So one of my biggest challenges on the journey to recovery from amenorrhea is understanding what specific foods to incorporate into my diet. One GIANT lesson learned was in relation to soy – soy products mimic estrogen, so they can help boost your estrogen levels, but they can also be detrimental to your thyroid function. I have learned to strive for balance when it comes to incorporating foods into my diet.
Here are my top 5 foods that I make sure to incorporate into my daily diet, in moderation, to make sure that my hormones are happy and healthy. Please not that these foods have several other health benefits, but I will be focusing on how they augment your hormone function:
1. Brazil Nuts
Hormone Benefits: Brazil nuts are a great source of Selenium, which plays an important role in healthy thyroid hormones and function.
Nutrition: 1 kernel has 33 kcal, and is an excellent source of good fats (just what your amenorrhea needs to heal), omega-3, and magnesium.
Use: I suggest eating these raw, or even chopping them up to sprinkle over a salad, or add to a wrap – I really like how they taste with chicken!
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2. Pumpkin Seeds / Pepitas
Hormone Benefits: Pumpkin seeds help lower your Cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and can help balance your Progesterone and Estrogen levels.
Nutrition: 1 tbsp has 56 kcal, and is an excellent source of good fats (just what your amenorrhea needs to heal), iron, zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Use: I have started replacing my granola with 1 tbsp of pumpkin seeds, but you can also eat them raw or sprinkle them over a salad / wrap. They add a delicious crunch to grains, like quinoa and oats, as well.
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3. Cacao Nibs
Hormone Benefits: cacao helps lower your Cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and can help balance hormonal mood swings.
Nutrition: 1 tbsp has 60 kcal, and is an excellent source of omega-3, iron, antioxidants, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Use: I usually add 1/2 – 1 tbsp of cacao nibs to my smoothie bowls – both acai bowls and greek yogurt berry bowls.
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4. Dark Chocolate
Hormone Benefits: like cacao, dark chocolate helps lower your Cortisol (stress hormone) levels, and can help balance hormonal mood swings.
Nutrition: below is my NEW FAVORITE brand, Pascha 85% dark chocolate, which has 125 kcal in 5 pieces (the image below shows the chocolate chips bag, which I am desperately looking for. Dark chocolate is an excellent source of omega-3, iron, antioxidants, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Use: I usually snack on this plain, but I recently combined a few pieces with a KIND Caramel Almond Sea Salt bar and it was HEAVENLY. One of my coworkers also sprinkles some dark chocolate on her Greek yogurt!
5. Bee Pollen
Hormone Benefits: bee pollen has a whole host of health benefits and is often used for allergies, but it is fabulous for fertility and aids in balancing your reproducing hormones, especially estrogen.
Nutrition: there are 15 kcal in 1 tsp of bee pollen. If you want the added benefit of an allergy remedy, then be sure to source your bee pollen locally. WARNING – some people have bee pollen allergies, so test out a few grains first, or check with your healthcare provider.
Use: I usually add 1 tsp to my smoothie bowls – both acai bowls and greek yogurt berry bowls – but I recently started sprinkling them over plain bananas, and they add a great texture to the fruit!
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Note: I buy all of the above foods organic, and try to source locally when possible (and if it’s not too much more expensive).
Let me know if you end up adding any of these to your diet and enjoy them – I personally found that I have a lot more energy after incorporating these foods into my daily diet.