A great way to support your colon during this autumn season is through eating fiber from root vegetables, which are abundant at farmers’ markets from autumn harvests.
The sweet potatoes and parsnips in this “Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Kale Soup with Coconut Milk,” make eating enough fiber easy- peasy!
How Does Fiber Help Hormone Balance?
Adequate fiber from vegetables in the diet has been shown in studies to decrease excess hormone levels, particularly estradiol, the form of estrogen that fluctuates within the menstrual years.
Estrogen (estradiol) is needed for reproduction- it’s a building hormone, giving us our curvy hips and breasts, as well as it’s responsible for building the uterine tissue which would be implanted by the fertilized ovum if conception occurs. This is the same uterine lining that sheds during our menstrual phase if we did not become pregnant that cycle.
However, too much of it can cause Estrogen Dominance, an issue where there is too much estrogen in relation to progesterone, a hormone that thickens and sustains the uterine tissues to prevent miscarriage.
Estrogen Dominance can result from various reasons, including stress, a poor functioning colon and liver (the detox pathways), as well as chemicals in food, particularly xenoestrogens.
Consuming foods and liquids in plastic containers (BPA) and beauty/skincare products that have plastics in them (phthalates and fragrance) increase plastics stored in the body called Xenoestrogens. They are not the estrogens the ovaries produce, but rather chemicals that mimic estrogen, causing estrogen levels to skyrocket overtime, leading to infertility issues such as PCOS, as well as contributing to the growth of cysts, fibroids, cystic acne, painful PMS cramping, and even thyroid issues.
In addition, if there are digestive issues, due to food sensitivities, over-eating and high sugar consumption, the colon may be a little sluggish. Having a bowel movement soon upon waking is considered normal, as well as having at least 1-3 bowel movements per day.
The colon’s job is to eliminate the excess hormones that the liver has metabolized. Not having regular bowel movements may cause hormones and toxins to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream if not properly eliminated. Fiber is an ally for carrying excess estrogen out of the body.
Let me break it down for you in this simple equation:
Dietary Fiber + Regular Poops = Reduction of Estrogen Dominance 😛
How Much Fiber?
In my Women’s Health and Nutrition Certification, I saw studies that showed 35-40 grams of fiber is adequate for women with excess hormone related issues. Most American women are taking in about 15 grams daily! That’s less than half the recommend amount!
Note: increasing fiber too quickly may cause irritation to the intestinal lining, creating gas and bloating. Increase fiber by a few grams daily with enough liquids to help your body adjust.
Gottfried, Sara. The Hormone Cure. New York: Scribner. 2013.
The sweet potatoes and parsnips in this soup add dietary fiber. This soup is an excellent choice for the luteal phase (autumn phase of the menstrual cycle), because root vegetables are complex carbohydrates, which break down more slowly helping to ward off cravings that can arise during PMS. Plus, they are naturally sweet, which can satiate taste buds!