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Plant-Based Nutrition and Hormone Health_Final_Updated HHC July18 version

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>> Hi there. In this lecture, we'll discuss how a plant-based diet can influence hormone balance. Plant-based diets are becoming more and more prevalent. People are switching to plant-based for tons of reasons including to support health, reduce environmental impact, and to opt out of the meat industry, and it's likely to be something that might come up in one of your sessions. When you hear the phrase "plant-based," what comes to mind? The truth is that plant-based can refer to a wide variety of different eating styles. For example, raw vegan is considered plant-based, but some diets that include small amounts of animal protein can also be considered plant-based. I just want to specify that we're referring to a plant-based diet here. So a vegetarian diet that includes lots of highly processed foods isn't likely to provide the same benefits. In fact, it's those highly processed and refined foods that can disrupt effective hormone action and balance. If you're working with a client who says they're vegetarian, vegan, or plant-based, you'll really want to get a feel for the quality of their diet. Plant-based or not, eating many highly processed foods can negatively impact health. However, the benefits of a truly plant-based diet, one that includes things like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are wide-ranging and well-researched. Including plants as the base of your diet can help reduce the risks of particular cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and chronic illnesses. It can also support digestive wellness. So let's talk about a few factors unique to a plant-based diet that may affect hormone health. First, there are a few nutrients of concern when we're referring to diets that include little to no animal based foods. Nutrients of concerned may sound alarming, but it just refers to nutrients that you need to be more mindful of on a strictly plant-based diet because they may either not be as abundant in plant-based foods or they may not be as easily absorbed. These include vitamin B12, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D, which is referred to as a prohormone. The body is always seeking homeostatic balance. So a deficiency in any of these nutrients will end up affecting health. For example, if a person isn't getting enough calcium in their diet, the body compensates by producing parathyroid hormone which causes calcium stored in the bones to be reabsorbed bringing blood calcium levels back into a normal range. Here's another example, zinc facilitates the secretion of insulin from the beta cells of the pancreas, and a deficiency in zinc may play a role in insulin resistance. Everything is connected in one way or another. In general, a well-rounded diet can help to reduce risk of nutrient deficiencies. A vitamin D and B12 supplement may also be recommended for individuals who completely avoid animal foods. Another thing to keep in mind is that many of our hormones are made from amino acids. Animal based foods contain all essential amino acids while plant-based foods may be limited in one or two essential amino acids. So to support hormone health on a complete plant-based diet, it's important to eat a wide variety of plant-based foods to make sure you're getting all of the essential amino acids in your diet. As an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, you can help your plant-based clients increase their awareness of the nutrients of concern and help them explore foods they could start incorporating to make sure they're getting a balanced diet. A second factor to be aware of when it comes to plant-based diets is this. What is the role of soy? When people first start a plant-based diet, it is not uncommon for them to lean on soy foods to replace animal-based foods that used to play a big role in their diet. It seems like there's a lot of confusion surrounding soy foods. So why are these foods controversial? Well, for one, they contain phytoestrogens, compounds that can act as estrogen receptors in the body, which we'll get more into in a second. The other reason is that soy is often genetically modified, highly processed, and added to most refined foods. In fact, 70% of the products on the grocery store shelf are likely to contain some form of genetically modified soy, so we're probably exposed to it way more than we realize. It's important to distinguish that quality can vary widely when it comes to soy foods. Traditional soy foods like those that are popular in Japanese cuisine including tofu, tempeh, miso, and natto are very different from the isolated soy proteins, refined soybean oil, or other highly processed soy products added to many packaged foods. Still, soy got popular in plant-based diets for a reason. One cup of soybeans contains almost 30 grams of protein and about 10 grams of fiber. It is an excellent source of iron and magnesium and it also packs a punch when it comes to calcium, potassium, and B6. It is relatively inexpensive. It can be prepared in countless ways, and like we just went over, it is highly nutritious. So it makes sense that soy was embraced completely as an alternative to meat, but like we said, not all soy is created equal. Now it's one thing, if we're eating whole food versions, but regardless of the form, we know that highly processed foods can negatively impact health. We also know that one of the best indicators of diet quality is variety. So relying too much on one food whether that is soy or something else might not be that great for us either. Now let's go back to that first reason why soy is considered controversial. As I mentioned, soy contains phytoestrogens. Let's talk about what that means. Phyto means plant. So phytoestrogen essentially refers to a plant compound that acts like estrogen, but phytoestrogens from the diet are weaker than the estrogen produced by the body. They're found in soy, but they're also found in other legumes, some grains, fruits, and vegetables. Recent research has also shown that a plant-based diet may be more effective at helping to manage uncomfortable