There's no doubt that fruit is a healthy part of any balanced diet, but according to Amy Shah, MD, it's also a food group that consistently messes with her clients' hormones. In a somewhat controversial article in MindBodyGreen, the prominent functional medicine doctor says it might be time to rethink your fruit-filled morning smoothie.
"I know it's a controversial statement. Fruit is all natural, and filled with phytonutrients and antioxidants—I get it," she says, but "a food that's healthy for one person might not be healthy for another—for this reason, I try to really stay away from universally declaring one food a villain and one food a hero in my practice."
According to Shah, high-sugar fruit causes an insulin spike, which in turn affects cortisol and estrogen levels. "Our bodies respond to fruit quickly—especially when it's a form of a juice, for example. When insulin spikes, the body starts to rapidly absorb the sugars and store them for later. But with a lot of spikes and doing this chronically, it leads to insulin resistance and increases cortisol and estrogen levels," she explains.
That doesn't mean you should stop eating fruit, though. Many experts agree that it's a crucial part of a balanced diet, but if you are concerned, she recommends changing the type of fruit you reach for. "I advise those trying to balance their hormones to stick to berries and possibly one other serving of fruit," she says. "For example, when you create your morning smoothie, go heavy on the greens and add a little fruit just to cut the taste."
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