Balance hormones with diet. Wow, quite a statement isn’t it. That is because you CAN make a difference to your hormonal health through dietary changes alone. Estrogen dominant conditions such as PCOS, Fibroids and Endometriosis respond well to healthy dietary changes.
Diet and Estrogen Dominance
Saturated fats compete for uptake with essential fatty acids (EFAs), so the types of fats
consumed can be a major factor in determining estrogen/progesterone balance. A diet of balanced saturated fats, low (preferably void of) hydrogenated vegetable oils and high in EFAs will help reduce estrogen dominance. Hormones such as estrogen and progesterone use cholesterol as their foundational building block. Yes you read that correctly, cholesterol is required for hormone production. From cholesterol your body creates pregnenolone, which is then converted into other hormones. Maintaining healthy levels of “good” (HDL) vs. “bad” (LDL) cholesterol is essential for optimal hormone production and this can be done through proper dietary choices.
A diet high in fiber will assist in estrogen elimination. Dietary fiber reduces estrogen levels in the blood and urine, possibly by influencing the enzyme produced by intestinal bacteria or ‘gut bacteria’. This enzyme is beta-glucouronidase. Good examples are wheat bran, psyllium husks, pectins (skins and rinds of fruit and vegetables) and lignans such as flaxseeds. These lignans exert estrogen-like activities and are believed to protect against the proliferative effects of endogenous estrogens, and thus, may help reduce risk of breast cancer.
Eat more cultured foods such as kefir, yogurt, fermented vegetables and sauerkraut as per your blood type. The bacteria in yogurt, Lactobacillus acidophilus, reduces an enzyme called beta-glucouronidase which has a positive effect on estrogen excretion. Fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso and tamari can also have the same effect.
Phytoestrogens or plant estrogens can prevent estrogens produced in the body from binding to their receptor sites via a mechanism called ‘competitive inhibition’. They are also capable of slowing down the conversion of androgens to estrogen that normally occurs in fatty tissue, and they can make estrogen relatively unavailable by increasing the levels of estrogen’s carrier protein, SHBG. When more estrogen is bound to SHBG, less is available to bind to estrogen receptors. Examples of foods that contain include phytoestrogens include soy (choose non-GMO fermented soy products), alfalfa, a large range of grains and seeds, fennel and fenugreek.
Eat from the cabbage family. Natural chemicals found in the cabbage family such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts can increase the rate at which the liver changes estrogen into water-soluble form for excretion. Additionally, kale, beets and beet greens also favorably support the lives detoxification pathways. Indoles such as Di-indole methane (DIM) also competitively inhibit estrogen, and seem to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
Adequate protein intake is necessary to metabolize estrogen in the liver. Since many conditions are associated with excess protein intake, it is recommended that protein be taken in the form of grains, legumes, lean meat, fish, organic chicken and eggs, and that it constitutes not more than 60g of pure protein daily.
Support liver detoxification by avoiding caffeine and alcohol. Foods rich in sulphur such as garlic, onion, leek and cabbage aid liver detoxification. Foods high in methionine assist with the methylation of estrogen, the chemical reaction the liver uses to break down estrogen (estradiol) into a less potent form (estriol). Beans, legumes, onions and garlic are high in methionine.
These are just a few key points on how to help balance hormones with diet.