Taz Bhatia, M.D., is a board-certified physician and professor at Emory University who specializes in integrating mainstream medicine with holistic practices. To learn more, check out her NEW mindbodygreen class, The Doctor's Guide to Hormonal Imbalance.
I love many different types of tonics, smoothies, and teas; the healing potential that we can capture through what we drink is fascinating. But if I were forced to pick just one drink that helps hormones the most, I'd choose my green smoothie.
One thing I've learned from Chinese medicine is that the liver is the powerhouse for all things hormonal. If you have a sluggish liver, your hormones won't break things down appropriately. If you have a fatty liver, your insulin levels will continue to be thrown off. And deficient liver energy can leave your hormone levels waning and disappearing, triggering infertility, irregular periods, and more. I think one of the greatest weaknesses of conventional medicine is not recognizing the liver as the powerhouse that it truly is — especially when it comes to our hormones.
Here's the green smoothie I always recommend:
Dr. Taz's Green Smoothie for Healthy Hormones
- 1 cup organic kale, spinach, mustard, or Swiss chard (you can rotate to try different flavors)
- 2 tablespoons fresh organic parsley
- 1 tablespoon organic dandelion greens
- 1 organic banana, peeled frozen or fresh
- ½ cup frozen organic strawberries or cherries
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ¼ to ½ cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon raw, local honey (if needed)
It's important to understand why this smoothie is so crucial for our hormones.
For one, I've found it's easier to drink my greens rather than eat them. Thanks to their retained fiber, the greens in green smoothies help flush the liver and the digestive system, metabolizing and binding the bad by-products of hormones. I love to alternate and play with different types of greens. My mainstays, however, are often kale and spinach.
Kale, as a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, contains indole 3 carbinol, a chemical that helps to metabolize estrogen. It also contains calcium d glucarate, which metabolizes estrogen and helps to remove carcinogens from the body. Spinach is high in magnesium and iron, essential micronutrients for healthy hormones, while mustard greens have long been used in Ayurveda to metabolize and detoxify estrogen. Swiss chard contains a high amount of antioxidants, especially lutein, xeanthine, and beta-carotene — all of which support the liver in glutathione production, a potent liver detoxifier.
Once you're comfortable with your pick of greens, it's time to pick the herbs. Both parsley and dandelion greens are well-known liver-supporting herbs. Parsley contains chlorophyll, folic acid, and beta-carotene to support the liver and aid in hormone production. Dandelion greens serve as a diuretic, helping the liver eliminate toxins that might be affecting your hormone balance.
Both of these herbs have a distinct taste, so adding fruit and just a splash of honey helps balance the bitter taste.
My favorite fruits in green smoothies are usually cherries or strawberries. Fresh, organic strawberries contain iodine, a mineral that supports the thyroid, while cherries are rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that support hormone production.
My green smoothie for hormone balance has so far covered liver metabolism, detoxification, and hormone breakdown. But we're still missing a key component of healthy hormones: healthy fats. Healthy fats are needed as hormone builders, providing the foundation for the production of hormones like estrogen and progesterone. In this green smoothie recipe, I've added chia seeds as a source of fiber, protein, and healthy fat. Chia seeds are also a source of omega-3 fats, which help to combat inflammation. If for some reason you don't like chia seeds, you can substitute 1 teaspoon of coconut oil — another healthy fat with medium-chain triglycerides that support our hormones.
Finally, add water and a banana so that all these great ingredients can blend together to the consistency you desire. Since my mornings are hectic, I typically don't add more ingredients than what I listed above — but that shouldn't stop you from having fun and playing with different greens, fruits, or herbs to find your favorite smoothie concoctions.
You can drink your way to healthier hormones — use this green smoothie favorite as a starting step!