You are alive because of brilliant biochemistry. Your body is made of trillions of cells that are formed from the same carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen in stars that shined brightly billions of years ago. Your trillions of cells all communicate through hormones. The hormones are loyal messengers to your body, allowing your health to thrive in ways we usually take for granted until it's gone.
When there is hormone imbalance, problems occur. Weight comes up; energy goes down. Your mood, digestion, and brain can all struggle when you have hormonal imbalances. As a functional medicine practitioner talking with people around the world, hormone problems are some of the most common things that I see.
Using food as medicine, my goal is to bring optimal function so that my patients regain their vibrant health. Here are three of my favorite tools to use for hormone imbalances: one for thyroid, adrenal, and sex hormone health.
So, drink up, and heal your hormones with good food medicine.
Every cell of your immaculately designed body needs your thyroid hormone to function as it should. It is no surprise then that when your thyroid is not working well, nothing is working well.
Weight gain, digestive problems, losing your hair (including, strangely, the outer third of your eyebrows), brain fog, and depression are some of the common symptoms that I see in people wrecked by underlying thyroid problems.
Here's a yummy smoothie I designed for to help with thyroid health:
Thyroid Booster Smoothie
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 scoop collagen protein
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
- 1 cup mixed greens
- 2 Brazil nuts
- 1 avocado
- 1 stick celery
- 2 tablespoons dulse flakes
- 1 tablespoon maca powder
- 1 cup organic frozen berries
Blend all ingredients in blender.
What's it doing for me? To make healthy hormones you need healthy fats, so bring on the coconut milk, oil, and avocados. Green leafy vegetables are needed for healthy methylation, which is also needed for healthy hormones! Brazil nuts are jam-packed with selenium, which your body uses to make the enzyme (5' deiodinase) to convert your inactive thyroid hormone T4 into the active T3. Seaweeds like dulse flakes are rich in iodine, which is raw material for making your thyroid hormone. Maca powder stabilizes your hormone levels, and celery is a great food medicine for healing your gut, which is also needed for optimal thyroid levels.
If you have a low sex drive, struggle with depression, anxiety, and weight gain, you shouldn't rule out a sex hormone imbalance. The delicate balance of the estrogen isomers (E1, E2, E3) and their balance with progesterone and testosterone is needed for you to feel and look your best.
Here is a warm elixir to heat up your sex drive and balance those hormones:
Sex Hormone Boosting Elixir
- 2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon shilajit powder
- 1 teaspoon mucuna pruriens powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
1. Blend ingredients well in a blender.
2. Pour into saucepan and heat for 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat until warm.
What's it doing for me? In addition to the hormone-building healthy fats of coconut milk, cacao, shilajit, mucuna pruriens have all been traditionally used to balance sex hormones and serve as potent aphrodisiacs. Enjoy!
If you are exhausted and irritable, if you get an afternoon slump in energy but often get a "second wind" at night and sleep poorly, check the state of your brain and adrenal connection (HPA axis). Adrenal fatigue happens when your brain and adrenal glands aren't communicating well. Your stress hormone, cortisol, is either too high, too low, or like a roller coaster throughout your day.
Try this herbal iced tea designed to cool off your stress and bring Zen to your adrenals:
Refreshing Adrenal Balancing Iced Tea
- 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- 1 teaspoon rhodiola powder
- 1 teaspoon holy basil powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Pour 1 to 2 cups of hot water over herbs.
2. Let steep for 15 minutes.
3. Pour over ice.
How to make the most of these superfood drinks
You can give your body the best foods in the world, but if your day is filled with stress, you will be sabotaging your efforts at hormone health. Amplify these three drinks by creating a ritual of serenity around drinking them. Find a quiet time in your day, maybe before the day starts in the morning or in the afternoon when you get home. Create a silent space while you sip on these nourishing beverages.
By bringing mindfulness into this ritual, you will nourish your soul as well as your body. Also, because your hormones all influence one another, be holistic and try all three!