Hormones have always been notorious for being tricky and unpredictable. Women of all ages experience the wrath of hormones when something upsets the balance which brings their bodies to a state of outta whack. Consuming foods that increase estrogen can correct and ease symptoms of hormonal imbalance.such as breakouts, weight gain, brain fog, fatigue, anxiety, and low sex drive.
Hormone replacement therapy has made dealing with menopause less bothersome for some women but it can also have unpleasant side effects. Unfortunately, there is no escaping menopause nor is there a back way around to avert its looming onset of symptoms. Thankfully, we can harness the power of phytoestrogens to curb and bring balance to depleting levels of estrogen in a woman’s body at any age.
Estrogen: Friend or Foe?
Estrogen is the female sex hormone that controls and regulates certain functions in the body of both men and women. Men by nature have lower levels of estrogen. When men start growing man breasts, it usually tells of higher levels of estrogen. Women who don’t produce enough estrogen will more than likely experience annoying symptoms with the possibility of early onset of menopause. If a woman has too much estrogen, there are just as many troublesome symptoms. The secret is in the balance.
Low Estrogen: Signs & Symptoms
- Period Absence
- Mood Swings
- Low Libido
- Painful Intercourse
- Dry Eyes
- Dry Skin
- Hot Flashes / Night Sweats
- Lack of Focus
- Fertility issues
- Weight gain
- Frequent bouts with Urinary Tract Infections
High Estrogen: Signs & Symptoms
- Weight gain
- Swollen /Tender breasts
- Fibrocystic Breasts ( lumpy )
- Irregular Periods
- Heavier Menstrual Flow
- Mood swings
- Low Sex drive
- Frequent headaches
- Hair fall
- Cold hands & feet
- Poor memory
Phytoestrogen Rich Foods
What are phytoestrogens? They are natural compounds derived from plants that contain estrogen. These estrogens mimic the kind of estrogen our bodies produce and can be beneficial to a woman when consumed. They act as filters that help balance estrogen levels especially when a woman starts producing less estrogen at certain points in her reproductive age. A significant improvement in hormonal imbalance symptoms can be observed when phytoestrogen-rich foods are included in one’s daily diet.
However, consuming too much estrogen rich foods may also cause other side effects especially if you have a health history predisposed to breast cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis. It is best to have a consult with your OBGYN before embarking on a change of diet to ensure you will reap the benefits rather than cause future harm.
Having too high levels of estrogen or not enough estrogen in your body is not ideal either way. Keeping the balance to ensure your body functions are settled and controlled is the way to go.
Estrogen rich foods can help balance out your levels of estrogen. If your doctor has diagnosed you with low levels of estrogen, you can turn to these foods that increase estrogen as a natural supplemental aid to estrogen deficiency.
Dried fruits: apricots, dates, prunes contain significant amounts of phytoestrogens because the drying process concentrates and packs all parts of the fruit including its nutrients and the sugar content as well. These are healthy snacks you can add to your daily diet for an instant boost of energy as well as dietary fiber.
Flaxseed supplements have been known to alter estrogen metabolism in the body. It contains a good amount of lignans that also help boost a sluggish gut system, lower cholesterol and aid in weight loss due to its high fiber content. You may add ground flaxseed in salads, soups, and smoothies
These tiny seeds are phytoestrogen packed and teeming with sesame lignan. When digested, intestinal bacteria convert it into enterolactone that exhibits lots of estrogenic activities. You can reap its benefits by using sesame seed oil or make your own luscious tahini dressing.
Isoflavones abound in chickpeas. And although they are not actual estrogens, they do a great job of acting like they are. The flavor isn’t something you can find in chickpeas by themselves but they can be made into other delicious food such as hummus and falafels.
High in protein and fiber content, beans are a great food source of phytoestrogens as well. Beans fill you up easily but are digested slowly in your body. They are a great carbohydrate substitute for diabetics and can help lower your cholesterol level. Enjoy them as a side dish as they make a great complement to any main dish.
These green little rounds of wonder bring more to the table for phytoestrogen content. They carry an arsenal of minerals such as magnesium, iron, and potassium as well as protein and fiber. Surprisingly they are also a good source of vitamin C. Cook them as a side dish or add them in casseroles, stews, and soups.
Fermented into its final form, it is derived from soybeans and made to look like meat. Consuming a healthy amount of tempeh can help alleviate menopausal symptoms. It boasts of magnesium and iron as well as it packs a protein punch. Mostly a protein substitute in vegan dishes due to its distinct flavor or texture similar to meat. Just a week’s diet of tempeh can significantly benefit your estrogen levels.
Relatively different but similar to tempeh, this soybean by-product contains isoflavones that happily love to play with estrogen receptors. Also used for a meat substitute, the protein, and iron content of tofu makes it ideal for maintaining a fat-free and cholesterol-free diet.
Veggies do not always appeal to many but they certainly may think twice knowing how much alfalfa sprouts can benefit your overall health and improve hormone levels due to their high content of plant estrogens. Studies have shown that alfalfa extracts when combined with sage leaves, can help minimize to almost eliminate hot flashes and night sweats. Top your salads and sandwiches with these greens and enjoy their benefits.
Phytoestrogens are aplenty in multi-grains such as bran, rye, wheat. Their lignan content has been found to protect women from breast cancer. It is a popular health food as they contain high amounts of fiber