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Why broccoli might be the superfood you need for your hormones

We all know broccoli is good for us, but few people realise the powerful benefits of it for our hormone health.

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, kale, brussel sprouts, cauliflower) are a source of a plant nutrient called Diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM is an indole phytonutrient found only in cruciferous vegetables. Simply put, when broccoli or any other cruciferous vegetables are chewed, plant enzymes are released. When these enzymes are exposed to stomach acid, a compound called indole-3 carbinol (I3C) is formed which, in turn, yields DIM.

So how is this related to hormone health? Well, DIM has been found to support healthy oestrogen metabolism. You may not know that there is more than one type of oestrogen and DIM helps support the balance between beneficial 2-hydroxy oestrogens and the unwanted 16-hydroxy variety. This improves oestrogen metabolism and helps resolve oestrogen dominance.

So what is oestrogen dominance and how does it impact our health? Oestrogen dominance is when your oestrogen levels are abnormally high compared to your progesterone levels. Breast and uterine cancers, fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome have all been linked to oestrogen dominance. Preventing/reducing oestrogen dominance is important for anyone menstruating, as unwanted period symptoms such as swelling and tenderness in your breasts, irregular menstrual periods, bloating and many more are thought to be linked to high levels of oestrogen.

Broccoli is not just a great source of DIM it is also a rich source of many other vitamins and minerals. Including Vitamin C, Magnesium, Folate, Calcium and Iron, to name just a few. Adequate daily intakes of these are vital for not just hormonal health, but overall health too.

So in summary, increasing your intake of broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables is a super simple and yet effective way to support your hormone health! Intake recommendations vary but incorporating at least 1 portion a day is a good start (1 portion = 1 full handful). Steaming is the best method of cooking to keep your cruciferous vegetables nutrient rich. Boiling vegetables can cause nutrients to leach out into the water, so top tip if you do boil, keep the water and use it for soups or stocks!


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