Hormone Balance Recipe: Broccoli Kimchi Fried Rice
Hormones are incredibly important to your physiology. A steady flow of these tiny chemical messengers is responsible for mediating your mood, energy level, metabolism, fertility, and many of the structural changes to your body. When your hormones are imbalanced, everything feels off. This is why eating for hormone balance is so important.
There are lots of medical reasons that your hormones may be out of whack (for that, you’ll want to check in with your doctor for advice), but there may be some lifestyle factors at play too. Getting regular exercise, quality sleep, and a healthy diet can all make a difference in your hormonal balance.
Nutrition for Hormone Balance
Obviously, your body needs a spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to thrive. When it comes to hormones, specifically, you want to ensure you are getting the essential building blocks from which your body can make them. Hormones can be protein, lipid, or cholesterol-based molecules, so you’ll need amino acids and healthy fats in your diet to make them.
You can supplement amino acids, and/or get them from protein-containing foods. Eggs, dairy, and meats are “complete proteins” as they contain all nine of the essential amino acids. There are a few plant-based complete proteins too, such as quinoa and soy beans (tofu). If you include a complete protein at every meal, you likely have the amino acids necessary for hormone production.
If only it was that easy, right?! Eating for hormone balance is much more complex than just having the appropriate building blocks. Stick with us, there’s more…
Gut Health and Hormone Balance
As the body of research grows around the gut microbiome and its role in the human body, the more we learn about just how integral our intestinal microbiota are to both physical and mental health.
One small aspect of the microbiome is the estrobolome. The estrobolome is a subgroup of microbes that can control the amount of estrogen circulating in the body.
The liver metabolizes estrogen and delivers it to the gut for excretion. A healthy estrobolome minimizes the reabsorption of estrogen from the gut ensuring hormone balance. If there is an excess of bacteria that produce betaglucuronidase, this enzyme reverts estrogen back into its unconjugated, active form. It is then absorbed back into the bloodstream resulting in elevated estrogen levels. Healthy levels of betaglucuronidase and estrogen are associated with healthy premenstrual periods, healthy weight and body mass index, fertility, a balanced mood and cardiovascular health .
One way to strengthen the health of your gut microbiome is by supplementing with probiotics and prebiotics directly. Another way is to eat probiotic and prebiotic foods. Probiotic foods contain the species of live microbes that you want to encourage populating your gut environment. Prebiotics are the fiber sources that probiotic bacteria eat to thrive.
Kimchi (like other fermented products) is a highly probiotic food. Brown rice and broccoli are rich in different and complementary types of prebiotic fiber. Together, these three foods are a boon to your gut health.
DIM and Hormone Balance
Broccoli and cabbage have another superpower aside from a high-fiber content. They contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) that the human body converts into diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM can help to promote healthy estrogen levels. Specifically, DIM may stimulate the production of a less potent, more beneficial form of estrogen known as 2-hydroxyestrone .
DIM has been shown to reduce estrogen receptor activity, promote healthy estrogen metabolite production, and support selective apoptosis, which helps to get rid of damaged cells from the body . Some researchers hypothesize this to be the reason that a diet high in cruciferous veggies (like broccoli) is associated with DNA replication integrity .
Of course, you would have to eat a lot of cruciferous veggies to get the amount of DIM that can be easily supplemented in a capsule. If that sounds like an easier solution to you, and you’d like to learn more about DIM, here is a link to high-quality DIM supplements, and a link to an article on DIM.
Eating for Hormone Balance: Broccoli Kimchi Fried Rice
If you’re following along, you know now why we have selected the star ingredients for our “eating for hormone balance” recipe this month.
Broccoli contains a precursor to DIM and is high in prebiotic fiber (as is brown rice). Kimchi is a naturally probiotic-rich food made mostly of cabbage, another DIM precursor. Together these foods benefit a healthy gut and maintenance of optimal estrogen levels.
Last but not least, eggs provide a complete source of protein and good cholesterol to be used as building blocks in general hormone production.
Ingredients (for 4 servings)
1 large head of broccoli
1 cup of kimchi (If you’d like to make your own, try our recipe, linked here)
6 green onions
¼ cup coconut oil
5 cloves garlic finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped ginger
1 tablespoon agave nectar (or similar natural sweetener)
4 cups cooked brown rice
4 fried or scrambled eggs
¼ cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Sesame seeds and/or gochujang flakes to finish
Salt to taste
- Cut broccoli into bite-sized florets and slice the stem into bite-sized cubes or discs.
- Slice the green onions thinly, on a bias, and separate the white/light from dark green sections.
- Squeeze as much liquid as possible from your kimchi and roughly chop it up.
- Add ½ your coconut oil to a large frying pan or wok on medium heat. Add the broccoli, sprinkle with salt, and cook without stirring until it starts to crisp (about 5 minutes). Stir, cook for 2 more minutes and remove from the pan.
- Add the remaining coconut oil to the pan. Once melted, add ginger, garlic, kimchi, and light sections of the green onion to the pan. Stir frequently and cook until the ginger and garlic become fragrant (about 2 minutes).
- Add rice, tamari, and agave to the pan and mix well into the kimchi. Once evenly distributed, let the mixture crisp for two minutes before stirring. Repeat.
- Add the broccoli, green onion tops, and sesame oil into the pan and thoroughly incorporate them into the fried rice. Keep stirring and cooking until broccoli is well heated.
- If you like fried eggs, a great time to fry them is while the broccoli is reheating.
- If you prefer scrambled eggs in your fried rice, you can scramble them now and stir them in before serving. For fewer dirty dishes later, you can make a hole in your rice with a spatula, and crack eggs right into the stir fry. Scramble them slightly with your spatula and incorporate them into the dish as they continue to cook.
- We suggest serving this fried rice dish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds, gochujang flakes, avocado, or more fresh kimchi. Enjoy immediately.