Hello hormone warriors, or those stuck in a little hormone rut - this blog post is for you! We are about to take a dive into unpacking how we can use food as the ultimate hormone puppeteer. Yes you read that correctly: your kitchen may just hold the secret to harmonising your hormones. Now I know what you may be thinking, “I’ve heard about this before, how can a carrot really balance my hormones? Can mushrooms really work their magic on oestrogen levels?”. And the answer is, yes, they absolutely can! We are about to challenge conventional wisdom and dive down the rabbit hole of hormone-balancing cuisine.
In this two-part blog post, we are going to blow your mind in discussing the power of using food as medicine to support your endocrine system. To start with, we will be talking about which foods help regulate hormones by supporting oestrogen clearance. Soon after, we will discuss which foods can encourage progesterone production… So stay tuned!
Raw Carrot Salad and Indigestible Fibre
Carrots, in their raw form, are not only delicious but also pack a punch when it comes to hormonal health. Studies have found the high fibre content in carrots helps regulate oestrogen levels. This is because carrots contain unique indigestible fibres that prevent reabsorption of oestrogen in the intestine, helping detox oestrogen through the bowel. This means the liver can more effectively regulate oestrogen metabolism.
To reap the benefits, whip up a refreshing raw carrot salad by grating fresh carrots, tossing them with lemon juice, olive oil, and your favourite herbs. It is most potent when separated from meals, but may also want to enjoy this crunchy delight as a side dish or add it to your favourite wrap.
Flaxmeal and Lignans
Flaxmeal, derived from ground flaxseeds, is a potent source of lignans - a type of phytoestrogen that can mimic or modulate the effects of oestrogen in the body. In fact, it has even been associated with reduced breast cancer risk and improved hormonal balance.
Incorporate flaxmeal into your diet by adding it to smoothies, yoghurt, baked goods, wraps, or use as a crumbing alternative. The trick is to ensure it’s freshly ground, kept airtight and refrigerated to really reap its benefits.
Bean Shoots and Di-Indolyl-Methane
Bean shoots, such as mung bean sprouts, are not only a popular addition to stir fries but also a nutritional hero for hormonal regulation. These crunchy sprouts are rich in di-indolyl-methane (DIM), a compound known for its ability to support healthy hormone metabolism. DIM has been studied extensively for its ability to modulate oestrogen metabolism and potentially reduce the risk of hormone-related conditions.
Add bean shoots to your salads, sandwiches, or stir-fries for a juicy crunch.
Cruciferous Vegetables, Indole-3-Carbinol, Sulforaphane and DIM
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain a compound called Indole-3-carbinol (I3C), the precursor to DIM. This compound can enhance the metabolism of oestrogen, promoting its clearance from the body. Additionally, broccoli sprouts can contain up to 100 times more sulforaphane than broccoli itself. Sulforaphane is a compound that supports liver detoxification and reduces inflammation.
Sulforaphane, I3C & DIM are all derived from cruciferous vegetables and have similarities in their mechanisms of action, however, DIM & I3C have the potential to decrease total oestrogens in circulation, whereas sulforaphane plays more of an anti-inflammatory role.
Adding these vegetables into your diet is easy - salads, soups, or oven roasted to serve with or on the side of any meal. It’s essential to note that cruciferous vegetables are always best enjoyed cooked. This activates the sulforaphane content (yay!) and reduces the goitrogen content (double yay!), as goitrogens can inhibit the body’s ability to utilise iodine and negatively impact thyroid function.
Mushrooms and Aromatase Inhibitors
Our fungi friends have long been revered for their nutritional and medicinal properties. When it comes to hormonal health, certain mushroom varieties, such as shiitake and reishi, take the spotlight. These mushrooms contain potent bioactive compounds (aromatase inhibitors) that can modulate oestrogen receptor activity to support hormonal balance. Even white button mushrooms have been found to modulate oestrogen activity and breast cancer cell proliferation!
Incorporating mushrooms into your diet by adding them to stir-fries, soups, or even as a meat substitute in burgers if that’s what you’re into!
Citrus and Limonene
Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are rich in d-limonene, a powerful compound that supports liver detoxification pathways, including the clearance of oestrogen.
Enjoy citrus fruits as a refreshing snack, in water, or squeeze some fresh juice over your meals for a zesty twist.
Thank you for joining us for a read today as we unravelled the juiciness of using food as the ultimate hormone remedy. The power of food as medicine to support our endocrine system is truly astounding. Who would have thought that the fruit and veg section holds the key to harmonising our hormones?
In this first part of this two-part blog post series, we focused on foods that support oestrogen clearance. We shattered doubts and confirmed that yes, mushrooms, with their magical abilities to influence oestrogen levels, have proven to be worthy allies in our hormone-balancing journey. But wait, there's more! In our upcoming post, we'll reveal the foods that can encourage progesterone production, adding another dimension to our understanding of hormonal regulation. Get ready to discover the wonders of oysters, eggs, beef liver, pumpkin seeds, and much more. Gone are the days of us overlooking the magic that lies within our own kitchen!
As always, consult with your preferred health professional to ensure a personalised nutritional approach to your hormonal journey. As you venture forth, may your kitchen become your sanctuary, filled with the aromas and flavours of foods that support and harmonise your body and life.
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