Pregnenolone, considered the “mother” of our steroid hormones is made from cholesterol, and it makes cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen and all of their metabolites.
Hormone balance is a complicated process that relies on many factors but we know that beneficial fats are essential to keep hormones balanced within the body. Healthy fats are essential building blocks in repairing and maintaining hormone balance.
With that said, not all fats are created equal. Many man made fats from sources like corn, soy, safflower, sunflower, and canola are high in omega-6’s which can be very disruptive to hormone balance if not balanced with omega-3 oils. If you are struggling with symptoms of PCOS then you are probably low in omega 3 fatty acids.
Manmade vegetable oils can oxidize inside the body very easily leading to cellular stress and as a result cause inflammation, therefore the balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fats are an important factor to consider.
Additionally, chemically altered fats called trans fats must be avoided completely – think “partially hydrogenated” oils that are found in many prepackaged foods used to preserve foods. These are foreign substances to your body that have a much different structure than fats from whole, real, foods raising inflammation and doing all sorts of other bad things that we won’t get into here. Just read labels and avoid these at all costs.
By adding in more omega 3 fats your body will absorb vitamins, minerals and nutrients better, inflammation will naturally decrease, your hormones will be more balanced and your insulin and blood sugar numbers should improve.
The body needs a 50/50 ratio of these fats to work in hormone balancing harmony. The best way to keep these ratios in check is to reduce your consumption of prepackaged foods and stick with whole foods that contain healthy fats.
- wild caught salmon
- chia seeds
- flax seeds
- 100% grass fed beef
- pasture eggs
- hemp seeds
Another favorite hormone-balancing fats is coconut oil. Though coconut oil is neither an omega-3 or omega-6 fat it is a great fat source for hormone balance. Coconut oil provides the necessary building blocks for hormone balance by stabilizing blood sugar levels, reducing inflammation and aiding in the cellular healing process. Unlike omega 3’s and 6’s, coconut oil is a medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which is easier for the body to use quickly as an energy source. Coconut oil is also a rich source of lauric acid, also found in breast milk, and works as an antiviral, anti fungal and major immune booster.
When it comes to cooking with healthy fats here are a few key things to look for at your local supermarket:
- cold pressed
- virgin or extra virgin
- olive oil in dark glass jars
- avoid plastic packaging
- always read the ingredients
Healthy fats are a fabulous addition to your diet to help with hormone balance. Add in some ripe avocado, crushed walnut, wild caught salmon and flax seeds into your weekly routine. Your skin, hair and hormones will thank you.
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