Nutrition researcher shows how foods affect our hormones and health

Nutrition researcher and New York Times bestselling author Neal Barnard, MD, demonstrates how foods affect our hormones--and our health--in his new book, Your Body in Balance. Dr. Barnard shares the science behind how common conditions--like infertility, weight gain, menopausal symptoms, breast and prostate cancers, thyroid problems, and acne--are fueled by hormones that are hidden in or influenced by the foods we eat.

Imagine experiencing years of unexplained infertility until a simple diet change sets things right. Or suffering from endometriosis, debilitating menstrual cramps, polycystic ovary syndrome, diabetes, or even acne without ever realizing that the solution could be as simple as the food on your plate. Incredibly, most of the people who will benefit from this book do not even realize that a hormone imbalance may be contributing to or even causing their health problem."

Dr. Neal Barnard, Nutrition researcher

Food and hormones play a powerful role in fertility and menopause, sex-hormone related cancers, balancing the thyroid, type 2 diabetes, and regulating metabolism. Out Feb. 4, Your Body in Balance shares stories of people who have overcome these health conditions and many others with simple diet changes.

One example is Air Force Iraq War veteran Katherine Lawrence of Fort Worth, Texas, who was facing infertility but now has three healthy children of her own. Lawrence's doctor diagnosed endometriosis and suggested a hysterectomy, a devastating diagnosis for a young woman planning a family. A change in diet resulted in a reduction in her condition to the point that she did not need surgery, a situation her doctor dubbed "a miracle."

"Dr. Barnard walks us through the most common and troublesome ailments which so many of us struggle with: hormone fluctuations, thyroid conditions, and mood disorders--with an eye towards research and solutions based in foods commonly available to us," says Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actor.

Boosting fiber in the diet is one strategy that Dr. Barnard recommends for creating healthy hormone balance. A study highlighted in the book illustrates that a higher-fiber, lower-fat diet brings a woman's hormones to a healthier level, which can bring a reduction in breast cancer risk and help women struggling with other hormone-related issues. Researchers found that women who changed the fat and fiber content of their meals under controlled conditions trimmed estradiol levels by 10 to 25 percent. Estrone was tamed to about the same degree, and testosterone was reduced, too.

The book provides step-by-step guidance for understanding what's at the root of many health issues as well as practical tips and 65 hormone-balancing recipes developed by cookbook author Lindsay Nixon.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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