Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ways To Promote Hormone Balance: It's All In Your Control

One of the most common hormonal imbalances in women is estrogen dominance, which can mean elevated estrogen or simply estrogen that is unbalanced by progesterone. Estrogen dominance is associated with conditions like PMS, endometriosis, and fibroids. 

Luckily, there are some simple ways to help reduce estrogen dominance:

1. Eat cruciferous vegetables daily. 

These superfoods, such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, bok choy and collard greens, have a compound called indole-3-carbinol that helps promote the production of less potent forms of estrogen.

2. Get plenty of vitamin C. 

Eat vitamin C-rich foods and consider supplementing with 500-1000 mg vitamin C daily. If you have low progesterone, vitamin C may help support progesterone production. Include lots of vitamin C-rich foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, strawberries and bell peppers.

3. Minimize dairy.

Even organic dairy products are a source of estrogen, which comes from cows’ own estrogen production. Dairy cows are often pregnant when they’re milked, and this leads to higher levels of estrogen in the milk and subsequent dairy products.

4. Minimize processed soy products due to high levels of phytoestrogens. 

Meat replacement products and energy bars with “soy protein isolate” or “texturized vegetable protein” contain higher levels of phytoestrogens that natural or fermented soy foods like tempeh or miso. It is unclear if these phytoestrogens have an estrogenic or anti-estrogenic effect. The majority of your soy intake should come from traditional or fermented soy foods.

5. Support good digestion with probiotics and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. 

Good digestion and regular elimination supports removal of estrogen from the body. Include probiotic foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha.

6. If you eat beef, make sure it’s hormone-free.  

Better yet, organic and grassfed. Conventional beef cattle are treated with estrogen to make them grow bigger faster, so be choosy about your meat.

7. Avoid BPA exposure. 

BPA, or bisphenol A, is a hormone disruptor and acts like estrogen in your body, so make sure your food and beverage containers are BPA-free. Limit your intake of canned food (as BPA is in the lining of most cans), and wash your hands after handling receipts (which contain BPA).

8. Avoid parabens in your personal care products. 

Parabens are a preservative in many personal care products like shampoos, conditioners, and lotions. Parabens are another estrogenic chemical. You will see parabens near the end of the ingredient list usually as “methylparaben” or “propylparaben.” Luckily, there are many great paraben-free products out there.

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