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. Oestrogen dominant conditions such as PCOS, fibroids and endometriosis respond well to healthy dietary changes.
Diet and oestrogen dominance
- Saturated fats compete for uptake with essential fatty acids (EFAs), so the types of fats consumed can be a major factor in determining oestrogen/progesterone balance. A diet low in saturated fats and high in EFAs will help reduce oestrogen dominance.
- A diet high in fibre will assist in oestrogen elimination. Dietary fibre reduces oestrogen 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 linseeds, also known as flaxseed. These lignans exert oestrogen-like and are believed to protect against the proliferative effects of endogenous oestrogens, and thus, may help reduce risk of breast cancer.
- Eat more cultured milk products and yoghurt. The bacteria in yoghurt, Lactobacillus acidophilus, reduces an enzyme called beta-glucouronidase which has a positive effect on oestrogen excretion. Fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso and tamari can also have the same effect.
- Phytoestrogens or plant oestrogens can prevent oestrogens 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 oestrogen that normally occurs in fatty tissue, and they can make oestrogen relatively unavailable by increasing the levels of oestrogen’s carrier protein, SHBG. When more oestrogen is bound to SHBG, less is available to bind to oestrogen receptors. Examples of foods that contain include phytoestrogens include soy, 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 brussel sprouts can increase the rate at which the liver changes oestrogen into water-soluble form for excretion. Indoles such as Di-indole methane (DIM) also competitively inhibit oestrogen, and seem to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells.
- Adequate protein intake is necessary to metabolise oestrogen 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 oestrogen, the chemical reaction the liver uses to break down oestrogen (oestradiol) 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.
The Natural PCOS Diet
It is absolutely possible to balance hormones with diet, PCOS being a great example. My book, The Natural PCOS Diet contains all the essential information you need to know in regards to diet and naturopathhic medicine to help you overcome PCOS naturally.
Read more on hormone imbalances
- Oestrogen dominance causes hormone imbalances
- Treatment for Oestrogen Dominance
- Environmental Oestrogens are linked to oestrogen dominance
- What is Insulin Resistance
- The relationship between stress and hormones