1. Oestrogen balance– Broccoli (and other cruciferous vegetables such as kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, rocket)
These vegetables contain a powerful constituent called indol-3-carbinol, which supports the liver’s detoxification process through stimulating the enzymes required to remove toxins and hormones from the body. The liver plays an important role in manufacturing and clearing hormones in the body. If the liver is not functioning optimally, hormones have a difficult time of being cleared out and instead, can recirculate through the body and lead to hormonal excesses and imbalances. Therefore, if you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalances such as acne, PMS, menorrhagia, menstrual disorders, low energy, weight-gain etc., its vital that you get you liver functioning at optimal levels.
Indole-3-carbinol has been shown to selectively bind to oestrogen receptors, which has a regulatory effect on oestrogen levels and metabolism in the body. Therefore, this regulatory ‘balancing’ effect is beneficial in both females and males with low and high oestrogen levels.
2. Progesterone– Tuna
Tuna is high in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxal- 5-Phosphate (P5P) is the metabolically active and main circulating form of B6, which has been clinically proven to assist in the management and relief of PMS symptoms such as breast tenderness, tiredness, moodiness, headaches, bloating and fluid retention.Vitamin B6 may help relieve emotional symptoms of PMS via its action as a co-factor for several neurotransmitters involved in mood regulation such as serotonin and Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA). Vitamin B6 has also been shown to manage fluid retention by assisting in the production of dopamine. Therefore, it’s vital for a healthy menstrual cycle.
3. Testosterone balance– Oysters and other shellfish
The mineral zinc is important for testosterone production and regulation. Zinc is highly concentrated in a male’s testes and the prostate where it performs bio-activities that increase testosterone production, which in turn improves erectile function, sex drive, sperm count and sperm motility. Additionally, low zinc levels have been associated with low androgens (male sex hormones), decreased testicular function, low physical performance & exercise capacity.
4. Thyroid– Brazil nuts (and other nuts) – selenium
Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of selenium, which is crucial for thyroid health. Adequate selenium supports efficient thyroid hormone production and metabolism, and protects the thyroid gland from damage from excessive iodine exposure. Selenium is also essential for the conversion of T4 to T3 (the active form of thyroid hormone), which regulates metabolism. Those with low T3 levels may present with hypothyroid symptoms such as fatigue, often throughout the day, slow speech, movement and heart rate, poor memory and concentration, headaches, migraines, low mood or depression, melancholy, low libido, intolerance to cold, hair loss, brittle nails and hair, dry skin, insomnia.
Individuals with an underactive or overactive thyroid will benefit from consuming selenium. Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, it is required for normal functioning of the immune system and has been shown to have a favourable action in auto-immune thyroid conditions where it helps to boost the immune system.
5. Insulin – Spinach
Spinach is an excellent source of magnesium, which plays an important role in insulin action, and insulin stimulates magnesium uptake in insulin-sensitive tissues. Magnesium is required for both proper glucose utilisation and insulin signalling and any metabolic alterations in cellular magnesium can contribute to insulin resistance, which is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high triglycerides. Therefore, efficient intake of magnesium has been noted to improve insulin response and action, as well as glucose tolerance.