties that reduce estrogen dominance through a process called Autophagy. This process cleans up damaged cells, removes neurotoxins and breaks down toxic chemicals and estrogen metabolites. To get the most from the polyphenols it's best to eat them raw.
A nutrient-dense, yummy nut that comes from South America and can often be found along the banks of major rivers. The most important health benefit of the Brazil nut is Selenium. Selenium has an amazing ability to reduce inflammation, improve heart health, aid in skin care, boost weight loss, reduce the signs of aging, mood boosting, thyroid supporting, cholesterol lowering, boosts immune system and fight anxiety. They also are incredibly efficient at balancing both male and female hormones by regulating thyroid function. The thyroid gland has the highest selenium levels per gram of tissue. Selenium helps convert the inactive T4 thyroid hormone into the active T3 form and decreases high anti -thyroid antibody levels. Research shows that within six hours of eating Brazil nuts, selenium levels rise in the blood. Plus selenium can protect against estrogenic cancers of the breast and ovaries, inhibiting breast cancer growth in cells resistant to cancer drugs.
If you are one of those people that has a hard time digesting them there is good news- if you soak them overnight, and then
dehydrate at a low heat in the oven or in a dehydrator they will be easier to digest.
Brazil nuts are great for snacking and can be tossed on salads added to dishes or made into a nut meal for bread.
Supports breast health, detoxifying, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, immune boosting and rich in sulfurs. Eating one cup of broccoli sprouts each week helps protect against breast cancer, which is commonly caused by excess estrogen and insufficient progesterone. The cancer protection comes from a phytonutrient called sulforaphane, which is 50 times more concentrated in broccoli seeds and sprouts than it is in mature broccoli florets. The sulforaphane targets and kills breast cancer stem cells, helping to prevent new tumors from growing.
It also triggers Phase 2 detoxification enzymes in your liver, a pivotal hormone
-balancing organ that filters and eliminates toxic chemicals and estrogen by
-products. Just 10 grams per day of broccoli sprout powder can help reverse insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic patients. Broccoli sprouts are also packed with flavonoids that boost good gut bacteria.
BUTTER AND GHEE
Gut healing, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory
High in vitamins A, D and E, butter and ghee (a clarified butter), contain medium and short chain fatty acids which are quickly used for energy and less likely to be stored as fat than polyunsaturated oils. These acids also give ghee a higher smoking point, so it is a good choice for high-heat cooking. Butter and ghee are both rich in butyric acid, which is anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Butter also boasts antimicrobial properties, can protect against gastrointestinal infections and has fat-burning benefits.
Despite its reputation as raising cholesterol, butter causes a lower rise
in blood fats than olive oil, canola and flax seed oil. It also contains iodine, in a very bio-available form, which benefits your thyroid gland, promoting hormonal balance. Triple-filtered ghee does not contain milk solids, so it is a good choice for people who are sensitive to lactose and casein.
Camu camu (Peruvian berry)
Liver supporting, estrogen balancing, rich in Vitamin C, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory The sour crimson berries of the camu camu shrub grow deep in the swampy, flooded rainforest of Peru, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia. They are bursting with vitamins E, and B, beta-carotene and minerals including iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. The tart, juicy pink pulp contains substantially more vitamin C than oranges. Vitamin C is essential for optimal adrenal gland and thyroid function. It also helps activate Phase 2 liver detoxification, which helps filter heavy metals, pesticides and estrogen metabolites from your body, reducing estrogen dominance and
restoring the balance between estrogen and
progesterone. Camu camu berries are rich in flavonoids, including catechins, rutin, anthocyanins, flavonols and flavanols. These antioxidants can suppress inflammation
and are good for your pancreas, increasing sensitivity to insulin, helping you lower insulin levels and maintain a more stable weight.
Sugar balancing, alkalizing, rich in vitamin C, rich in antioxidants
Lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges are rich in Vitamin C and bursting with flavanols, flavanones and limonoids. These natural antioxidants neutralize the effects of free radicals, reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, which are commonly caused by excess estrogen. D-limonene found in the skin of all citrus fruit is a potent liver detoxifier supporting various liver detoxification pathways. Therefore, do not chuck the peel! One flavonoid called naringenin can also combat weight gain by normalizing blood sugars.
Sugar balancing, immune boosting, rich in good fats, anti-fungal, anti
-bacterial, energizing. Though coconut oil is high in saturated fats it is rich in small and medium chain fatty acids which are quickly burned by your liver for energy, boosting your metabolism, body temperature and fat burning. That’s good news if you have an underactive thyroid or a muffin top caused by too much cortisol.
Coconut oil also helps your body produce cholesterol, which then turns into pregnenolone, produced in organs like your brain, adrenal glands and liver. Without this “mother” hormone, you cannot produce other important hormones like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and cortisol and DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone).
