Does it feel like your hormones are on steroids and making your body go a little crazy? Well actually, your hormones ARE steroids and they are from made cholesterol.
- The Estrogen’s (estrone, estradiol, estriol)
Not all cholesterol is created equal and not all cholesterol is good for your hormones.
Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) aka ‘bad cholesterol’. This type of cholesterol causes inflammation, clogs arteries, increases risk of heart disease and stroke, a decline in cognitive function and problems with digestion.
Hormonal changes also influence the levels of LDL and HDL, for example, As oestrogen levels in women decrease LDL tends to increase and the opposite is true.
Poor functioning of the thyroid like in hypothyroidism also leads to an increase in total and LDL cholesterol.
High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) aka ‘good cholesterol’ acts in the opposite to LDL. It helps reduce inflammation, lowers risk of heart disease and stroke, improves brain function, promotes healthy supple skin and strengthens hair and nails. Possibly the most important function of HDL is that it is essential for making your steroid hormones. These are the hormones that keep your menstrual cycle regular, ensure normal fertility function, help you manage stress, maintain your sex drive, maintain your curves, muscle and bone mass to name a few.
Below is a handy list of the common types of foods you should increase in your diet, those you should eat moderately and those you should avoid to manage your cholesterol levels and keep your hormones happy.
Foods you should eat often: HDL friendly
- Nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, pecans)
- Seeds (e.g. pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseeds, chia seeds)
- Beans and lentils
- Sea vegetables (e.g seamoss)
- Whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, millet)
- Olives and Olive oil
- Brussel sprouts
- High fibre fruits( e.g. pears, apples)
Foods you should eat moderately: HDL friendly but can have other side effects if over consumed
- Red wine
- Organ meats (e.g liver)
- Coconut oil
- Lean meat
- Fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, tuna)
Foods you should avoid: Increase LDL
- Fried foods(especially deep fried foods)
- Fast foods (e.g. burgers, pizza)
- Baked good(e.g. cakes, pastries, cookies)
Processed meat (e.g bacon, ham, polony)
Full fat dairy
Spray on oils
Of course you may want to indulge in the piece of cake here and there or have bacon for your breakfast, just remember moderation is key.
Try this recipe: Chia Breakfast Parfait