perimenopausal symptoms compared with omnivorous diets. For women experiencing menopause, some research has shown that phytoestrogen containing foods may help to reduce uncomfortable symptoms like hot flashes and vaginal dryness, but even this is conflicting and could potentially make symptoms worse. Like everything, this can be very bio-individual. And if you have a client experiencing these symptoms, definitely encourage him or her to talk to his or her healthcare practitioner. When it comes to breast cancer, research about soy can be conflicting as well. Recent research has shown that phytoestrogen containing foods may help to decrease breast cancer risk. Many soy advocates point to the low incidence of breast cancer in East Asian countries where soy is popular. Of course, these areas also tend to eat less processed foods and have a lower prevalence of obesity which in and of itself can help to reduce cancer risk. Now on the other hand, there also has been evidence that soy may promote tumor growth. There isn't a clear consensus at this point, and women who have a history of breast cancer or at risk need to be encouraged to talk to their healthcare practitioner about including soy in their diet. Now in short, whole, unprocessed soy is nutrient-dense and can have benefits for some people, but for others, it may do more harm than good. It's a matter of bio-individuality. And since some studies have found negative effects in the relationship between soy consumption and hormone health, we explore these potential risks in this course so that you and your clients can be aware and explore this on a bio-individual level. In any case, it can be helpful for clients to take a look at the quality and quantity of soy in their diets. Our third factor regarding a plant-based diet and hormone health is the benefit of having a decreased risk of obesity. Did you know that plant-based eaters tend to have a slimmer waist circumference? People who carry extra weight around their bellies are at an increased risk of obesity related diseases which takes a major toll on hormone health. For women with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more and men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more increases the risk. In fact, this is one of the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase risk of heart attack and stroke. So how does obesity affect hormones? We know that when we eat, our bodies have to take that food and turn it into usable energy forms like glucose. The pancreas makes insulin to help clear glucose from the bloodstream into our cells so that we can actually use it. In the pathology of type II diabetes, the pancreas gets less effective at producing adequate amounts of insulin, and the insulin that's produced is less effective at clearing glucose. This is referred to as insulin resistance. A plant-based diet has been shown to support insulin sensitivity, the opposite of insulin resistance and can help reduce the risks of being overweight and obese. This is one way that plant-based diets can significantly affect hormonal health for the better. Being overweight or obese also has a big impact on the sex hormones leading to decrease fertility in both men and women. Lastly, another reason why plant-based diets can affect hormone health isn't so much about what they include but what they exclude. Animal based foods may be sources of hormones and hormone disruptors. For example, conventionally produced milk often comes from cows who are given growth hormones to speed up milk production. Now it's not clear what effects this may have on health and dairy can be a very healthful food for some individuals, but if you're concerned about this, opt for organic or try to limit your dairy consumption. In terms of hormone disruptors that may be found in animal-based foods, dioxin is something that you should definitely be aware of. Dioxin is an environmental toxin that is produced as an industrial byproduct. Unfortunately, the presence of dioxin in the planet is pervasive. Animals can store dioxin in their fat tissue, so consuming animal-based foods can increase the risk of exposure. It can even pass through breast milk. Frequent exposure to dioxin may increase risk of both issues within the endocrine and reproductive symptoms. Plant-based diets are a way to cut exposure. Another endocrine disruptor that can hide in animal tissue, especially large fish like halibut, tuna, and albacore, is mercury. Mercury is a heavy metal that can lead to issues with everything from fertility to neurological function. If you do choose to include seafood in your diet, salmon, shrimp, and cod, which are smaller fish, are less likely to be major mercury sources. Okay, so let's recap what we've covered in this lecture. First, we talked about the importance of having a well-rounded diet to support hormone health as a plant-based eater and the nutrients of concern that you should be aware of. Next, we talked about the role that soy has in plant-based diet, how to distinguish between the quality of soy, and why it's considered controversial. We talked about how plant-based diets can support hormone health by supporting a healthy weight and increasing insulin sensitivity. And lastly, we talked about how growth hormones, dioxin and mercury, can be found in some animal-based foods and how a plant-based diet may help to reduce exposure. Balanced and varied plant-based diets are a great way to support health. Of course, there's a ton of potential variation of what a plant-based diet may look like, and this can be very bio-individual. As a Health Coach, talk to your clients about what their ideal diet might look like and offer support as they explore the dietary style that works best for them. Do you consider yourself plant-based? If so, what type of a plant-based diet makes you feel your best? If you're comfortable, share your thoughts in the Facebook group. Thanks for watching, and bye for now.

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Duration: 13 minutes
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 6
Posted by: integrativenutrition on Aug 23, 2018

Plant-Based Nutrition and Hormone Health_Final

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