Happy hormones make for a happy body, but could a vegan diet help you strike the best balance?
Irrelevant of how much we know about hormones we know that, when it comes to rapid changes in our mood, energy and weight, these special little chemical messengers are the culprits every time!
A deficiency or an imbalance has a far greater impact on how we function than we’d like. A change in diet is the most effective solution to this problem if you’re not keen to spend thousands on vitamins, supplements or medication.
Tammy Fry, nutritionist, vegan and marketing director of The Fry Family Food Co, says there are seven reasons why adopting a plant-based lifestyle could be the answer to our hormonal woes:
1. Avoid antibiotics in meat
It’s said that most animals are fed genetically modified grains, corn or soy as it’s a far cheaper option for farmers. They also may be given antibiotics to ward off certain diseases.
By choosing a meat-free diet, you’re avoiding the consumption of these substances that can wreak havoc on your hormones.
Try tasty meat alternatives – from burger patties to chicken-style nuggets and pies from The Fry Family Food Co. They are all GMO, antibiotic and hormone free.
2. Skip oestrogen-rich dairy
In order to maximise the amount of dairy produced on commercial farms, cows are kept pregnant which leads to a large increase in their oestrogen levels.
Extra oestrogen is something us women can do without if we’re to maintain any form of hormonal balance. So, skip the dairy with its potential extra hormone load.
3. Soy could be good for you
Soy contains phytoestrogens, a natural compound found in plants that mimic real oestrogen and serve as a type of natural hormone replacement therapy for those who need it.
Besides encouraging hormonal balance, they can effectively help reduce hot flushes, provide menstrual relief and prevent osteoporosis.
4. Veggie detox
Many of your green veggies, like broccoli, rocket, kale and cabbage, contain high amounts of glucosinolates.
Glucosinolates support the liver’s detoxification process. This allows the body to get rid of toxins and hormones. It also has a balancing effect on oestrogen levels.
5. Seedy behaviour
Another nifty compound found in plant products like flax, sesame or sunflower seeds, is lignans.
These phytoestrogens actually have the ability to both increase and decrease oestrogen levels depending on what your body needs at the time. They’re also known to help improve menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis.
6. Ditch bad fats and benefit from good fats
Fatty acids are the building blocks of our hormones, but transfats found in processed food can lead to an imbalance.
Healthy fat alternatives, like avocados, are therefore great for lowering cholesterol and balancing out cortisol – our ‘stress’ hormone. Coconut is another body-beneficial fat, with anti-bacterial and metabolism-boosting qualities to boot.
Berries are considered superfoods when it comes to their hormone-balancing abilities.
They also have a low glycaemic load, which means you won’t experience a sudden surge in blood glucose, throwing your body out of equilibrium. Instead, they help lower blood sugar levels and promote insulin resistance. This also reduces cortisol, so a handful of berries on a stressful day should be your go-to!