Oestrogen dominance, excess oestrogen that is not balanced in your body by progesterone, is behind much weight gain and bloating as well being linked to conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, heart disease and certain cancers.
A diet that helps redress this can only be good for your health, and your hormones.
Starting to eat to beat oestrogen dominance
When starting on any new diet it is a good idea to have a clear out of your cupboards of unhealthy foods, but also to clear out your body as well. Start with a detox and you will be be more successful – this is not about starving yourself but eating the foods that will most help you trigger detoxification and cleanse your body of harmful toxins.
Put these in your shopping basket before starting your detox: broccoli, spinach, whole grains, organic eggs, salmon, mackerel, beans, cheese etc. These food items trigger the detoxification process and will cleanse your body ready for a new start.
After a week of including those items now add in the ones that can cut the formation of oestrogen hormones in your body. These foods are nuts, avocados, olive oil as you need healthy fats to maintain balance in your body by providing nourishment to your hormones.
Finally you can now add in the ‘restricted’ items from the items listed below such as meat, pasta and bread
The five Dietary items that encourage oestrogen dominance
1 Let’s start with your fluid intake, as bloating is a key sign of oestrogen dominance. Water and herb tea are both good, but if you are serious about tackling oestrogen dominance then most drinks are best limited as tea, coffee, soft drinks, energy drinks can all cause inflammation to your body.
2 Fat is is not in itself bad, you need a certain amount for many functions including nerve health and the absorption of vitamins, but too many fats from non-organic meats and polyunsaturated fats such as margarine can increase the oestrogen in your body. Limit them as much as you can.
3 Dairy products are best limited as they can cause inflammation and vascular constriction so use sparingly.
4 White carbohydrates cover refined flour and white rice and pasta. Wholemeal varieties are best as these staples are linked to oestrogen increase and have little nutritional value.
5 Sugar is not helpful on many levels as it leads to weight increase and this is where excess oestrogen is stored, in your fat cells. Again reduce as much as you can and eliminate where possible.
What is it best to eat?
It isn’t rocket science, and you already know most of it – unfortunately it is the day to day practice that can cause problems! We all have ‘favourite foods’ and obviously a varied diet is best. Don’t try to be perfect and achieve this diet all at once, but gradually work you way in and you will reap the benefits by regularly including these items:
Vegetables – particularly carrots, beetroot, cabbage, alfalfa, broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, bok choy, asparagus, spinach, artichokes. It doesn’t matter whether you eat them raw, cooked, in salads or soups just make sure you eat them.
Nuts and Seeds – Brazils, cashews, almonds, pistachios, hazelnuts, walnuts and sesame, pumpkin, sunflower and flaxseeds.
Whole grains – wholemeal bread and rice plus buckwheat, oats, quinoa, millet.
Beans – adzuki, black, soybeans, fava, mung, kidney and lima beans and chickpeas.
Foods that help fight excess oestrogen
There are many great foods that help the body detoxify oestrogen and top of the list are the cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts and cabbage as they enhance liver detoxification processes. Don’t forget that onions, garlic and spring onions are rich in sulfur containing amino acids and the powerful anti-oxidant quercetin that both help the liver detoxify and reduce the production of oestrogen.
Anti-inflammatory diets are very helpful when trying to lose weight and deal with oestrogen dominance. This means including foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as organic beef, chicken and dairy products, wild salmon and wild game.
Valuable fats are the plant based ones including avocados, coconut oil and olive oil and raw nuts and seeds such as almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia and hemp seeds.
Acids from lemons and cider vinegar help gut health and assist the body to remove unwanted oestrogen. Use these on salad, fish and vegetables to increase your detox and help eliminate more excess oestrogen.
Adding in herbs doesn’t just improve the flavour, they are valuable in their own right. Herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric contain volatile oils that promote liver detoxification. Turmeric in particular can help destroy oestrogen receptor positive cancer cells which are the most commonly found cells in breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.