There is no good reason for women to suffer from the peri-menopause and post-menopause hormone imbalance plague that includes constant hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog, depression and weight gain. Rest assured those pesky hormone imbalance symptoms can be calmed. Often it’s as simple as consuming foods that are known to provide nutritional hormone support. While a healthy real-food diet does not usually eliminate a clinical hormone imbalance, it can do a good job in helping to calm down those persistent symptoms that often go along with wacky hormones. While you still may need help from bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a healthy plant-based diet works synergistically with BHRT.
Using Diet for Nutritional Hormone Support
1. The number one thing you can do to provide nutritional hormone support is to consume more organic fruits and vegetables . Phytoestrogens are your best friend if estrogen dominance is a concern. Phytoestrogens are weak plant estrogens found in over 300 plants including blueberries, cherries, cranberries, carrots, bananas, beets, oranges, onions, peppers, oats, plums, olives and potatoes. Phytoestrogens actually bind to your estrogen receptors can word in one of two ways. They can help balance estrogen levels by having a mild estrogenic effect if your estrogen levels are too low, and they can block stronger estrogens if your levels are too high. In fact, phytoestrogens may even protect the body against xenoestrogens (man-made endocrine disrupting hormones).
2. The next best thing to do to provide nutritional hormone support is to increase your fiber by consuming freshly ground flax seeds. Your body eliminates estrogen excess by way of daily bowel movements. When excess estrogen is not eliminated in a timely manner, the estrogen can be reabsorbed and recirculated through your body. This adds more concerns to a body that might already be estrogen dominant. A diet high in fiber will actually support a successful elimination of excess estrogen. Flax seeds are a great source of fiber and are also rich in lignans — considered strong phytoestrogens. Studies show that the lignans in flax-seed help in reducing the risk of breast cancer as well as slowing the growth of breast cancer tumors. Lignans also possess anti-viral, anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties and can also help keep LDL (bad) cholesterol low and HDL (good) cholesterol high. Below is a great tasting and easy smoothie recipe to help with those wacky hormones. I suggest incorporating this smoothie for breakfast or snack 3-4 times weekly, if possible.
3. Vitamin C. Vitamin C can provide nutritional hormone support because of their beneficial effect on estrogen levels in your body. While consuming adequate vitamin C promotes needed estrogen production, women with a vitamin C deficiency can experience lower estrogen levels. Vitamin C also assists your ovaries in the ovulation process. At a dose of 750 mg/day, research shows that vitamin C is able to raise progesterone levels in women with both low progesterone and a luteal phase deficiency (when the second half of the menstrual cycle is 10 days or less, or if progesterone level is low on day 21 of the cycle, or both).Vitamin C Found to Increase Progesterone Levels & Correct Luteal Phase Defect
4. Organic Cherries. If you suffer from bouts of insomnia, cherries can help. Cherries can provide nutritional hormone support because they are a source of melatonin. It is your pineal gland that releases melatonin, often called the “sleep hormone”. As we get older, our body begins to produce less melatonin, which is the reason many older adults often battle with sleep deprivation as well as other sleep concerns. Research shows that cherries have the capability to raise melatonin levels, total sleep time, as well as the quality of sleep which includes fewer instances of waking up in the middle of the night. Another hormone-balancing nutrient in organic cherries is magnesium. Magnesium is an important player in improving sleep by supporting optimum levels of GABA — a neurotransmitter that promotes restful sleep. Magnesium also assists in calming your body’s stress response by preventing the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Banana, Orange, Cherry Smoothie for Nutritional Hormone Support
Makes 2 servings.
2 organic Bananas (frozen)
2 organic oranges (peeled) or 1 tsp of organic camu camu powder*
1 ½ Cups of fresh or frozen organic cherries (pitted)
2 Tablespoons freshly grounded flax seeds**
½ tsp of organic vanilla
1/2 – 1 Cup organic coconut water (depending upon how thick you like your smoothies)
Place peeled and wrapped bananas into freezer the night before. Peel oranges, and pit the cherries. Retrieve bananas from freezer. Using an electric coffee grinder, freshly grind 2 tablespoons of flax seeds.* Place all ingredients into high-speed blender. I recommend using a VitaMix blender. Blend until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. Pour into glasses and enjoy!
*You may want to consider using organic camu camu powder in order to get a higher amount of Vitamin C. One teaspoon supplies approximately 682 mg of Vitamin C. If you decide to use camu camu powder, I suggest beginning with 1/4 teaspoon and gradually building up to one teaspoon.
**To get the full health benefits of flax seeds always grind them fresh and use immediately. The oil from the flax seeds will go rancid very quickly if not used immediately.
REFERENCES AND RESOURCES
Tilgner, S. Phytoestrogens.(n.d.) Retrieved from: https://www.planetherbs.com/theory/phytoestrogens.html
Lanphier, NP Loretta. Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – What You Need to Know. 2013 Sept. OAWHealth.com
Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0263-7. Epub 2011 Oct 30.
Magnesium potentiation of the function of native and recombinant GABA(A) receptors. Neuroreport. 2001 Jul 20;12(10):2175-9.
Magnesium and affective disorders. Nutr Neurosci. 2002 Dec;5(6):375-89.
Lanphier, NP Loretta. Hormone Balance – Herbs or Bioidentical Hormones. 2017. Sept. OAWHealth.com