The Hormone Cure by Sara Gottfried MD (2013): What to eat and foods to avoid

by Penny Hammond on April 6, 2013 · 4 comments

in Diets

The Hormone Cure - book by Sara Gottfried MDThe Hormone Cure (2013) is a book that describes ways for women to balance their hormones naturally. Dietary recommendations include:

  • Whole foods, not processed
  • Organic, in season, grass-fed / wild
  • Limit or eliminate caffeine and alcohol
  • Specific guidelines for different hormonal issues

Get a copy of The Hormone Cure for questionnaires, the science, lifestyle changes, nutraceuticals, mind/body practices, herbal therapies, bioidentical hormones, and detailed descriptions of the recommendations for each type of hormone imbalance.

Also, see the blog at www.saragottfriedmd.com and http://thehormonecurebook.com

The reasoning behind The Hormone Cure

Many hormone levels, such as estrogen and testosterone, start to drift downwards when you’re in your 20s, and this can have negative effects on your body. Some hormones, such as cortisol, may spike too high and pull the other hormones offline. Women younger than 30 may not yet feel affected by the aging process, but perhaps they want to get pregnant or avoid the diagnosis of breast cancer their mom just received. Those in their 30s may feel increasingly tense and overwhelmed, in need of better strategies on how to relax. They may want to prevent the high blood pressure, prediabetes, and accelerated aging that comes with chronically high stress levels. Women in their 40s and 50s may want to regain some of the buoyancy of their youth. Women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s may want to optimize their cognitive and executive functioning – to improve their thinking, memory, and competitive edge.

The recommendations in the book are based on an evidence-based integrative approach – a 3-step strategy in a sequential system that includes:

  1. Lifestyle design: food, nutraceutical, and targeted exercise
  2. Herbal therapies
  3. Bioidentical hormones

Dietary recommendations for The Hormone Cure

General recommendations  |  High cortisol  |  Low cortisol  |  Low progesterone and progesterone resistance  |  Excess estrogen  |  Low estrogen  |  Excess androgens  |  Low thyroid

General recommendations

As well as these recommendations, see the suggestions for whichever hormone imbalances affect you, below.

Foods to eat with The Hormone Cure

  • Eat like your great-grandparents
  • All foods should be organic and in season
  • Lean, grass-fed animal protein – meats, poultry, eggs, low-mercury fish
  • Vegetable protein – tofu, tempeh, or beans
  • Leafy greens and lots of vegetables
  • Low-glycemic fruits
  • Whole grains in moderation (without gluten)
  • Ground flaxseeds or soaked chia seeds
  • Less calorie-dense foods

Foods to avoid or limit with The Hormone Cure

  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid “the white stuff” – refined carbohydrates, sugar, sugar substitutes, flour, and gluten
  • Limit alcohol (see guidelines under each hormone condition where there may be more details)
  • Avoid food allergens – see The Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin for guidelines. The main idea is to calibrate from the basic plan. If you lose weight on this volume of food, add one ounce of whole grain at breakfast or three ounces at dinner.

High cortisol

Foods to eat with high cortisol

  • Dark chocolate – although the research on this may be questionable

Foods to avoid or limit with high cortisol

  • Avoid alcohol if possible, or limit to less than 3 glasses a week
  • Avoid drinks foods containing a lot of caffeine including coffee and nonherbal teas – preferably be caffeine-free

Low cortisol

Foods to eat with low cortisol

  • Grapefruit juice

Low progesterone and progesterone resistance

Foods to avoid or limit with low progesterone and progesterone resistance

  • Avoid drinks foods containing a lot of caffeine including coffee and nonherbal teas – preferably be caffeine-free
  • Avoid alcohol if possible, or limit to less than 3-6 servings a week

Excess estrogen

Foods to eat with excess estrogen

  • Follow a modified Paleo diet “the Paleolista Food Plan”
  • Pastured meat and dairy, preferably in small amounts / as a condiment
  • Nuts
  • Fresh, low-glycemic fruits and vegetables
  • Consume 35-45 grams of fiber per day
  • Eat seaweed if you’re not sensitive to iodine (herbal/botanical therapy)
  • Take organic turmeric – 1 tablespoon per day or supplement (herbal/botanical therapy)

