ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3 and Omega 6 fats are essential fatty acids that we need to consume in our daily diet.
Omega 3 fats are important for local hormone regulation which control inflammation, dilation and circulation to the reproductive organs and increased intake of Omega 3 has been found to reduce period pain and improve fertility Ref.
In addition, Omega 3's are important for circulation, cardiovascular health, and to boost immunity and as systemic anti-inflammatory agents, which can help relieve arthritic pain and painful joints.
Food: Oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds and chia seeds.
Omega 6 fats can also reduce inflammation. Evening primrose oil and borage oil are rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and research has shown that it may help reduce breast tenderness in women who suffer this premenstrual symptom (PMS).
Food: Avocados, nuts, and seeds as well as evening primrose oil and borage oil.
Fresh vegetables and fruits are rich in antioxidants, and can help hormonal balance by supporting liver detoxification and clearance of hormones from the body.
There are numerous compounds that are essential for endocrine health. Cruciferous vegetables are particularly important when addressing the hormone balance as they contain glucosinolates - indole-3-carbinol, which support CYP-450 enzymes in liver detoxification - vital co-factors helping to excrete oestrogen.
Food: Aim to have a rainbow of coloured vegetables and fruits – 6 to 8 portions per day. Cruciferous vegetables include brocolli, brussel sprouts, cabbage & cauliflower. 3-5 day old broccoli sprouts are thought to be particularly good to support liver detoxification and they are delicious - so maybe sprinkle some over your salad.
Antioxidants also have the role of protecting our bodies against free radicals that can damage and alter cellular function.
Phytoestrogens are oestrogen like substances found naturally in plant foods. Their effects are a lot weaker than our body's own oestrogen and that of the so called xenooestrogens, which can be found in pesticides and plastics. Phytoestrogens may help protect against breast cancer, and reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms.
The form of phytoestrogen that has the most positive effect on hormone balance is isoflavones. Grains, vegetables and flaxseeds also contain phytoestrogens but they come in the form of lignans. Although lignans are beneficial, their hormone-balancing effect is weaker. The daily recommended intake of isoflavone-rich food is approximately 55g/2oz and 1 tsp of flaxseeds a day.
Foods: Foods that are rich in isoflavones include the whole soya bean, lentils, beans and chickpeas.
Concerns about soya are mainly due to the negative research on soya protein isolates, which is part of the soya plant but not the whole soya bean. It has been suggested that it may affect the thyroid function negatively.
Soya protein isolates are highly refined forms of soya, therefore always make sure you read food labels and avoid foods that contain genetically modified (GM) soya products. Always eat soya in its natural form, choosing products such as miso, tofu, edamame beans – they usually state whole soya bean on the label. However be aware that some products that appear healthy, such as tofu and soya milk, can be made with isolates, thus read labels carefully and choose a brand that states isolate-free.
BE WELL LONDON COOKING WORKSHOP COMING UP!!!
29 July, 7.00pm - 9.00pm
Hormone regulation can be very effectively supported through diet, no matter what stage of life cycle you are in - from puberty to menopause.
In this workshop we will demonstrate simple ways to balance your hormones through diet. We will be looking at optimising the function of different types of hormones, including: the adrenals, for stress response, thyroid hormones, which regulate the speed of metabolism, and sex hormones, such as oestrogen and testosterone.
We will make simple and tasty recipes to show you how to get the right amount of fibre and demonstrate ways that plant compounds, which are particularly supportive and protective for hormone regulation, can be incorporated into your daily diet.