/ / How Food Balances Your Hormones

How Food Balances Your Hormones

I was that girl last night that couldn’t find anything free of preservatives, HFCS, artificial sweeteners and flavoring, or enriched bleached everything to hand out to the kiddies. So I left the lights off, shut the blinds, and cleaned house. 
So I figured today I would be that blogger that greets you the day after your sugar infused binge with a nice healthy eating article 🙂 
Many people assume that I don’t eat meat because of ethical reasons, that I am just some tree loving hippie. The truth is, although I am deeply bothered by the poor conditions that animals are bred and raised in, and the idea of how most of them are processed does disgust me, I have never been one to let that sort of thing keep me from eating what I want. And I actually love the taste of a rare steak. 
No, the reason that meat has taken a backseat in my diet is because when I cut it out I managed to rid myself of crippling migraines that had plagued me for over seven years.
I had visited multiple doctors, tried every sort of medication on the market, been to a chiropractor, tried exercising more, quit drinking red wine, drank more water, tried to relax more and decrease the stress in my life. The last option was to start a daily medication to prevent the migraines, it was a blood pressure medicine and because I already have very low blood pressure, it was most likely not going to be a pleasurable experience. 
After reading a few healthy living blogs and doing some Google research I started to form my own diagnosis. Because the migraines occurred without fail at that time of the month (although not isolated to just that time) it was pretty clear that on some level they were related to my hormone levels. So I changed my diet and tried to focus on foods that would help balance my hormones. 
Turns out I was onto something.
Last night I received my latest Clean Eating magazine, and in it I found an article called “Balance Your Hormones With Food.” There are a number of effects that hormones and specifically estrogen has on our system. Certain foods inhibit estrogen, others mimic estrogen, and all of those lovely pesticides and growth hormones can actually be 100-1000 more potent that any naturally occurring estrogen in our bodies. 
Most of us women have been led to believe that it’s completely normal to be a irrational banshee around the time of our period. However, the mood swings, headaches, irritability, bloating and PMS could be the symptoms of an estrogen imbalance, that may be alleviated by a diet that helps create balance in your body.
Some of the symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
Acceleration of the aging process
Allergies, including asthma, hives, rashes, sinus congestion
Autoimmune disorders such as lupus erythematosis and thyroiditis, and possibly Sjoegren’s disease
Breast cancer
Breast tenderness
Cervical dysplasia
Decreased sex drive
Depression with anxiety or agitation
Early onset of menstruation
Endometrial (uterine) cancer
Fat gain, especially around the abdomen, hips and thighs
Fatigue
Hair Loss
Headaches
Hypoglycemia
Increased blood clotting (increasing risk of strokes)
Infertility
Irregular menstrual periods
Irritability
Insomnia
Magnesium deficiency
Mood swings
Osteoporosis
Polycystic ovaries
PMS
Prostate cancer
Uterine cancer
Uterine fibroids
Water retention, bloating
Some symptoms of estrogen deficiency: 
Irregular Periods (changes in frequency, duration, skipped periods, etc.)
Infertility
Hot Flashes and Night Sweats
Vaginal Dryness
Bladder Control Problems
Insomnia/Disrupted Sleep
Weight Gain (especially around your waist and abdomen)**
Skin Changes (dryness, thinning look)
Headaches
Breast Tenderness
Gastrointestinal Distress and Nausea
Bloating
Dizziness/Light headedness
Sore Joints/Muscles
Hair Loss or Thinning
Increase in Facial Hair
Changes in Body Odor
Irritability
Mood Swings
Lowered Libido
Anxiety
“Brain Fog” — difficulty concentrating, confusion
Extreme Fatigue/Low Energy Levels
Types of Estrogen
  • Phytoestrogen: a diverse group of naturally occurring plant estrogens. They are very structurally similar to natural estrogen. Also called “dietary estrogens.” (source)
    • Isoflavones and lignans make up the two main groups of phytoestrogens. 
    • Lignans: found in healthful fruits and veggies and serve to block the action of other potentially harmful estrogens. 
    • Isoflavons: found in dairy products, man-made grains and in legumes. They may increase estrogen-like activity in the body and create imbalances. 
  • Xenoestrogens: chemicals that mimic estrogen. Only have to be present in tiny amounts to block the receptor sites of hormones and throw the body out of balance.
    • Include growth hormones in meat and milk, pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides
    • Also found in some plastics and dental compounds
    • Avoid them by choosing organic food instead of packaged and processed, and opt for BPA-free food containers and canned foods
    • Read more about the medical effects of xenoestrogens here
Foods with Estrogen Inhibitors (if you suffer from estrogen dominance, or other conditions that become worse with estrogen)
Buckwheat
Pears
Millet
Onions
Figs
Corn
Tapioca
Citrus Foods
Fruits (except apples, cherries, dates and pomegranates) 
Grapes
Broccoli
Green Beans
Cabbage
Squashes
Melons
Berries
Pineapples
Foods with Natural Estrogens (these are plant based and can help alleviate symptoms of menopause and help hormone deficient women)
Alfalfa
Olive Oil
Aniseseed
Olives
Apples
Papaya
Baker’s yeast
Parsley
Barley
Peas
Beets
Peppers
Black-eyed peas
Plums
Carrots
Pomegranates
Cherries
Potatoes
Chickpeas
Pumpkin
Clover
Red beans
Cucumbers
Red clover
Dairy Foods
Rhubarb
Dates
Rice
Eggs
Sage
Eggplant
Sesame seeds
Fennel
Soybean sprouts
Flaxseeds 
Garlic
Lean Meats
Licorice
Oats
According to the article our best bet is to eat a diet that includes a variety of foods to help create a balance, and for those who have a dominance or deficiency to focus on a diet to help counteract that imbalance.
Happy eating!

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