The mighty cruciferous vegetable.

One of the biggest challenges facing clients in my experience is managing hormones. Whether its PCOS, irregular cycles, weight gain, headaches and bloating or more painful symptoms from conditions such as endometriosis (which is often inherited but can be supported or better managed with some dietary support). Like with all nutritional work, the approach towards better health needs to be holistic and multifaceted. Hormone function is such a delicate and complex balance of factors including gut health, liver function, insulin resistance, stress, genetics and environment…..barely touched the surface!. In practice all these elements need to be considered. But simple dietary changes over time can make all the difference.

Take brassicas or cruciferous veg such as the humble and native broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, radish, rocket or bok-choi. So many studies have been conducted on their nutritional role. What we are learning reveals potential in the prevention of estrogen dominant cancers, supporting hormone balance and protecting liver function.

Excess estrogen in our bodies is not helpful. It messes with our hormones. Cruciferous foods, support our liver’s detoxification actions by producing a compound called Indole-3-carbinol which through the process of digestion gets converted to what is known as DIM. DIM has a specific action in clearing excess and unwanted hormones. Our liver is busy enough as it is from filtering blood, metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins, storing energy (glycosis), producing bile and enzymes for our digestion as well as breaking down chemicals for detoxification.

So lets give it a helping hand and include these beauties as much as we can. Fresh, frozen, steamed, blanched, roasted etc..

As though that wasn’t enough to show our appreciation, cruciferous foods are also a great source of Vitamin K, C, A, Folate and fibre. All of these play a key part in liver metabolism, hormone function plus bone health, and cardiovascular health (to name but a few!).

We’ve been lucky enough to grow some vegetables in our garden over the last couple of years. Since lockdown my appreciation of these small offerings has increased. Purple sprouting broccoli has by far been our favorite.

Steamed broccoli with garlic tahini dressing, toasted almonds and any herbs! If you don’t have tahini, use some yoghurt!

This would go well with some fish, lentils, poached egg or tofu. We had it for lunch with lentils and roast tomatoes.