Coconut oil is rich in mood-stabilizing B group vitamins such as vitamin B6, folate, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid which can help fight adrenal fatigue and counter anxiety. It’s loaded with minerals that support a calm nervous system and immunity, including magnesium, selenium, copper, iron and manganese as well as potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
Coconut oil also contains caprylic acid and caprylic acid, which have anti-bacterial and antifungal actions, so they can help fight candida, which often colonizes the digestive system. In tropical climates like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, where coconut oil is regularly eaten, studies show that people do not suffer higher rates of heart disease.
Liver supporting, estrogen balancing, rich in antioxidants, anti-carcinogenic, immune boosting, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying, rich in sulfurs, rich in fiber
Your body enjoys an antioxidant boost every time you eat crucifers such as kale, broccoli and cabbage. They are packed with vitamins C, E and K, folate and carotenoids. They contain soluble dietary fibers, such as hemicellulose and pectin, which stabilize blood sugars and boost good bacteria in your gut, where many important hormones are made. Sulfuric compounds, called glucosinolates, which give crucifers their strong flavor, activate phase 2 detoxification in your liver, which helps filter out the antagonistic estrogen metabolites from your body. This helps with estrogen dominance and offers protection against estrogen-positive cancers.
Gut healing, estrogen balancing, high in good fats, rich in zinc, rich in omega 3s
Flaxseeds are an excellent source of protein, antioxidants and omega 3s. They play a dual role; boost and reduce estrogens at the same time (confusing so many women!).
When ground, they are packed with lignans that can bring up the levels of estrogen, helping to reduce hot flashes and other symptoms of peri -menopause and menopause. But, flaxseed can also lower levels of antagonistic estrogen (estradiol, estrone and their harmful metabolites), reducing estrogen dominance. Learn to use flaxseed as part of the seed rotation method used to rebalance hormones detailed in the book.
Flaxseed oil is not recommend as it does not contain the beneficial lignans, gets oxidized soon after extraction and may interfere with vitamin, mineral and drug absorption. If Omega 3 is what you are after, you will be better off taking a good quality fish oil.
Gut healing, liver supporting, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, alkalizing, rich in selenium. Like its cousins onion, shallots and leek. This pungent bulb is a member of the allium family. It is high in sulfur, which binds to toxins, and supports the liver to detoxify estrogen metabolites and create better balance between estrogen and progesterone. Garlic is also rich in selenium, which can help balance thyroid hormones and reduce TPO antibodies in women with Hashimoto’s.
Raw garlic is a natural antibacterial agent so it can reduce candida overgrowth in areas like the digestive system. It contains allicin, an enzyme that boosts immunity and helps reduce the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease. Allicin also helps counter free radicals, so it helps reduce the risk of estrogenic cancers of the breast and ovaries.
Gut healing, anti-inflammatory, rich in protein, immune boosting
Made from the skin, bones and connective tissues of animals such as cows, chicken and pigs, gelatin is a form of cooked collagen, an important protein that acts like natural glue in your body. It is loaded with amino acids that help build a strong scaffolding and matrix of fibers to support everything from your skin (reducing cellulite), bones and muscles to connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons. Gelatin is a belly “wunderfood”, soothing digestive issues such as bloating, acid reflux, indigestion
and food sensitivities.
Research shows it reduces inflammation in the intestine. The amino acid
glutamine and its gelatinous texture (which makes you feel full for longer) protects the lining of the gut, helping seal sections of leaky gut, which can in turn reduce the risk of developing autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Want a natural sleeping elixir? A bedtime cup of gelatin provides the amino acid glycine, which is a
nerve relaxant, a liver detoxifier and may relieve menstrual cramps. Glycine also supports your liver’s detoxifying pathways so you can clear your body of chemicals and unhealthy estrogen metabolites, reducing estrogen dominance. It is also a precursor for glutathione, the master antioxidant and detoxifier.
Energizing, rich in protein, hormone balancing, nutrient dense, rich in iron, rich in vitamin B12. Considered a delicacy in many cultures, liver is a premium source of protein, so it can combat fatigue and encourage the repair and regeneration of your cells. It exceeds in nutritional density as compared to muscle meat cuts. A rich source of iron, it can help prevent anemia. It provides folic acid, vitamins A, E, and all the B complex vitamins, particularly B12. Liver is also rich in copper, zinc, chromium (which regulates sugars and insulin) and selenium (important in healthy thyroid function).
Vitamin B12 directly affects your hormones. It is involved in the process of methylation, where methyl groups (which turn genes on and off) are donated to other chemical groups, such as proteins and hormones to enable them to do their job. Methylation helps your liver’s phase 2-detoxification pathway that removes unhealthy by-products of estrogen from your body, reducing estrogen dominance, which causes hormonal symptoms like chronic fluid retention, weight gain, endometriosis and breast cancer.
(See Super-foods that balance your hormones Part 2)