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Your hormones are your body’s control system. But in an age when hormone-disrupting chemicals lurk in processed foods, shampoos, and even scented candles and air fresheners, it doesn’t take much to throw off that delicate balance. And out-of-whack hormones could affect almost every facet of your health, making it really hard to lose weight, have babies, and even feel happy. Unhealthy hormone levels can even increase your risk of certain cancers and other chronic diseases.

We turned to Natasha Turner, ND, author of the best-selling book, The Super-Charged Hormone Diet (Rodale), to help ID the best hormone-balancing foods nature has to offer—a snapshot of nutritious foods and drinks that can help you achieve hormonal balance, feel satisfied, fight disease, and lose fat.


1. Broccoli

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Pimpinellus –
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, and cabbage contain high amounts of phytonutrients called isothiocyanates, including indole-3-carbinol, which helps break down a harmful and potent estrogen metabolite that promotes tumor growth, especially in estrogen-sensitive breast cells. In 2008, researchers at the University of California–Berkeley showed that indole-3-carbinol halts the growth of breast cancer cells and may also offer protection against the spread of cancer.
Dose details: Just 2½ cups of broccoli a week is all you need to reduce your risk of several cancers, particularly those of the breast and prostate.


2. Flaxseed

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Sanjay Acharya –  Brown Flax seed


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Rumun999 –  Golden Flax seed
Flaxseed is full of lignans, phytoestrogenic compounds that have been proved to help protect us against certain kinds of cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon.
Dose details: Adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseed to your smoothies, oatmeal, salads, or cereals daily can reduce your cancer risk and also provide a dose of fiber and essential fatty acids.
Bonus tip: The oils in flaxseed can go rancid quickly, so be sure to purchase ground flaxseed in a vacuum-sealed package and store it in the freezer. Better yet, you can grind your own daily.
Try this: NOW Foods Certified Organic Golden Flax Seeds


3. Green Tea

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Chris Gladis   Nanzenji green tea  – 

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that green tea extract could significantly increase metabolism and fat burning. While caffeine does provide an energizing boost, the tea also offers calming effects because it contains theanine, a natural compound that blocks the release of cortisol—great for conquering belly fat.
Dose details: Drink 4 cups of this tasty tea daily, and you can enjoy weight loss, possibly even without a change in diet and exercise.
Try this: Stash Tea Company Organic Premium Green Tea


4. Red Wine


Amanda Velocet   Artistic view of two glasses of wine
The antioxidant polyphenols found in the skins and seeds of grapes, especially catechins and resveratrol, aid heart health, inhibit inflammation, and help prevent the development of certain cancers. According to researchers from Northwestern University Medical School, many benefits of resveratrol in wine are in fact due to its estrogenic properties. When consumed with or after a meal, red wine is also a good digestive aid.
Dose details: Healthy individuals should limit wine intake to two to three glasses a week. University of California–Davis researchers found that cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah, and pinot noir boasted the highest levels of disease-fighting flavonoids.



5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil


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Poyraz 72  Extra-virgin olive oil  –
When we include them in our daily diet, monounsaturated fats such as those in olive oil encourage the release of our appetite-suppressing hormone leptin. Olive oil, in particular, has been shown to improve our sensitivity to insulin. Another perk? In a 2003 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, rats fed an olive oil–rich diet broke down more fat cells, compared with the group fed soybean oil. (Soybean oil actually hindered healthy hormone production.)

Dose details: Avoid industrial fats like margarine and use organic extra virgin olive oil instead.
Try this: Bragg Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil


6. Avocados

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Muhammad Mahdi Karim
Avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, a natural substance shown to significantly lower blood cholesterol levels. That same compound also helps to balance the stress hormone cortisol, and it may help restore low DHEA (a hormone produced by the adrenal gland) and decrease the inflammation typically associated with the stress of intense exercise.
Dose details: Enjoy a quarter of an avocado per serving.



7. Organic Apples



Agricultural Research Service
Apples contain quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant and natural antihistamine. Like many other flavonoids, quercetin also has phytoestrogenic properties. A large Finnish study following more than 10,000 people for more than 30 years found eating a daily apple reduced the risk of almost every chronic disease associated with aging, including osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Dose details: Just like the old saying, try to eat an organic apple a day to keep the doctor away!



8. Chia Seeds


Chia seed is a gluten-free ancient grain that can be added to just about any food. On a per-gram basis, chia seed is touted to contain the highest amount of omega-3s in nature and also the most fiber. Chia’s hormonal benefits include stabilizing blood sugar, improving insulin sensitivity, and easing metabolic syndrome symptoms like blood pressure and blood sugar spikes.
Dose details: Just 3½ ounces of chia seed offer an amazing 20 grams of omega-3s, which is equal to the amount in 1¾ pounds of Atlantic salmon.
Try this: Navitas Naturals Organic Raw Chia Seeds



9. Nuts

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Marco VerchNussmischung / Different nuts

Like avocados, most nuts are an excellent source of the plant sterol beta-sitosterol. Almonds, in particular, contain protein, fiber, plant sterols, and several other heart-healthy nutrients. Almonds are also known to slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the body, which may help with diabetes management. Research from the University of Texas Health Science Center published in the journal Nutrition showed that walnuts are a source of melatonin, a hormone that promotes better sleep.
Dose details: Just a small handful five times a week will provide an adequate dose of fats that will stimulate leptin release, which helps control your appetite.



10. Non-GMO, Organic Soy

Edensoy Quart Sampler #2

Eden Foods, Inc
Bone density, hormonal balance, and cholesterol levels change as we age, but a daily serving of soy can help lower cholesterol, keep bones strong, improve heart health, protect the prostate, and ease the symptoms of menopause. The therapeutic effects of soy products—when consumed in moderation—come from the phytoestrogens naturally present in soybeans. Research from the University of Illinois also suggests soy protein may help to increase metabolism, manage weight, and limit the growth of fat cells. (Don’t go for soy, however, if you’ve noticed it has caused you gas, bloating, or digestive problems in the past, or if you’ve had breast cancer.)
Dose details: Just 1 cup of unsweetened, organic soy milk or yogurt, a handful of soy nuts, or a palm-size serving of tempeh can do the trick.
Try this: Westsoy Unsweetened Organic Soymilk


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