If you have a health issue related to an imbalance in your hormonal system you can improve things by being careful with your diet and eating specific foods which are known to help.
Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a key component of the diet. The more you include raw fruits and vegetables the quicker you will get your hormones back into balance. At the very least make sure you eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Your emphasis should be on vegetables more than fruit. Even fresh fruit contains sugars, especially fruits such as bananas and grapes, which can have an effect on blood sugar levels. Blood sugar instability is often a factor in conditions of hormonal imbalance.
Fresh fruit and vegetables provide a good range of nutrients, including anti-oxidants and fibre. Cruciferous vegetables (including broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and cauliflower) are particularly beneficial because they help balance out the excess oestrogen.
Eat Complex carbohydrates – whole-grains such as brown rice, oats and wholemeal bread
Eat whole grains. If you are going to eat bread and pasta (though this is generally not recommended) then make sure it is wholemeal. Similarly swap from white rice to brown rice. Complex carbohydrates give you long lasting energy, balance your blood sugar and help you to not feel tired. They also assist in balancing your hormones.
Eat phytoestrogens such as Pulses – lentils, chickpeas, soya products and linseeds
Another major component of this diet is foods that are high in phytoestrogens. In the main these are pulses and beans. So use lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, soya beans etc. Linseeds (flax seed) is another useful source. You should aim for at least three helpings per day.
These foods contain plant oestrogens which help to reduce toxic oestrogens in the body. They also help to stimulate the liver into producing sex-hormone-binding-globulin which is responsible for controlling the amount of oestrogen and testosterone circulating around the body. Therefore these foods have a balancing effect on our hormones.
Eat Plenty of fibre
If you follow the recommendations above then you will significantly increase the amount of fibre in your diet. Fibre is naturally found in fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, pulses and beans. Fibre reduces oestrogen levels by preventing oestrogen that is excreted in bile from being reabsorbed. It encourages swift elimination of toxins and old hormones from the bowel. Fibre also slows the absorption of sugar thereby helping blood sugar balance.
Avoid sugar in your diet, both as a sweetener and hidden in foods. Sugar detrimentally affects blood sugar balance, by causing sudden peaks as the sugar is ingested, followed by lows as the body rushes to deal with it and ends up over-compensating. Also too much sugar can cause weight gain and fat deposition. Fat cells manufacture oestrogen thereby creating an oestrogen overload in the body.
Reduce saturated fat especially from red meat and dairy products
Red meats and dairy products are generally not recommended. A diet high in saturated fat encourages weight gain and fat deposition. Fat cells manufacture oestrogen thereby creating an oestrogen overload in the body. Saturated animal fats are more likely to contain xenoestrogens (foreign and artificial hormones) which can disrupt your hormone balance. Foods high in saturated fats are generally pro-inflammatory.
Eat good quality Oily foods such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, flax oil
It is important to maintain your intake of healthy fats. Eat a portion of oil rich foods such as oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel), nuts, seeds or cold pressed vegetable oils every day. These will provide the essential fats, Omega-3 and omega-6 which are a vital component of every human cell, and pre-cursors of many substances which regulate bodily processes. They help to balance your hormones by encouraging your cells to respond to hormonal triggers more effectively.
Drink plenty of healthy fluid
You should aim for 6-8 glasses of water per day. If you restrict liquids your body will retain water and you may become bloated. Try to drink filtered or purified water as tap water contains various contaminants including recycled oestrogen and other hormones. A good fluid intake will help to help to flush out old hormones and other waste products from the body. It also provides a helpful environment in which the body’s metabolic processes can operate.
Eliminate or Reduce caffeine
Caffeine has a diuretic effect on the body, which can deplete stores of vitamins and minerals which are essential for a healthy hormone balance, as well as many other bodily processes. So avoid coffee, tea and caffeine containing stimulant drinks.
Cut out or Reduce alcohol
Alcohol affects the liver and compromises its ability to detoxify your system, including the re-processing of old hormones. Alcohol detrimentally affects blood sugar balance and interferes with the metabolism of Essential Fats.
Avoid additives, preservatives and chemicals
To keep your hormones in balance your food needs to be as natural as possible. Eat food that is in its most natural state without any added chemicals in the form of additives and preservatives. Be particularly wary of any food or drink containing artificial sweeteners. So always read food labels and if you see anything listed that you don’t recognise as food then avoid that product. Better still, stick to fresh, natural and wholesome food.