Our second blog on hormones balanced written by Noonie Zand Goodarzi for us to understand what we can do.
Look after your liver
The liver is the body’s workhorse – it has over two hundred vital functions and one of these is the clearance of hormones from the blood. It is the liver that detoxifies or breaks down oestrogen so it can be eliminated from the body. It also turns more damaging oestrogen into good oestrogen metabolites. Oestrogen clearance is critically important as oestrogens that are not properly metabolized and cleared by the liver remain in the body and become toxic.
An under-functioning liver can lead to a sluggish system, low energy and holding onto weight.
To support the liver:
- Avoid chemicals as much as possible, especially ones called xeno-oestrogens (notably parabens, suphates and BPA) which mimic the effect of oestrogen in the body and can variously be found in: pesticides, detergents, beauty products, shampoos, anti-bacterial handwashes and wipes, plastics, clingfilm, unfiltered tap water, traffic fumes, canned foods, and even till receipts. Non-organic meat and dairy also contain traces of hormones and antibiotics used in farming.
- Increase fibre intake such as oats, flaxseeds, fruit and vegetables, wholemeal grains, nuts and seeds, which binds to oestrogen and helps eliminate it from the body.
- Eat plenty of bitter greens (rocket, endive, watercress), beetroot, artichokes and radishes. These all stimulate bile flow and elimination of toxins.
- Increase intake of onions, leeks, garlic and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, kale and Brussell sprouts which aid detoxification processes. Cruciferous veg are particularly powerful means of detoxifying hormones from the body.
- Cut down on alcohol intake. Alcohol is so toxic that the liver will always prioritise getting rid of it before doing anything else….and that includes metabolising excess oestrogen.
Strengthen your digestion
We are not only what we eat, but also what we digest and absorb, so if we are not absorbing nutrients it makes no real difference how healthily we are eating. We need to have enough stomach acid to break down nutrients needed for metabolism of oestrogen; our liver health needs to be optimal for it to be broken down and excreted from the body; we need to make sure we have no constipation as it is through the faeces that oestrogen leaves the body; and we need to have a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria have been shown to decrease the activity of Beta-glucoronidase, an enzyme that enables oestrogen to be reabsorbed.
Some healthy steps you can take for the gut:
- Cut down on sugar and refined carbs to encourage healthy gut bacteria.
- Increase fibre intake – psyllium husk, oats, flax seeds, organic fruit and veg, nuts and seeds.
- Eat fermented foods every day – kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi.
- Drink freshly squeezed lemon in warm water every morning to encourage stomach acid production.
- Concentrate on anti-inflammatory foods – no sugar, no deep fried foods, lots of oily fish, lots of leafy green vegetables, olive oil, avocado, turmeric, cayenne pepper, citrus fruit, nuts and seeds, green tea.
Add some phytoestrogens to your diet
Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that exert a weak oestrogenic effect – much weaker than human oestrogen. Basically the plant molecules attach to the oestrogen receptors in our bodies and block the effects of more potent natural oestrogens and xenoestrogens. Examples of phytoestrogens include: flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fermented soya (miso, tempeh, Tamari), apples, carrots, pomegranates, lentils, sprouts, mung beans, yams, oats.
So, to sum up …. you need to think about having a varied diet that focuses on high fiber (whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, dark leafy greens, and legumes), high quality proteins, fermented foods, healthy fats, cruciferous vegetables and filtered water. Keep it low in sugar, caffeine, alcohol and processed foods. Be mindful of avoiding chemicals, combatting stress, taking regular exercise, and looking after your gut. All of this will support healthy hormone metabolism, which will have all-round benefits to your health and vitality.