Do you find that no matter how good your diet is or how much exercise you do, you just can’t lose the weight around your middle? Well it could actually be hormonal imbalance that’s to blame. This excess weight is often a result of too little progesterone and too much oestrogen, and the problem with too much oestrogen is that it acts a little like a magnet for fat, locking it inside the body. Our endocrine system works really hard to finely tune a balance between the three sex hormones: oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone. But when men and woman reach their mid 30’s progesterone levels naturally drop. As a result there is no longer a finely tuned balance between the hormones causing ‘oestrogen dominance’. This is then compounded by the raised levels of oestrogen (in the form of xeno-oestrogens) found in our food, water and environment.
Oestrogen dominance can cause fertility problems as well as other health concerns, in women symptoms like headaches and in men symptoms like reduced libido. To balance your hormones I recommend avoiding oestrogen-stimulating foods and increasing your intake of foods that release excess oestrogen, see my daily guideline below:
- Eat 2-3 portions of either broccoli, spring greens, asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, Brussels sprouts, celery, beetroot, kale, cabbage, radish (all these vegetables help to reduce oestrogen)
- Eat 1 serving of citrus fruit as they contain d-limonene which help the body to detoxify oestrogens
- Eat 2 servings of insoluble fibre. Ie: wholemeal bread, brown rice, whole-grain cereal and wheat bran, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, courgettes, celery and tomatoes. Insoluble fibres bind to the oestrogens in the digestive tract and help carry them out of the body.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or sesame seeds to smoothies, salads or sprinkle over steamed vegetables. The friendly bacteria in our intestines convert these foods into substances with weak oestrogen-like activity.
- Avoid any saturated fats which contain high oestrogen levels ie: bacon, sausages, ham, chips/french fries, pasties, crisps, butter, biscuits and pastries
- Avoid any processed foods containing white sugar, flour and rice as they stimulate the release of insulin and this negatively impacts hormone balance.
- Avoid caffeine as 2 cups a day can increases oestrogen levels
- Avoid soya products as they compound an underlying hormone imbalance