By: Dr. Kirsten Singler, NMD
Did you know that the food you eat influences your hormones? Your diet choices can help balance your hormones whether you suffer from menopausal symptoms, irregular cycles, PCOS, or struggle with fertility. Here is a list of the top foods that balance women’s hormones and the top foods to avoid that disturb hormones.
BEST FOOD FOR WOMEN’S HORMONES:
Berries are high in three important hormone-balancing agents. They are high in calcium d-glucarate which helps to bind up extra estrogens. Similarly, they are excellent aromatase inhibitors which means they help prevent extra (unnecessary) estrogen from being produced. Additionally, berries are high in quercetin and other flavonoids that help reduce estrogen. This is an important food to include to reduce cancer risk as well as to reduce PMS symptoms and conditions of estrogen dominance.
Like berries, mushrooms are known aromatase inhibitors so they help to reduce extra, unwanted estrogen. This food is especial beneficial for conditions of estrogen dominance such as breast tenderness and premenstrual symptoms.
Flax seeds contains phytoestrogens. This food is particularly useful for menopausal or post-menopausal women who are typically lower in estrogen. The ground seed or oil can help to reduce symptoms of menopause such as hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes. Also, flax seeds can help menstruating women have healthier, and more consitent cycles. Additionally, regular consumption of flax seed helps reduce the risk of breast, prostate, and ovarian cancer.
Brassicas are also known as cruciferous vegetables in the mustard family. These are foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, arugala, kale, kolrabi. This group of vegetables contain special compounds that help balance estrogens. These compounds called sulphurophanes, diindolemethane, indole-3-acetate and indole-3-carbinyl help clear the liver of waste, clear out extra estrogens and reduce risk of breast, cervical, endometrial, and prostate cancer. Diindolemethane is used to prevent pre-menstrual syndrome and conditions of estrogen dominance such as fibroids, cysts, and endometriosis.
Onions & Garlic
These wonderful bulbs are rich in sulfur groups and quercetin that help your liver produce glutathione, detoxify your body, reduce risk of cancer, and reduce extra estrogen. Your liver breaks down extra hormones that your body no longer needs, so it is important to keep your liver functioning at peak performance with high levels of glutathioine. Sulfur rich food like garlic and onions give your liver that extra boost of efficiency so enjoy those roasted garlic bulbs and sweet, sautéed onions!
All citrus are high in flavones such as hesperetin, rutin, chrysin that help to balance hormones. Studies have found that hesperetin extracts can help reduce menopausal hot flashes by 50%. These flavones are mildly estrogenic as well as inhibit aromatase activity. Specifically, chrysin is used to prevent testosterone from turning into estrogen.
Green tea is loaded with epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a special substance that helps your insulin work effectively, and helps to reduce androgens (male hormones). For women that have high levels of testosterone such as in PCOS, drinking 3-4 cups of green tea daily can help to reduce symptoms of acne, unwanted hair growth, and help establish more regular menstrual cycles. Additionally, there is extensive research showing EGCG as a profound inhibitor of cancer growth. Add a little lemon to your tea and the EGCG becomes more bioavailable.
FOODS THAT DISTURB HORMONES:
This is any food or drink that has been cooked or stored in plastic. Plastic contains compounds called xenoestrogens that disrupt the delicate hormone balance in our bodies. Xenoestrogens have been linked to infertility, endometriosis, PCOS, prostate cancer, testicular dysgenic and should be avoided. Use stainless steel or ceramic containers for lunch containers and water bottles. If re-heating food in the microwave, always use a ceramic dish. When purchasing food at the grocery, look for items that are not in a plastic container. Food that is available without a plastic container will always be healthier for you. These foods are typically legumes, fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.
Similar to xenoestrogens found in plastics, pesticides also have endocrine disruptors that have been linked to increased risk for certain cancers. Avoid food that has been grown with heavy amounts of pesticide by choosing organic options. Also see the Environmental Working Group’s list of the “Clean Fifteen” and “Dirty Dozen” for the food that were found highest in pesticides each year. You can find this list at www.ewg.org/
Meat raised with hormones.
In the United States, this primarily applies to cattle and sheep products such as dairy, beef, and lamb. As much as two-thirds of the cattle raised in the US are given estrogen and, or testosterone to increase growth. If you consume beef, dairy, or lamb, purchase products that are labeled “hormone free”.