When people talk about hormones, they associate them with either puberty or pregnant women. Well, it turns out that hormones are involved in different aspects of your health. You shouldn’t ignore them because hormonal imbalances can increase your risk of diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. Food plays a vital role in balancing hormones, and there are some specific ones you should be eating. Cruciferous vegetables are great for balancing hormones, says expert. Read on to find out how cruciferous vegetables and hormonal health are linked.
HealthShots contacted Deeksha Arora, Dietitian, Apollo Spectra, Delhi to find out all about cruciferous vegetables.
What are cruciferous vegetables?
Some vegetables have four-petalled flowers that look a lot like a crucifer or a cross. Yes, those green vegetables that belong to the edible cabbage family (genus Brassica) are called cruciferous vegetables. Some of the most common cruciferous vegetables are:
• Brussels sprouts
• Spinach (health benefits of spinach)
Health benefits of cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are compounds that give these green plants their bitter flavor, says Arora. Glucosinolates have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They help protect our cells from pathogenic damage.
Cruciferous vegetables are rich in nutrients, including several carotenoids (beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin), vitamins C, E and K and minerals, and they are low in calories. They are also a good source of fiber. What else? They are also a great source of omega-3s (up your omega-3s to stave off disease).
These healthy fats are essential for many bodily functions, such as helping to maintain good cognitive health, reducing the risk of mental decline and diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, explains the expert.
Cruciferous vegetable to balance hormones
Many women probably wouldn’t think of turning to food as a remedy for hormonal issues because there are medications available. But cruciferous vegetables are among the foods that can help balance hormones. Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called 3,3-diindolylmethane, which has been shown to reduce high estrogen levels and promote estrogen detoxification in the liver. This helps balance estrogen levels overall, the expert explains. These green vegetables are high in fiber, which can help lower estrogen levels. If you have high estrogen levels, you will gain weight around your hips, waist, and thighs. There will also be light or heavy bleeding during menstruation and non-cancerous breast lumps will also be present. It is therefore important to control estrogen levels (how high levels of estrogen lead to weight gain).
Who Should Avoid Cruciferous Vegetables?
Cruciferous vegetables are healthy and nutritious, but they contain thiocyanates, which can block the absorption of iodine. People with thyroid problems shouldn’t eat very large amounts of these vegetables, Arora says. She suggests limiting consumption to one to two servings or two to three servings per day, and opting for cooked rather than raw vegetables. If you eat large amounts of these vegetables, you may also end up with excess gas or thyroid damage.
But if you don’t have any health issues, you can include it in your daily diet. These vegetables are associated with lower rates of many chronic diseases, including heart disease.
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