Top 4 Hormone Balancing Superfoods
Carmen, a mother of two, had just picked up her children from school. She came home and placed the groceries on the table and started getting the pots together to start cooking dinner for the evening. She suddenly felt hot and started sweating profusely. At the same time, she also felt her heart racing. As she clutched her chest she felt like it was the end. After a couple of seconds, her heart rate slowly slowed down and she no longer felt warm in her face and chest. She has had these episodes before and thought it could not be menopause as she is just 36. She later decided to visit the doctor and through various tests, it was determined that she had hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is just one of the many conditions that are caused by an imbalance of a particular hormone. When there is too much thyroid hormone in the body there are symptoms such as what is mentioned above and when it is too little it is called hypothyroidism. Endocrine glands produce hormones that help with the regulation of a woman's well-being. When there are factors that affect these glands there is a hormone imbalance noted.
What is Hormone Imbalance
Hormone imbalance results when the body has too little or too much hormone that is accompanied by various symptoms. The endocrine system utilizes hormones to maintain equilibrium in the body. Such as regulating stress level, thyroid level, female and male reproductive and growth, and development. In women, key hormones play a role in their wellness and productivity. These include corticosteroids from the adrenal gland which are responsible for regulating blood pressure, Luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland responsible for the production of eggs in women and estrogen. There is also the thyroid-stimulating hormone which is responsible for regulating the thyroid hormones. This hormone is also from the pituitary gland. The pancreas is responsible for regulating sugar levels through insulin and glucagon. The ovaries are responsible for producing estrogen and progesterone. The pineal gland produces melatonin for a good night's sleep. When there is an imbalance in one or more hormones the body compensates evidenced by symptoms.
Why does hormone Imbalance happen?
The adrenal glands are key players when it comes to balancing your hormones. There are small glands located on the superior area of the kidneys. They are responsible for producing hormones that help to maintain balance in everyday life. There are two parts to the adrenal gland. These are the adrenal cortex and medulla. Each section has its functions and produces hormones specific to the body. The medulla located in the center is responsible for providing the fight or flight response when the body is under stress1Stress hormones are produced norepinephrine and epinephrine. You may have symptoms such as a racing heart and anxiety. The cortex, on the other hand, is located on the outer part of the gland and is responsible for producing the hormones aldosterone which regulates the mineral balance in the body, and Glucocorticoids which regulate glucose metabolism. A key hormone produced is cortisol and androgen is responsible for male masculine characteristics and female libido.
Hormone imbalance occurs when these critical hormones are either producing too much or too little to sustain normal wellness. This can be due to a malfunction of the adrenal organs, medications, deficient intake of certain elements in food, infection, being exposed to constant stress, and being overweight. To regain normal function it is important to evaluate your current lifestyle choices such as the type of food being consumed, stressors, and physical activities or lack of it. There are hormone-balancing superfoods that are beneficial to the body.
4 Best Hormone Balancing Superfoods for Women
There are specific superfoods that contain nutrients that are essential to the normal functioning of the body. For a woman, it can be disheartening when facing premenstrual or post-menopausal symptoms. To get back on track there are 4 vital superfoods that are useful.
Adaptogenic herbs: The adrenal gland is responsible for the stress hormones and oftentimes the gland when not functioning appropriately can produce too much cortisol over an extended period of time if exposed to stressors. This can upset the balance of estrogen and progesterone hormone. Adaptogenic herbs can increase the effectiveness of the secretion of these hormones in a balanced way and help the body resist physical and biological chemical stress. These stressors when repeated over a period of time can result in adrenal fatigue .2 Adaptogenic herbs would include Ginseng, Rhodiola, Angelica, Holy Basil, and ashwagandha. Remember when starting a new herbal program consult your healthcare provider. medications can interact negatively with herbal supplements.
