Hormone-loving pea dip

Hormone-loving pea dip

This dish represents one of the major principles of nutritional therapy. The idea that all organs and processes in the body are interconnected. What affects one will affect another, and so on. To maintain happy hormones, we need to look after our liver and detoxification system. Crucial to that is making sure our tummies are working happily too.

Our digestive systems love fibre, and bacteria. Conveniently, this gut-loving pea dip contains both. Peas are packed with soluble fibre. This kind of fibre helps digestion by stimulating movement in our intestines. Also, it gives the cells of our gut lining a particular food called n-butyrate, which can only be made by our gut bacteria.

The bacteria in the yogurt top up the resident bacteria in our large intestines - especially needed if there has been a recent digestive upset. These mysterious creatures carry out a myriad of important jobs, from stimulating our immune system to making vitamins and digesting our food. So this dip supports our gut bacteria in two ways: by topping them up and by fuelling them with the fibre they thrive on. And if our gut bacteria are content, so is our digestive system. Tummies: check.

Harriet’s Tip: for an even better boost to your bacteria, use kefir instead of yogurt, which is available from health food shops and many supermarkets and is teeming with much more bacteria than yogurt.

Fibre, together with the garlic, supports the detoxification of our hormones. The liver breaks down hormones that are no longer needed. These broken-down hormones, which can be quite toxic, are removed from our body via our bowels. However, if oestrogens and their mischievous relations are not eliminated properly they can build up and get reabsorbed. This is a situation we’d prefer you avoid. However, stimulating movement in the bowels from the fibre will help protect against this happening. Meanwhile, garlic is rich in sulphur, a compound needed by the liver to carry out its complex process of detoxification. Liver: check.

Lastly, fibre helps prevent any disruption of blood sugar and insulin by slowing down how fast we digest food. This is a good thing because high blood sugar and insulin can interfere with how our hormones work.

As well as being deliciously moreish, an added bonus of this recipe is how easy it is to make. It can be ready in 10 minutes, using ingredients that can largely be pulled from the freezer, cupboard and garden. That makes it stress-free, another essential factor to ensuring our hormones are working happily. Hormones: check.

What you need

  • 300g frozen peas or petit pois
  • 1 clove garlic
  • A large handful of dill leaves, about 15g
  • A large handful of fresh mint leaves, about 10g
  • 2 generous dessert spoons yogurt – from a coconut, cow, goat or sheep
  • Juice of 1 lemon, about 4 tablespoons
  • A generous pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • A couple of tablespoons of good quality extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Salt and pepper

To serve

Sliced vegetables, such as asparagus and radishes

Method

Fill a kettle with water and put the peas or petit pois in a colander. Once boiled, slowly pour the water over the peas, then tip them into a blender.

Peel and roughly chop the garlic, followed by the herbs, then add them to the peas along with the yogurt, lemon juice, chilli flakes and olive oil. Season.

Blend for a minute until the mixture is smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning or lemon if necessary. Pour into a bowl and enjoy with sliced vegetables.

Harriet Bindloss has always loved cooking and feeding family and friends. She trained at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, worked as a private cook, then went on to produce the food pages at House & Garden magazine for five years. Now she uses her experiences and passion for nutrition to feed her most difficult critics, her two young children.

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