If you are feeling inexplicably tired, blue, cranky, or bleh in the bedroom, you could be experiencing hormonal imbalance. And you would not be alone: according to naturopathic doctor and author Natasha Turner, N.D., 80-90% of adults are hormonally disrupted. Pesticides on your produce, pollution, and chemicals in the environment (such as parabens, phthalates and fluoride) are all factors that can throw off your body’s natural balance. Try to buy all organic produce (and wash them well before eating), switch to all-natural body and cleaning products, and incorporate these foods to naturally stabilize your hormones.
1. Kelp – Seaweed has been used in naturopathic medicine for centuries, especially for women. Kelp, wakame, and other seaweeds are rich in iodine, which helps normalize your thyroid gland. It also is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins B1, B2, and B12, and protects against bacterial and fungal infections. Kelp is so healing, in fact, that it can protect against radioactive poisoning! Try it in Japanese style shredded kelp salad.
2. Maca – One of the healthiest foods for women, Maca is a Peruvian root vegetable that is most easily found in powder form in health stores. It’s rich in protein, B1, B12, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc, which promotes healthy testosterone levels. Maca increases libido and fertility, and eases menstrual cramps, moodiness, anxiety, and depression. It also increases physical stamina, athletic performance, and mental focus. To get the benefits, just add a tablespoon or two of maca powder to your morning smoothie.
3. Dark chocolate – chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac is well-deserved. Dark chocolate contains zinc, which helps increase libido, as well as copper and iron (1 bar contains 19% of your daily needs!). In addition to these endocrine benefits, dark chocolate is well-known for reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Go ahead and have an ounce (or two, ahem) of your favorite fair-trade dark chocolate bar, knowing you did the right thing for your body.
4. Coconut oil – coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils around. Studies have shown that regular consumption of coconut oil actually reduces abdominal fat. It also increases your body’s resistance against viruses, bacteria, yeast, and candida. In addition, coconut oil promotes normal thyroid function and balances your insulin levels. Use it to cook, or add a tablespoon to your smoothie for most nutritional benefit.
5. Licorice – this plant promotes healthy adrenal gland, which produces hormones like adrenaline that regulate the body’s response to stress. It also helps with infertility, chronic fatigue, and eczema. Most of the so-called licorice in supermarkets don’t contain the actual plant, so try drinking licorice tea for most benefits.