Super-foods that balance your hormones. (Part 2)
Liver supporting, sugar balancing, rich in prebiotics, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, rich in sulfurs. Like garlic, shallots and leeks, onions are rich in polyphenols and work as a prebiotic to nourish and feed good gut bacteria, which in turn help produce serotonin (the happiness hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone). Onions are also rich in chromium and sulfurs called allyl propyl
disulfide, which can act like insulin to lower blood sugars naturally, avoid insulin spikes and reduce weight gain.
Do your eyes water when you chop onion? Blame it on the sulphuric compounds, which are antiviral and anti-fungal and are protective against cancer. Sulfurs support the liver to better detoxify waste such as estrogen metabolites, which can contribute to estrogen dominance and increase the risk of estrogenic breast cancer.
Onions are also rich in selenium which helps nourish the thyroid gland and may also help reduce depression.
Gut healing, anti-inflammatory, estrogen balancing, anti-carcinogenic, rich in antioxidants, rich in good fats. Also known as the “Phoenician apple” and “jewel of winter,” pomegranates are a higher antioxidant source than red wine. Their juice, peel and pericarp (the ripened wall of the plant’s ovary) are packed with fatty acids, phytoestrogens, polyphenols, flavonoids, alkaloids, ellagitannins and anthocyanins. These help prevent breast, endometrial, cervicaland ovarian cancer. Other
studies show reversal of such cancers. Packed with estrogens including estrone, estradiol and estriol, pomegranates can provide the benefits of good estrogens. In India and Iran, women trying to get pregnant are given freshly squeezed pomegranate juice.
Estrogen balancing, supports breast health, nutrient dense, immune boosting, rich in magnesium. Rotating these small green, nutty seeds into your diet during your menstrual cycle can help to stabilize hormones. Learn about the seed rotation method in my book Cooking for Hormone Balance.
Researchalso shows they can reduce estradiol levels and upregulate production of
progesterone, lowering estrogen dominance and breast cancer risk. Pumpkin seeds are high in protein, including the amino acid tryptophan, which helps production of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin and the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Good quality sleep stabilizes hormones such as insulin. Pumpkin seeds can increase levels of iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese zinc and vitamins E and C. These nutrients boost immunity and skin repair, stabilize hormones and enhance fertility. They are also high in magnesium, which is needed for around 300 enzyme responses in your body.
Thyroid balancing, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rich in omega 3s
A true superfood from the sea, salmon obtains its pink color from astaxanthin, which protects the double membrane of your mitochondria (the powerhouse of your cells and energy cycle). A little sashimi may also help improve your methylation, supporting healthy hormone production and fat burning.
Salmon is high in selenium, which helps protect the thyroid from damage and assists the conversion of T4 to T3. This tasty fish is also brimming with omega 3 fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA, which combat inflammatory chemicals, helping to stabilize the immune system, reducing risk of thyroid autoimmune conditions.
Gut -healing, anti-inflammatory, rich in good bacteria, immune boosting
Captain Cook managed to sail further than his predecessors because the high levels of vitamin C in the sauerkraut he brought on his voyages kept his sailors healthy and free of scurvy. Cabbage (both green and red) is the perfect food to ferment
by making it into sauerkraut. In a fermented form, it helps to create good gut bacteria, which detoxify us from antagonistic estrogens (preventing breast, uterine and thyroid cancers) and help produce serotonin and melatonin. A healthy gut microbiome reduces the risk of leaky gut and can help combat candida overgrowth. The range of probiotic strains in sauerkraut has been shown to help reduce abdominal pain, flatulence and belly distension, encourage weight loss and eczema. A better balance of bacteria in
the gut can also reduce seasonal and food allergies and intolerance issues and
lower the risk of autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Estrogen balancing, rich in B vitamins, rich in minerals,
progesterone boosting Sesame seeds are high in the antioxidant phenols, sesamin and sesamolin, which are converted by your gut bacteria to natural compounds that mimic estrogen and can benefit women going through perimenopause and menopause. They provide B-Complex vitamins such as niacin, thiamine (B1), folic acid, pyridoxine (B6) and riboflavin and minerals including zinc, calcium, phosphorus and selenium. Plus, they contain oleic acid, which can stimulate fat burning. Learn to use sesame seeds as part of the seed rotation method used to rebalance hormones, described
in the book.
Sugar balancing, nutrient dense, detoxifying, high in fiber, rich in iodine, magnesium and B vitamins. There are over 70 different varieties of seaweed including kelp (also known as kombu), dulse, wakame, arame and nori, all rich in iodine. Breast tissue, the reproductive organs and the brain have the highest number of iodine receptors. Iodine
deficiency is rampant today amongst women and has been linked to breast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts, breast cancer, polycystic ovaries and uterine fibroids. The high iodine content can also help with low thyroid condition that is not autoimmune related.
When digested seaweed turns into a gel, slowing down the digestive process and inhibiting the absorption of sugars, it provides a protective coating for the lining of the gut, reducing inflammation of the gut wall, which can help reduce irritation and the risk of leaky gut. Seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse packed with the B vitamins as well as vitamins A, C and E and trace elements such as selenium, calcium and magnesium, potassium, and iron. Varieties such as dulse, are very high in protein and amino acids such as lutein, leucine, valine and methionine. Methionine contains sulphur, which helps the liver detox.
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, rich in omega 3s, rich in antioxidants
Compared to other nuts, walnuts have the highest levels of antioxidants, called phytosterols. They are brimming with omega 3 fatty acids, including linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) and arachidonic acids, which have protective effects against breast cancer. Research in mice shows that just 2 ounces of walnuts every day can substantially slow the growth of breast cancer cells, which are often triggered by excess estrogen.
Shaped like a mini brain, walnuts increase nutrients like vitamin E and minerals, including copper, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. They are high in vitamin B6, which creates a chain reaction: B6 helps make tryptophan, which helps make serotonin, which helps make melatonin for sleep. Walnuts also contain bio-available melatonin, which can help lower your temperature at night, helping to speed the onset of sleep.