Anyone who’s suffered the effects of PMS knows that our hormones play a huge role in how we feel. But did you realize that what you eat can affect your hormonal balance as well? That’s the premise behind The Supercharged Hormone Diet, a new book from naturopath (and Chatelaine contributor) Dr. Natasha Turner.
The Supercharged Hormone Diet, available from Random House, explains how hormones can affect everything from bloating and how your skin looks to weight loss, and discusses how our diets can send those hormones out of balance. For example, too many inflammatory foods like red meat can affect our blood sugar and insulin, as can high-fructose corn syrup. Drinking too much alcohol can decrease testosterone and increase harmful estrogen; not getting enough fibre can also have a negative effect on our estrogen levels. And skipping breakfast could ramp up your levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, which is linked to fat storage on our bellies.
The book includes a detailed 30-day diet plan for detoxing and getting hormones balanced, along with recipes — you can see three of them on our website. It also provides a full wellness tracker for the duration of the diet, allowing you to track what you eat and see the patterns in your symptoms over the course of the 30 days.
Here are ten of the foods that Dr. Turner recommends including in your diet often to maintain hormonal balance, feel satisfied and lose weight.
- Broccoli: This and other cruciferous vegetables (like kale and cabbage) contain phytonutrients that can help increase your liver’s detoxification capacity.
- Flaxseed: These seeds have healthy omega-3 fats and are a source of fibre — grind them up or use flaxseed oil.
- Green tea: Some studies have shown that green tea can increase metabolism, and that the antioxidants it contains may have cancer-protecting properties.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Olive oil is full of polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory benefits, as do its plant sterols.
- Avocado: Avocados are high in vitamin E and potassium, nutrients that both help heart health. They’re also a source of healthy monounsaturated fats and antioxidants.
- Chia seed: Chia seed is gluten-free, and a high source of omega-3 fats. It’s also got a ton of fibre, 90 percent of it insoluble, which makes it a good choice for people who like to reduce carbs.
- Nuts: Raw nuts are a filling snack, and they have healthy oils and minerals like zinc and magnesium. They are high in calories, though, so eat in small quantities.
- Berries: All berries offer great health benefits like antioxidants and fibre. They’re all full of healthy phytonutrients in their deeply-coloured skins. Try acai and goji berries for something new.
- Plain yogurt: Yogurt helps digestion by helping to maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, and it’s also a source of calcium. Dr. Turner recommends buying organic yogurt.
- Turmeric: This yellow spice is what gives many curries their distinctive colour. It’s suspected to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, and it tastes great.