Maca is known as a hormonal adaptogen, which essentially means it contains nutrients that help balance hormones. How does it help? First it helps balance adrenal cortisol levels that may be out of balance due to stress. It can help to prevent the effects of high cortisol and improve the function of the adrenals despite low cortisol. It also helps with low thyroid function, stabilizes blood sugar levels and improves energy levels. Maca also helps with sexual function. For women, it can help with menstrual cycles, fertility, menopausal symptoms, improve bone health, muscle mass and help with libido.
How to use: Maca is a root vegetable that is available as a powder. To use it in recipes, the powder goes well with ingredients like chocolate in a smoothie or in dips like guacamole or legume dishes. Strong flavours like garlic, onions, cumin and cayenne also work with maca.
2: Sea Vegetables
Nori, dulse, kelp, arame are all examples of sea vegetables. They are good sources of iodine, selenium and zinc which are key nutrients that the thyroid needs to function optimally. While there are many reasons for thyroid malfunction, helping the thyroid requires providing it with the nutrients it needs.
How to use: Sea vegetables can be found as the dried vegetable or as a powder. Sea vegetables can have a strong fishy taste so they work best in recipes with other strong flavours such as garlic, onions, cayenne or cumin. Arame is virtually tasteless so it may be the one that is the easiest to work with. Nori, which is used in making sushi is mild tasting and of course, sushi is a great way to consume it.
3: Flaxseeds, Chia Seeds and Hemp Seeds
They are a great source of the essential fatty acids (EFAS), Omega 3 and Omega 6, two fats that we need to get in our diet. EFAS are needed to support the liver, the adrenals, the thyroid, the nervous system and to help with intestinal health. Flaxseeds help to increase the good oestrogens and to eliminate the harmful oestrogens and can decrease some menopausal symptoms.
How to use: Hemp can be sprinkled on salads, added to smoothies or ground into a flour and used for baking. Chia can be mixed with water and turned into a gel which can be added to any recipe. It is a great binding agent when it is ground as it contains a high percentage of soluble fibre, which also acts as a prebiotic to feed our good gut bacteria. For flaxseeds grind 1-2 TBS 3-7 days per week and then stir into soups or beverages.
4: Broccoli / Kale
Broccoli and kale are members of the cruciferous vegetable family. Both help to detox out excess oestrogen and support overall liver detoxification. They also both contain prebiotic fibre that helps feed our good gut bacteria.
How to use: Broccoli and Kale can be added to salads, vegetable dishes and smoothies. They are suitable both cooked and raw. If consuming kale raw, be sure to either grind it well in a smoothie or let it sit for a while in salad dressing in order to soften it as it contains a lot of insoluble fibre.
5: Jerusalem Artichokes
This is a superfood by all definitions. It supports all phases of liver detoxification, stabilizes blood sugar and is one of the highest foods with prebiotic fibre to feed the gut.
How to use: They have the taste and texture of a cross between a potato and a radish. They work well in any recipe that uses potatoes. Substitute all or just a portion of the potato content in any recipe. Also, they work well in dip recipes, as an addition to a smoothie or raw, sliced on a veggie platter. You can also remove a portion of the flour in a bread or muffin recipe and replace it with Jerusalem artichokes.
6: Grapefruit / Apples
These are two key foods that contain a phytochemical that helps detox out excess oestrogen. They both also support the overall ability of the liver to detoxify and are both prebiotic foods that can feed good gut bacteria.
How to use: As fruits, apples and grapefruits are ready to eat and this may be the simplest way to consume them. However, they work well in muffins, smoothies and salads and can be added easily to other recipes where fruits are used.
7: Garlic / Onions
Both garlic and onions are sulfur-rich foods, which support detoxification activities of the liver. They are also both excellent prebiotic foods and have antimicrobial properties. They deliver flavour and nutrients to any dish.
How to use: Onions and garlic are great in most savory dips, soups, entrées or vegetable dishes. Onions can be added to a salad and garlic is good in salad dressing
As a probiotic food, milk kefir made with kefir grains, is at the top of the list. Not all kefir is made with kefir grains so make sure you buy the product made with kefir grains. It has 32 strains of good bacteria and yeast, making it the most potent fermented food. With the complex relationship between our hormones and our gut bacteria, this food is a must. For those who cannot consume dairy, the kefir grains can be used in coconut milk.
How to use: Kefir can be consumed as it is just like yoghurt or you can add your favourite fruits to give it flavour. It can also be used in baking, like milk, and in salad dressings and dips. Adding it to a smoothie will make the smoothie even more beneficial.
9. Avocado, olive oil, coconut oil and butter (or ghee)
Hormone health needs good quality fats. First, hormones are made from fat so we need to eat enough fat to make the hormones we need. Coconut oil contains an antifungal and an antibacterial. Avocados and its oil contain phytoestrogens which can help balance hormones and they can help stimulate metabolism. Olive oil helps create healthy cell membranes which allow hormones to better adhere to them and work moreeffectively. Butter or it’s clarified version known as ghee, contains butyrate, a short chain fatty acid that helps gut health and inhibits inflammation. It also contains cholesterol which is a building block for steroid hormones such as cortisol, oestrogen, testosterone and progesterone.
How to use: These fats are great for sautéing, roasting and baking. Avocado oil and olive oil are wonderful in salad dressings. Coconut oil and butter are delicious in baked foods.
10. Culinary Herbs
Not only do they add flavour to recipes, culinary herbs add nutrients and help with hormone health. Cinnamon helps menstrual periods, fertility and stabilizes blood sugar which can help lower and prevent insulin resistance and support the adrenal glands. Cayenne, ginger, cumin, parsley, dill and turmeric are known as hormone balancers and are also good for gut health.
How to use: This is the fun part. Pick the ones you like and flavour your soups, salads, smoothies and all your savoury dishes.
Medical Disclaimer: All information contained in this document is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent health problems. For
all serious health issues, please contact a medical or nutrition practitioner. The information provided in this document is based on the best knowledge of the author at the
time of writing, and we do not assume liability for the information within this document, be it direct or indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages. In all
circumstances, it is always wise to consult your physician before changing your diet, taking supplements, or starting any exercise or health program.
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