Tips to maintain a healthy-hormone diet - interview with Samantha Van Dort
We've been talking to Naturopath, Nutritionist and Fertility expert, Samantha Van Dort, about hormone health and how our diet can help support this. This week, we get some easy and tasty tips for this.
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy-hormone diet?
Samantha: There’s really no quick fix, you need to eat your vegetables for them to be able to help you, same as how supplements don’t help if they’re sitting in the cabinet and aren’t taken.
Ensuring you have adequate protein, fibre, nutrient dense foods and hydration are all equally important for hormone health. The thing I find most people struggle with is getting the right amount of vegetables into their daily diet, it can be challenging with our modern dietary habits and lifestyle.
You should aim to have at least 2 of the 5 recommended cups of dark green leafy vegetables daily. My tip for making a lifestyle change would be to try to incorporate a vegetable from the brassica family, such as broccoli, every day. In addition to broccoli and brassica vegetables helping to support long-term hormonal health it also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Having at least 1 cup a day for 3 months can also have a really impactful effect on your digestion.
I do recommend organic vegetables if you can afford it. Many of the chemicals used to spray our conventional vegetables have xenoestrogen effects, which can be a problem for people whose bodies don’t metabolise estrogen well. There is a list of the “clean 15” vegetables that aren’t as heavily sprayed with chemicals compared to the “dirty dozen”.
Note from Fern: This list is created annually by the US-based EWG (Environmental Working Group) and is based on the pesticides used in crops grown in the US. Unfortunately we don't collect the same information regularly here in Australia, but a one-off 2012 report from Friends of the Earth Melbourne showed a similar list of "dirty" vegetables and fruit.
Increasing estrobolome-loving foods will also help support your body in metabolising estrogens. A simple swap you can do is to replace rice crackers for raw carrots or celery. Also try adding extra herbs and spices into your diet, such as making ginger tea or grating ginger into a salad dressing with vinegar, olive oil and honey.
Next week we ask Samantha our signature question on her thoughts about "superfoods".
Samantha (B.HSc Naturopathy, BASc PP) focuses her expertise in all stages of women’s health, helping women better understand their bodies and hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids or ovarian cysts. Find more from Samantha at www.samanthavandort.com or follow her on Instagram @samvandort_naturopath