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Five healthy foods that can trigger a hormonal imbalance

by , 05 July 2016

Are you looking to fix your hormones and get back on track? Well, then, you've come to the right place!

I'm sharing five "healthy" foods that can actually make your hormonal issues far worse. That's right - although touted healthy, the following five foods can actually sabotage your best efforts to overcome PCOS symptoms.

Five foods that can mess with your hormones

#1: Stevia
If you're trying to eliminate sugar, you may be swapping in natural sweeteners like stevia. However, you need to note that historically, stevia has been used to prevent pregnancy. The research is limited, and if you're not hormonally sensitive, small amounts of stevia won't likely have an effect on your fertility or cycles. But if you have PCOS or another hormonal imbalance, it's best to err on the side of caution and choose a different sweetener, such as agave nectar or honey.

#2: Red meat
Many PCOS patients follow a meat-heavy Paleo diet. However, according to new research, this isn't the best option. High protein intake causes a decrease in the production of sex hormone bonding globulin (SHBG), a protein in the body that PCOS sufferers need to bring down testosterone levels. Furthermore, Paleo is problematic for another reason: It involves cutting carbs, which can be a bad idea for PCOS sufferers, who need glucose to help the thyroid function. Healthy carbs like brown rice and quinoa supply this glucose that's also essential for healthy pituitary function.

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#3: Kale
Kale may be touted the superfood of the century right now, but when eaten raw, cruciferous veggies such as this one contain goitrogens that actually suppress thyroid function, which contributes to PCOS. If you're going to go raw, opt for celery, chard, romaine lettuce, or beet leaves instead. But if kale, cauliflower, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts are what your heart desires, do some sautéing with a little coconut oil before tucking in.

#4: Soy
Many people think that swapping out dairy for soy will help to alleviate their hormonal symptoms. But (surprise, surprise!), because it contains "phyto" or plant estrogen, soy acts like estrogen in the body. But even though it mimics your natural hormone, soy isn't identical to your body's estrogen, and eating too much of it confuses your body into thinking it has enough real oestrogen in supply. This signals your endocrine system to slow down estrogen production, subsequently slowing the production of luteinizing hormone (LH), and effectively shutting down ovulation.
#5: Cooling foods
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) separates food types into "cooling" and "warming" categories. According to this philosophy, women with PCOS need to counteract the "damp," "stagnant" state of their reproductive organs with "warming" or "yang" foods like cinnamon, which stabilises the blood sugar and helps support ovulation. Try and avoid "cooling" foods like cucumber, mint, and spirulina, which, according to TCM, contribute to the cooling of the reproductive organs.

Be sure to avoid the above five foods to keep your hormones in sync!

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