Herbs for the Liver: The liver is a large organ located in the upper right abdomen and is responsible for removing waste products from the body and also breaking down fat. It also converts glucose to glycogen and stores it when there is too much glucose in the blood. The liver functions to regulate hormones in the blood. If there are too many hormones circulating in the body it is a result of the liver’s inability to regulate these hormones effectively. When there is an influx of hormones in the blood the liver function is altered.3 For the liver to function effectively it is vital that this special organ is cleaned at least once per month. Teas that are commonly used in the detox process are dandelion, milk thistle, lemon, chamomile, and ginger.
Plant-Based Meals.: The term much popularized “you are what you eat has been the tagline for most vegetarians. The food we eat can have an impact on how our body functions daily. Animals are usually fed products that enhance their size and productivity. this comes in the form of hormones and medications. When meat that has been impacted by hormonal products is consumed they act as disruptors in the body causing hormonal imbalance. A plant-based diet is packed full of fiber and is essential in removing extra hormones from the body. Phytoestrogens are derivatives of plant-based and are sourced from soy-based food, garbanzo beans, green peas, and many more. However, they are more effective in specific stages of development, such as premenopausal, postmenopausal, and pregnancy. It has been studied to be effective in metabolic syndrome and inflammation as well as for postmenopausal women.4
Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables are important vegetables that can have a positive effect on your hormone balance. High estrogen levels in women can wreak havoc in the body causing a cascade of negative events that if not controlled can have debilitating effects on the body. This includes cancer. The phytochemicals in these types of vegetables are useful in removing excess estrogen from the body. Excess estrogen has been linked to estrogen dominance which has symptoms such as mood swings, excessive menstrual cramps, heavy periods, and depression. Another important benefit is its ability to detoxify the liver which is essential for hormone balance.5Examples of cruciferous vegetables are Kale, Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, watercress, maca, bok choy, collard greens, mustard leaves, and wasabi. The important thing to note however is that they may be goitrogenic, that is, they affect the functioning of the thyroid by inhibiting the synthesis of the thyroid hormone. To reduce the levels of goitrogens in the vegetables it is essential that you cook or steam them.
What are the Hormone Types?
There are important hormones in the body that help with a woman’s normal day-to-day functioning. These are :
Is Ginger Good for Hormone Balance?
The liver serves as an important organ in the breakdown of waste and fat in the body. It also helps reduce excessive hormones that are circulating in the blood. Women with hormone imbalance may have a non-alcoholic fatty liver that can be caused by insulin resistance and oxidative stress. Ginger is a spice that has been used for thousands of years in food and drinks. It has been especially vital for stomach upset. Studies have shown however that ginger can counteract the biochemical abnormalities that are involved in nonalcoholic fatty liver.6 There is also evidence that supports the fact that insulin resistance caused by fat can be improved by using ginger. Liver toxicity can develop when the organ is overtaxed. Ginger has been studied to also protect the liver against toxic substances by enhancing antioxidant activity.7
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Hormone Balancing Superfoods
There are many factors that can affect a woman’s body and throw off her hormonal levels. To better understand how to counteract these factors, knowing more about the key organs responsible for regulating hormonal levels and consuming the key superfoods can assist in reestablishing homeostasis in the body.
1. "Function of the Adrenal Glands and the Hormones They Produce." https://www.adrenal.com/adrenal-gland/function. Accessed 8 Apr. 2022.
2. "A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens - NCBI." 16 Nov. 2018, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6240259/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.
3. "[Role of the liver in hormone metabolism and in the regulation of ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/334126/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.
4. "Beneficiary and Adverse Effects of Phytoestrogens: A Potential ...." https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32942973/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.
5. "Lower Estrogen Levels Eating Cruciferous Vegetables." 7 Feb. 2018, https://abhormonetherapy.com/2018/02/lower-estrogen-levels-eating-cruciferous-vegetables/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.
6. "Potential efficacy of ginger as a natural supplement for ... - PubMed." 14 Jan. 2011, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21246004/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.
7. "Potential efficacy of ginger as a natural supplement for ... - PubMed." 14 Jan. 2011, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21246004/. Accessed 12 Apr. 2022.