Hormones can be a drag when they are off kilter, suddenly you are a stark raving lunatic, or you're crying in the corner, you just can't keep a regular cycle, there is hair everywhere or it is all falling out.
We know that hormones are an essential part of the reproductive tract. But what we seem to forget is that there are so many reasons and contributors to imbalanced hormones that can affect not just your reproductive years but also your post reproductive years.
So to help balance these hormones, we need to ensure that excess is excreted adequately and that for us women, our cycles are supported and regular. For our men we need to be able to keep testosterone in track and reduce the phyto-oestrogens from creeping up..especially our beer drinkers! and keep those prostates healthy, and all of us less stressed!.
So we are looking at 5 foods that help support balancing hormones for both male and female hormonal health.
1. Flaxseeds/Linseeds: these little powerhouses are amazing at supporting the detoxification of excess oestrogen for both men and women. You can have it as ground linseed in LSA on your breakfast or just leave a heaped tablespoon in a glass of water overnight and drink in the morning (NOTE: it does become a lil 'jelly-like' overnight, but it is worth the benefits).
2. Maca: this amazing tuber native from Peru, is grown at high altitude and comes in red, black and yellow but all from the same seed crop. There are different uses for each colour. The black maca is considered the masculine and is rare. It is mainly for use in cognitive function, libido and fatigue in men. The red maca is for the feminine. It helps balance hormonal imbalance in women, reducing inflammation (including prostate), supporting blood flow, libido, reducing PMS symptoms and can have calming and anti-anxiety effects which help balance those fight or flight hormones. The more common colour, Yellow, is for daily use to maintain balance and stress resilience, which can be a key contributor to hormonal imbalance. On a side not- please ensure you choose Maca that is sustainable and true Maca. The way Maca is grown in Peru is very spiritually minded and is specific in its ritual, supporting the farmers and elders that grow it in a holistic and special way is an extra part of it's charm.
3. Polyphenols: these are another flash word for antioxidants. The brighter the fruit or vegetable, the more polyphenols in it. The aim is to have a wide variety of colours- such as blues and blacks, reds and oranges and greens and yellows. Polyphenols support microcirculation within the body. They are antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress to the body which also support detoxification pathways. This helps the liver excrete excess hormones adequately and reduce likely imbalances. Examples of polyphenol rich foods include blackcurrants, purple sprouting broccoli, spinach, oranges, grapefruit, lemon, capsicums and broad beans.
4. Fibre: fibre is another one of those detox supporters. It helps protect the bowel and provides valuable pre-biotics to feed your gut flora. This can affect hormonal balance if you have gut flora imbalance causing inflammation, dysbiosis, and overall stress to the body. Fibre also assists with regulating insulin and blood sugar. Fibres include fibrous vegetables such as broccoli, pineapple and carrots, and nuts, lentils, grains and seeds.
5. Essential Fatty Acids: EFA's are naturally anti oxidative and help balance the omega 3- omega 6 ratio to provide EPA and DHA which are essential for hormone production. Omega's also help keep the cell membranes healthy to allow hormones to adhere. Examples of sources of EFA's includes fatty-oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and wild caught salmon, and cold pressed oils such as olive, hemp and flaxseed, as well as nuts and seeds.