Hormones. Just the mere mention of the word and it makes you want to shiver. It is the rare person who is super-happy with how their hormones are functioning. Instead, they are often referred to with great disdain. But, the truth is they are incredibly powerful and beneficial when in the right balance in the body. Hormones determine just how you see the world: off-kilter and you probably don’t have a favorable view of life; in-balance and life might be a-ok.
Hormone dysregulation can take on many forms: PCOS, moderate to severe PMS, breast tenderness, moodiness around cycles, headaches, anxiety, migraines, early menopause, skin breakouts, infertility and more.
I’ve talked a little bit about the endocrine disruptors in your skincare products, but skincare products are just the beginning of endocrine disruptors. They are in plastics, air fresheners, soaps and detergents and so much more. It is no surprise to know that more and more people are struggling with some form of hormone disregulation. It kinda makes you think there is nothing you can do. But, that’s not true. There is one super-simple way to help your body eliminate excess and old hormones.
Consume more fiber.
I know, we all think fiber is just for pooping, and it is. But that poop has a critical function. It carries out our waste in a timely manner. When the waste sits in the colon longer than it should, those toxins get reabsorbed into the blood stream and go through our entire circulatory system again before reaching the liver to be repackaged and shipped back to the colon for removal. But here’s where the rubber meets the road. Hormones that are re-circulated the 2nd, 3rd or 4th times, are increasingly toxic each time.
As the blood circulates old and excess hormones, they head to the liver to be broken down and shipped to the gallbladder via bile. As the fat is digested in your small intestine, the bile is excreted to help break down the fat and start sending those old hormones towards the colon. Fiber binds with the old hormones during digestion and ensures elimination.
There are two kinds of fiber (and you want some of both).
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, absorbs the toxins in your colon, eliminates cholesterol and helps you regulate your blood sugar. Good sources of soluble fiber include: lentils, beans, pectins in apples and carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, berries, peas, flax seeds, chia seeds and psyllium husks. In fact, Dr. Ray Peat says that a raw carrot a day is particularly useful in eliminating excess estrogen.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water (this is the main way to differentiate between the two). Insoluble fiber has a critical role in supporting elimination, think of it as the trigger to push your body’s garbage out. Insoluble fiber sources include skins of fruit, cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, greens (spinach, kale, lettuce, etc), green beans, cucumbers, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
As a side note, some legitimately struggle to eat more veggies due to a compromised gut. If digestion is severely impaired, don’t eat insoluble fiber alone, combine it with soluble fibers and make sure it is very well cooked, grated or mashed.
How much fiber should you add in?
It is really important to not overwhelm your body with a whole bunch of fiber when you haven’t been having much of any. Go slow as you increase your amount.
Soluble fiber, add in beans, lentils or sweet potatoes throughout the week. ½ cup per day to begin with. If these foods don’t agree with you, or you don’t want to have them daily, you can add in psyllium husks, flax seeds or chia seeds to your daily routine. I like to have people start with 1t per day and you can work up to 3t (1T) per day.
As for the insoluble fiber, work towards a minimum of 3 cups of veggies per day. 1 cup of veggies per meal. (And yes, I mean in addition to any green powders or veggie powders.) Ideally, work up to 6-9 cups of vegetables per day.
Consuming more fiber is the easiest way to help re-balance and support your hormone status in the body. All you are doing is providing the disposal system with its critical component to ensure excess and old hormones that are already prepared to leave the body are bound up so they aren’t reabsorbed. Easy-peasy.
Now you tell me, do you struggle with hormone imbalances? What have you tried? Have you tried adding more fiber? What has worked for you?