Our sex hormones are powerful chemical messengers that have an enormous impact on how we feel, sleep, and relate to others, they impact all parts of our health, not just fertility. While keeping our hormones happy and resolving hormonal imbalances can be a complex topic, there are a few simple nutrients and foods we can increase to help keep them happy.
Brassica veggies: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts are packed with nutrients as well as a compound called Sulforaphane which is a potent antioxidant and helps to stimulate the production of detoxification enzymes in the liver. A well-functioning liver is a vital part of the oestrogen detoxification process which needs to happen to keep oestrogen levels in check. For women, high oestrogen levels are the cause for some hormonal issues such as PMS and heavy periods.
Fermented food: Fermented foods are making a comeback and your gut microbiome will be pleased! The organisms that live in your gut play a role in whether oestrogen is secreted or reabsorbed. The key to increasing the rate of excretion is to increase the gut microbiome diversity with fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and miso. One particularly helpful bacteria is Lactobacillus acidophilus which is found in natural yoghurt. Try to include fermented foods daily, and don’t forget to feed them! Your gut bugs like to feed on a wide variety of fibre which is found in nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.
Magnesium: Magnesium is my number one hormone supporting nutrient, for the simple reason that it supports so many systems and functions. Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, dark chocolate, avocado, nuts and seeds. Magnesium supports your sex hormones by calming the nervous system, reduces blood sugar and helps to stabilize insulin, and helps you sleep longer and deeper. Increasing your vegetable intake will help to bump up your magnesium intake, as will a little dark chocolate after dinner!
Jessica Giljam-Brown is a holistic nutritionist, author and the founder of Wellness by Jessica. Jessica has a passion for food and women’s health and specialises in hormones, fertility, and pregnancy. You can find more blogs and information at wellnessbyjessica.com and @wellnessbyjessica
Meet the Nutritionist
Our in-house nutritionist Emma ‘Edamame’ was born and bred in mid Canterbury and has the health and wellbeing of Kiwis in mind at all times. As an NZ registered nutritionist (NZ Nutrition Society) with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Auckland, she makes sure we’re all getting our fresh dose of local veggies and our meals are full of nutritious substance – thanks for having our back Em (and our waistlines!). When it comes to New Zealand produce, Emma is a whizz, with fresh berries being her absolute fave. Intrigued to know what food this nutritionist couldn’t live without? Fresh fish and seafood, delivering on both flavour and nourishment. As well as ice cream, especially real fruit ice creams, in the summer time! Life’s all about a tasty balance, right?