This week we’re helping you fix your fat fighting hormones!
When hormones are not produced in proper amounts and are not in proper balance with one another, a variety of healthy problems can occur. From gas and bloating to issues when women try to conceive. Hormones play a role in almost every function of our bodies – including gaining weight or trouble with losing weight.
As busy moms, understanding the hormones behind fat burning and fat storing is key to living the fat loss lifestyle.
Calories in vs. calories out does NOT present the whole picture of fat loss, especially postpartum.
The key to sustainable fat loss comes in both a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you consume) AND balanced metabolic hormones. But many women fail to see the the hormonal balance piece of the puzzle until it’s too late.
Each day for the next week we’ll be taking a look at a specific hormone – what issues it may cause when it’s out of balance, and how you can fix your fat fighting hormones for optimal health and fitness.
Today we focus on ESTROGEN — specifically in relation to its ratio with PROGESTERONE.
Estrogen dominance can lead to many conditions that lead to infertility and worse – even some estrogen dependent cancers. Some examples of estrogen dominant conditions include:
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- ovarian cysts
- fibrocystic breast disease
- obesity and/or trouble losing weight
Four Things to EAT to Help Control Estrogen Dominance
One of the first ways to help control estrogen dominance or to improve your estrogen to progestrone ratio includes focusing on nutritional changes.
1. FIBER decreases blood estrogen levels. Since excess estrogen leaves the body by way of the bowel, if stool remains in the colon, the estrogen will be reabsorbed. First, focus on high fiber foods!
2. VEGGIES: Consider focusing on the cruciferous vegetable family! These types of veggies (things like broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts and cauliflower) contain sulfur compounds and indole-3-carbinol. This family of vegetables binds to estrogen and escorts it out of the body. (Note: they can be gas forming, so make sure you take a probiotic and watch your digestion closely). Try these veggies raw or steamed, or even try adding them into your smoothies!
3. FLAX SEEDS improve estrogen dominance, as they contain estrogen-binding lignans. If you think you struggle from an imbalanced estrogen to progesterone ratio and are focusing on fiber and cruciferous veggies without any changes, consider adding flax seeds to your daily regimen, taking two to three tablespoons a day. You can have flaxseed oil or ground up flaxseeds. Additionally, flaxseeds contain a rich store of omega-3 fatty acids.
4. GREEN TEA may play a role in preventing high-estrogen related conditions. Although more research needs to be done, one study shows that the blood estrogen levels were 13 percent lower in women who regularly drink green tea, when compared to irregular tea drinkers, according to a study in the May 2005 issue of the journal “Carcinogenesis.” Freen tea may enhance the anti-estrogen effects through the tea’s polyphenols inhibiting aromatase, the key enzyme converting androgens to estrone.
Two Things to AVOID to Help Control Estrogen Dominance
1. BPA exposure. BPA (bisphenol A) is a hormone disruptor and acts like estrogen in your body. If you suffer from an imbalanced estrogen to progesterone ratio, make sure that your food and beverage containers are BPA-free. Most plastic products, from sippy cups to food wraps, release these chemicals (check out this study in Environmental Health Perspectives). The study found these chemicals even in products that didn’t contain BPA, a compound in certain plastics that’s been widely criticized because it mimics estrogen. In the study, researchers bought more than 450 plastic items from stores including Walmart and Whole Foods. Although answers were not completely conclusive, it would be wise to avoid extreme heat and cooling for plastic containers and to discard scratched and worn plastic containers that come in contact with your food.
2. Soy: Soybeans contain phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones. Regular intake of soy may cause estrogen dominance, and has been linked to infertility and other conditions mentioned above. In addition, studies show that high levels of phytic acid (found in soy) inhibits the body’s ability to absorb important minerals, including zinc, calcium, copper, iron and magnesium. Soy also contains protease inhibitors, which can block the enzymes that are necessary for the digestion of certain proteins. Soy also acts as a thyroid disruptor in those with low thyroid function, so it’s something that should be avoided or at the very least used in moderate amounts if any hormonal imbalances are suspected.
Check back everyday this week for the next post in this series!
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