Foods to avoid or limit with excess estrogen

  • Limit alcohol to a glass of wine with dinner a few days a week (fewer than 4 servings a week); if you are at risk for breast cancer, drink minimally if  at all
  • Eat less meat and dairy from conventionally raised animals
  • Avoid drinks foods containing a lot of caffeine including coffee and nonherbal teas – preferably be caffeine-free
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates  – white bread, white sugar, white rice
  • Avoid foods or drinks exposed to BPA – e.g. most canned foods, water in plastic bottles.
  • Preferably eat from glass, stainless steel, and ceramic containers; don’t drink or eat from plastic containers containing PVC
  • Don’t microwave foods in plastic containers or covered in plastic wrap

Low estrogen

Foods to eat with low estrogen

  • Whole soy, e.g. organic miso soup or tofu
  • Flaxseeds

Foods to avoid or limit with low estrogen

  • Avoid drinks foods containing caffeine including coffee and nonherbal teas
  • Avoid foods containing gluten

Excess androgens

Foods to eat with excess androgens

  • Low glycemic index foods, with a GI less than 55
  • Foods containing zinc, such as green beans, sesame and pumpkin seeds
  • Wild Alaskan salmon for omega-3s
  • 35-45 grams of fiber per day
  • Eat more protein – 0.75 to 1 gram of lean protein per pound of lean body mass
  • Cinnamon – ½ teaspoon per day (herbal/botanical therapy)

Foods to avoid or limit with excess androgens

  • Minimize omega-6 fats found in processed food, corn and safflower oils, and farm-raised fish
  • Avoid medium or high glycemic foods, with a GI of 55 or over
  • Avoid dairy for 6 weeks to see if it helps your symptoms
  • Avoid eggs for 6 weeks to see if it helps your symptoms
  • Avoid sugar

Low thyroid

Foods to eat with low thyroid

  • Good sources of copper such as meat, poultry, and eggs; nuts, seeds, and grains
  • Good sources of vitamin A such as chicken livers, raw carrots, and dandelion greens
  • Good sources of iron such as leafy greens and grass-fed beef
  • Good sources of vitamin D such as sunshine, liver, and low-mercury fish such as herring, sardines, and cod

Foods to avoid or limit with low thyroid

  • Limit brassica foods such as brussels sprouts and kale; cook them to reduce the negative effect on thyroid function. Other foods containing goitrogens include soy and millet; cooking does not remove the goitrogens in these foods – limit soy to 2 servings per week
  • Avoid seaweed
  • Test for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, if you have one of these you should avoid gluten

Health benefits claimed in The Hormone Cure

The diet in this book claims to reduce the risks associated with: acne, anxiety, asthma, bloating, brain fog, breast cancer, depression, dizziness, eczema, endometriosis, fatigue, fibroids, GERD/acid reflux/heartburn, hair loss, headaches/migraines, high cholesterol, hot flashes, indigestion, infertility/subfertility, insomnia, irritability, low libido, menopause, miscarriage, muscle weakness, night sweats, osteoporosis, overweight/obesity, perimenopause, period pain, PMS, polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS, prediabetes, rosacea, skin problems, vaginal dryness

As always, this is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical diagnosis or treatment for a medical condition. Consult your doctor before starting a new diet. This page describes what the authors of the diet recommend – Chewfo is describing the diet only, and does not endorse it.

Get a copy of The Hormone Cure for questionnaires, the science, lifestyle changes, nutraceuticals, mind/body practices, herbal therapies, bioidentical hormones, and detailed descriptions of the recommendations for each type of hormone imbalance.
Buy now from Amazon
How has this diet helped you? Please add a comment below.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky May 10, 2014 at 6:24 pm

If you have high cortisol at night doesn’t the dark chocolate keep you up and make it hard to sleep?

Reply

Becky May 10, 2014 at 6:25 pm

ok moderation is always good ;but will it help lower the cortisol?

Reply

Penny Hammond May 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm

The same advice won’t work for everybody. Try following the general food recommendations and specific food recommendations for your condition, plus the other non-food recommendations (supplements, lifestyle, etc.) in the book, to see if they help you.

Reply

Penny Hammond May 11, 2014 at 1:47 pm

Dr. Gottfried doesn’t say what time of the day you should eat dark chocolate; she also points out that the research on dark chocolate and cortisol may be questionable.

Reply

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