I have discussed some foods that can be detrimental to hormone balance and now I want to focus on foods that can be beneficial to aid in balancing hormones. There are a number of foods that can aid in promoting hormone balance. Some of these foods have phytoestrogenic or phytoprogesterogenic qualities and some aid in reducing certain types of estrogen in the body. If you are perimenopausal and still menstruating or are currently menstruating and have issues surrounding PMS, alternating certain seeds in the diet can be beneficial to help balance your hormones.
Ground flax has been shown to be beneficial for menopause and is considered phytoestrogenic. It is important to grind the flax seeds to allow the beneficial oils it contains to be released. The flax can be found pre-ground but it is best if it is freshly ground. A coffee grinder will do the trick, so instead of grinding coffee, start grinding seeds! 2 TBLSP of ground flax in the first ½ of the cycle (or if you don’t have a cycle, you can follow the moon cycle (New moon –full moon)) is what I recommend. In addition to the ground flax, ground pumpkin seeds may also be used in the first ½ of the cycle. This will help to balance estrogen levels in the first ½ of the cycle (day 1-14). In the second ½ of the cycle (day 15-28), progesterone becomes very important. Seeds that help to promote progesterone levels are ground sesame and ground sunflower seeds. Again 2 TBLSP/day can be used, and if you aren’t menstruating or if your cycle is very irregular, again, you may follow the moon cycle (full moon-new moon).
Most women, as they begin to enter into menopause start off by being estrogen dominant. This occurs during the peri-menopausal time. To aid in reducing estrogen levels and, particularly in reducing dangerous forms of estrogen, such as 16-hydroxyestrone, incorporating foods that are high in indol-3-carbinol can be beneficial to add into the diet. The cruciferous family of vegetables are high in indol-3-carbinol. This includes: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts.
As a woman moves from the peri-menopausal phase to menopause and post menopause, estrogen levels will decline. There are a number of foods that can be used to support estrogen levels. Flaxseeds, apples, pears, berries, organic soy and fermented soy, wheat germ, barley, oats, yam, coconut, walnut, and cherry are all foods that act as weak phytoestrogens and will help to improve estrogen levels and ease the symptoms of menopause.
These are just a few foods that you can add to your diet to improve hormone balance and help to prepare for menopause. The next blog will focus on reducing stimulants in the diet and the importance of water.