How To Get Oestrogen From Your Diet
Symptoms of low oestrogen? Adding these to your diet can help.
Oestrogen is an important naturally-occurring hormone and is balanced in the body by progesterone.
Excess oestrogen, oestrogen dominance, can affect many women at menopause but key is to have both hormones working together.
Some women do need a little extra oestrogen and cannot use the hormone itself and so a diet with plenty of phytoestrogens can help with hormonal symptoms.
Phytoestrogens are a form of dietary oestrogen from food. Research studies indicate they can mimic or enhance the natural hormone’s effect.
Why do I need oestrogen?
Its main function is to control reproductive changes but it serves other roles including brain function, mood regulation and breaking down old bone as part of the renewal process.
Studies show phytonutrients may help manage cholesterol. Maintaining good cholesterol levels keeps your arteries free from fatty build-up and helps in reducing the risk of heart problems and stroke.
Oestrogen levels can change for many reasons and phytoestrogens in foods may help support health, particularly at menopause.
Studies show that they can help relieve some symptoms, like the frequency of hot flushes, and vaginal dryness.
Foods high in phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are found in a wide variety of plant foods and to boost your intake, try incorporating some of these into your diet.
1. Flax seeds are small, golden or brown-coloured seeds that are incredibly rich in lignans, a group of chemical compounds that functions as phytoestrogens.
They contain up to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods and studies have shown that they may play an important role in decreasing the risk of breast cancer, especially in postmenopausal women.
2. Soybeans and edamame are found in many plant-based products, such as tofu and tempeh and are also rich in phytoestrogens known as isoflavones which can produce oestrogen-like activity in the body by mimicking the effects of natural oestrogen.
They may increase or decrease blood oestrogen levels and one study found that women who took a soy protein supplement for 12 weeks experienced moderate decreases in blood oestrogen levels compared with a control group.
3. Dried fruit are nutrient-rich, and a potent source of various phytoestrogens with roughly two to three times the amount of fibre than their fresh equivalent. Greater fruit fibre intake is important to support digestive function and to help slow down the rate of digestion and absorption and is also associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dates, prunes, and dried apricots are the food sources highest in phytoestrogens and fibre, so a healthy snack in moderation as one piece of dried fruit contains about the same amount of nutrients as the fresh fruit, but condensed in a much smaller package.
By weight, dried fruit contains up to 3.5 times the fibre, vitamins and minerals of fresh fruit but it contains less water, so the calorie content is much higher than fresh fruit – it’s worth keeping an eye on portion sizes if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.
Caution: because dried fruit is naturally high in potassium and sugar, it is less suitable for those with kidney disease.
4. Sesame seeds are full of fibre and quite rich in phytoestrogens, among other important nutrients.
One study found that the consumption of sesame seed powder may affect oestrogen levels in postmenopausal women. The women in this study consumed 50 grams of sesame seed powder daily for 5 weeks. This not only increased oestrogen activity but also improved blood cholesterol.
5. Garlic is widely recognised for its ability to fight bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites. Allicin, an active component of freshly crushed garlic, had antiviral properties and was also effective against a broad range of bacteria, and could influence blood oestrogen levels.
Health benefits include improved blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reduced risk of heart disease.
6. Peaches are not just delicious, but an important part of a heart healthy diet. They contain both soluble and insoluble fibre which improves digestion and elimination – an important factor for healthy skin.
They are also linked to decreased inflammation, a stronger immune system and healthy eyes and smooth skin.
An analysis of studies suggests that lignan-rich diets may decrease the risk of breast cancer by 15% in postmenopausal women.
This is possibly related to lignans’ effects on oestrogen production and blood levels, as well as their expression the body.
7. Berries are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre, and beneficial plant compounds, including phytoestrogens.
Particularly rich sources of phytoestrogens are strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
8. Wheat bran is another concentrated source of phytoestrogens, particularly lignans.
Some research shows that high-fibre wheat bran reduced serum oestrogen levels in women.
9. Tofu is made from soy milk and a good source of plant-based protein, especially in vegan and vegetarian diets.
It’s also a concentrated source of phytoestrogens, largely isoflavones, and has the highest isoflavone content of all soy products.
10. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are all rich in phytoestrogens.
Cauliflower and broccoli are rich in secoisolariciresinol, a type of lignan phytoestrogen, and Brussel sprouts and cabbage are rich in coumestrol, another type of phytonutrient that has been shown to exhibit oestrogen activity.
11. Tempeh is a fermented soy product and a vegetarian meat replacement.
It is not only an excellent source of protein, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals but also a rich source of phytoestrogens, especially isoflavones.
Women need progesterone and oestrogen to be in balance throughout their lives so if you feel your symptoms may need the help of some natural phytoestrogens, then these suggestions will be helpful.
If you’re not sure, then this article will give you more information.