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Hormones are small chemical agents, yet crucial for our organism and the healthy function of our body.
They are responsible for many biological functions happening inside our bodies and control various body processes, such as the reproductive system or metabolism. Therefore, it’s essential to maintain hormonal balance.
When a hormonal imbalance occurs, even slight changes in hormonal balance can have a huge effect on our health.
What can cause a hormonal imbalance?
Hormonal imbalance can happen for many reasons. Some causes are more common, such as diseases (diabetes and thyroiditis), medications, or cancer treatments. Sometimes, things we don’t realize things can affect us, like the environment in which we live, stress, what we put on our skin, teeth, nails, and hair, the foods we eat, and poor sleep.
Also, products containing chemicals (coloring, paraben, propylene glycerol, sulfates, and others) might be harmful or even toxic to our health. These factors can hurt our hormonal balance.
How can a vegan diet help treat a hormonal imbalance?
Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the less-known factors which have a positive effect on maintaining hormonal balance. Adopting a vegan diet and living a plant-based life can help keep hormones in balance.
Plus, it’s always better to think about a natural way first before taking any medications. A natural approach can be more sustainable, less expensive, and safer.
How does a vegan diet handle a hormone imbalance?
1. We consume less hormones and antibiotics from meat and dairy.
Most of the animals we consume are fed with several different antibiotics and hormones (to name a few: testosterone propionate, oestradiol, and progesterone) to grow faster and bigger, producing more milk or wool, or to simply resist diseases which are common for animals kept in big farms and a farming environment in general.
In the dairy industry, cows are repeatedly kept pregnant, so they can produce more milk for people. Frequent pregnancies lead to a higher level of estrogen which can have a serious impact on both men and women consuming beef. Moreover, dairy products contain too much growth hormone IGF-1 which might lead to diabetes, inflammation, acne, and other skin problems.
Additionally, farm animals are usually raised on a diet not natural to them. Farmers tend to save on feed material for cattle choosing genetically modified grains instead (such as soy, corn, oat, and beets). Genetically modified food may not good for your body and your hormonal balance.
2. We eat more beans.
Certain plants in a vegan diet have a truly positive effect on your health and can help treat a hormonal imbalance. Beans are an excellent and inexpensive plant-based source. They are not only a crucial source of protein when you follow a vegan diet, but they contain many other important nutrients. Especially zinc and vitamin D, as they increase a low level of testosterone. Apart from these, beans contain potassium, iron, folate, and magnesium.
Beans are also valued for the plant estrogen they contain. Plant estrogen, sometimes called phytoestrogen, acts similar to estrogen found in humans. The high level of phytoestrogen can regulate the level of estrogen in a female body.
Lignans are phytoestrogens that are found mainly in beans, but also seeds, such as sunflower seeds or flaxseeds. They are important for providing support when the level of estrogen is too low or too high and they also might prevent hormone-associated cancers, such as breast cancer or prostate cancer. Lignans are very helpful for postmenopausal women who may be at a higher risk of breast cancer.
3. We eat foods rich in healthy fats.
Healthy fats are important for maintaining a hormonal balance. Omega-3 fatty acids are the building block of hormones. Not getting enough healthy fats or not having a healthy ratio between Omega-3 fatty acids and Omega-6 fatty acids might result in a hormonal imbalance.
Luckily, vegans get healthy fats from avocados which are abundant in a vegan diet. Avocados are a good source of Omega-3 fatty. They also contain other important nutrients, such as folate, potassium, or magnesium. They can help regulate a menstrual cycle and lower high blood cholesterol levels due to the beta-sitosterol they include.
Healthy fats can be also found in nuts, seeds, and coconut. If you cook with coconut oil, you give your body medium-chain fatty acids which can be helpful during menopause. Coconut oil has other health benefits, such as improving skin structure, supporting memory, and controlling sugar levels in the blood.
4. We enjoy plenty of cruciferous vegetables.
Vegetables are the best foods you can consume on a vegan diet especially if you intend to treat a hormonal imbalance. Eat plenty of dark green vegetables and green leafy vegetables. Broccoli, cauliflower, Bok choy, kale, spinach, green collards, rocket, radish, cabbage, brussels sprouts, watercress, turnip, okra, and asparagus will do you a big favor.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in glucosinolates which have an antibiotic-like effect and help prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infection in the intestines. The more you consume cruciferous vegetables, the more you may reduce the risk of some types of cancers and heart diseases.
Also by eating cruciferous vegetables, you activate an enzyme that is gradually converted to indole-3-carbinol. This process results in decreasing a high level of unhealthy estrogen and reducing symptoms of estrogen dominance. Indole-3-carbinol can block cancer cells from replicating, helps reduce symptoms of menopause and Premenstraul Syndrome (PMS), and can regulate a hormonal imbalance.
5. We may add more spices to our food.
Some spices have a proven ability to positively influence a hormonal balance because they act as phytoestrogens. Turmeric, ginger powder, garlic powder, cinnamon, sage, saffron, cayenne pepper, and cumin are great spices to help regulate hormone levels.
Spices support a woman’s reproductive system and hormonal balance. They can also help reduce PMS and menopausal symptoms. They are a true helper when you experience period cramps.
Drink turmeric or ginger tea, or try a cinnamon and turmeric latte. They are great for your hormonal balance and can be great kick-starters to your morning. They are also an alternative for coffee.
If you experience a hormonal imbalance for any reason, consider going vegan. Following a vegan diet may help treat a hormonal imbalance, even it’s only for the short term. Remember, your lifestyle and eating habits affect your hormone levels more than you may think.