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Cruciferous vegetables: Nutritious foods you need to balance hormones

Facing hormonal imbalance? Don't worry. Just include cruciferous vegetables in your diet for many health benefits.
Cruciferous vegetables are good for hormones
Cruciferous vegetables are good for hormones. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Natalia Ningthoujam Updated: 17 Oct 2023, 06:47 pm IST
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When people talk about hormones, they either associate them with puberty or pregnant women. Well, hormones happen to be involved in different aspects of your health. You shouldn’t ignore them as hormone imbalances may increase your risk of diabetes, obesity and other health conditions. Food plays a vital role in balancing hormones, and there are some specific ones that you should eat. Cruciferous vegetables are great for balancing hormones, says an expert. Read on to find out how cruciferous vegetables and hormone health are connected.

HealthShots reached out to Deeksha Arora, dietitian, Apollo Spectra, Delhi to find out all about cruciferous vegetables.

Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are great for hormone health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are cruciferous vegetables?

Some vegetables have four-petaled flowers that look a lot like a crucifer or 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:

• Broccoli
• Cauliflower
• Kale
• Brussels sprout
• Spinach (health benefits of spinach)
• Cabbage

Health benefits of cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates, which are compounds that give these green plants their bitter flavour, says Arora. Glucosinolates have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They help to protect our cells from disease-causing 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 calorie. They also are a good fiber source. What’s more? They are also a great source of Omega-3s (increase your omega-3s to avoid diseases).

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These healthy fats are essential to many bodily functions like helping to maintain good cognitive health, reducing the risk of mental decline, and conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, says the expert.

Cruciferous vegetable for balancing hormones

Many women would probably not think about turning to food as a remedy for hormonal issues, as there are medicines. But cruciferous vegetables come under foods that can help to balance hormones. Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called 3,3-Diindolylmethane, which has been shown to reduce high estrogen levels and support estrogen detox in the liver. This helps to balance estrogen levels overall, says the expert. These green vegetables are high in fiber, which can aid in lowering estrogen levels. If you have high levels of estrogen then you will gain weight around the hips, waist, and thighs. There will also be light or heavy bleeding during menstruation and non-cancerous breast lumps will also be present. So, it’s important to control the estrogen levels (how high estrogen levels lead to weight gain).

Cruciferous vegetables
People with thyroid problems should avoid eating cruciferous vegetables. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Who should avoid cruciferous vegetables?

Cruciferous vegetables are healthy and nutritious, but they contain thiocyanates, which can block iodine absorption. People with thyroid problems should not eat very large amounts of these vegetables, says Arora. She suggests you to limit consumption to one to two servings or two to three servings per day, and opt for cooked vegetables rather than raw. If you eat high amounts of these vegetables then you may also end up with excess gas or thyroid damage.

But if you don’t have any health condition, you can include it in your daily diet. These vegetables are linked with lower rates of many chronic diseases, including heart disease.

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About the Author

Natalia Ningthoujam has written on various subjects - from music to films and fashion to lifestyle - as a journalist in her career that started in 2010. After getting stories from the crime scene, police headquarters, and conducting interviews with celebrities, she is now writing on health and wellness which has become her focus area. ...Read More

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