Whether you're interested or not, hormones affect us all. We all have them, men and women. They affect our moods, energy and feeling of well being, as well as the people around us when we're feeling under par.
For men, the hormone that can be affected is testosterone (levels). Recent studies have demonstrated that low testosterone in men is strongly associated with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (Miner and Seftel 2007). Male hormones help men beat stress, stay fit and have better sex. Their hormone levels need to be looked after as they age in the same way that women's hormones, especially oestrogen, need balancing to keep us healthy, energised and motivated. Our hormones drive our libido too.
That's what we talked about last weekend to the group of women who attended the Happy Hormones workshop. Of particular interest and importance was the inclusion of phytoestrogens on a daily basis. What are they? Never heard of them?
They're found in pulses - legumes (adzuki beans, black beans, soybeans, anasazi beans, fava beans, chickpeas, kidney beans and lima beans) and lentils - as well as nuts . They're high in protein, low in fat and provide natural fibre in your diet to help clear and prevent Oestrogen reabsorption in your body.
My favourite Hummus
I used to think pulses were for vegans and that I didn't need to consider them. Thank goodness for multiculturalism and the introduction of wonderful Indian, mediterranean and middle eastern foods into Australia. I've discovered two favourite pulse foods, hummus and dahl. They're delicious and so good for you. Here's a Christine Mansfield Hummus recipe that I love making. It takes about 10 minutes once the chickpeas are cooked.
What's in it
100g organic Tahini
4 cloves of garlic
60ml lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
100ml olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chilli oil
How to make it
Soak the chickpeas overnight in cold water & cover. Ensure the bowl is large enough as the peas swell. You can use canned chickpeas which are already cooked. I find chickpeas easy to soak and you don't have to worry about the possible affects of the plastic lined can. Just pop the dried peas into a bowl before you go to bed.
Drain the peas. There's no need to de-hull, and in a saucepan cover with cold water and cook for 30 mins or until soft. Drain and keep a bit of cooking water. Cool a bit.
Blend the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt and cumin. I add more salt and cumin, if necessary, after tasting. The paste can be quite thick, so add cooking water or just water, to soften, then drizzle in olive oil and chilli oil. Make sure you don't overdo the chilli oil. Just keep adding water to get the consistency you prefer. (I find it doesn't need a lot of water.)
Sprinkle with shredded parsley or coriander and serve. It can be stored for up to a week.
It's great to eat with salads; as a dip with carrot, celery or zucchini; on sandwiches, if you're eating bread, instead of butter. As an accompaniment to almost anything. It's so satisfying, filling and nourishing. I eat it every day in some way.
Happy eating and snacking!
Jill Keyte is passionate about health, vitality and making a difference to people who want a natural, quality life where they are well, fit, energised and feel vital. My knowledge comes from my wellness training and and life experience.