Estrogen foods are natural non-steroidal sources of Estrogen in the form of Phytoestrogens. Estrogen is a hormone that participates in reproductive system and other vital body systems as the neuroendocrine, vascular, skeletal, and immune system for men and women.
Estrogen imbalance can give rise to multiple health problems and unwanted bodily changes such as Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular problems, Obesity, and Menopausal symptoms. Females, in particular, undergo hormonal changes related to the decline in Estrogen production during perimenopause.
Hence, it is really important to keep your Estrogen levels in check through natural dietary sources as Estrogen foods. Women should include Estrogen foods in their diet on regular basis at any age group but more importantly starting from late 30s to keep their health in check during transition phases such as pregnancy, post pregnancy, and during menopause.
In this post, will learn about the importance of Estrogen and which Estrogen foods to go for a balanced diet.
What is Estrogen and Why do we need it?
Estrogen is a hormone that guides the functioning of multiple body organs and body systems. It is naturally produced in a woman’s body during the regular menstrual cycle. It can also be obtained via food products. Estrogen levels decline in female bodies during the natural aging process.
In modern times, we are often at risk of exposure to high Estrogen levels due to environmental pollutants, hormone fed meat and dairy, and from water sources, where it enters through the cycle of oral contraceptives.
Here are some of the functions of Estrogen for health of human body:
- Controls the functions of the nervous system, maintains body temperature, and improves the effects of endorphins (feel-good chemicals).
- It maintains the strength of bones and prevents bone loss.
- It improves skin quality and prevents aging (collagen levels).
- Controls the production of cholesterol in the liver.
- Controls hair growth and prevents hair loss/thinning.
- The influence of Estrogen causes the structural differences between the male and female bodies, for example, the pelvis in females is wider and they have more permanent hair on the head.
- Estrogen receptors have been found all over the cardiovascular system. A typical estrogen effect is a relaxation in arterial tone and a decrease in resistance.
Estrogen for Women Health
Estrogen helps to improve the development and upholding of the female characteristics in the human body.
- In females, Estrogen hormone is produced by ovaries. Post-Menarche, the ovaries release Estrogen in every menstrual cycle. It helps in the regulation of the menstrual cycle and reproductive system.
- Estrogen acts as a chemical messenger that instructs specific tissues to act and grow accordingly in both males and females.
- Along with Progesterone, Estrogen is one of the most significant hormones for the health of women.
- It enhances vaginal acidity and reduces the risk of bacterial infections.
- It enhances the process of development and growth of female secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts, pubic and armpit hair.
- Estrogen gives rise to a proper environment for the fertilization and implantation of the embryo. It also ensures required nutrition is provided to an early embryo.
Why do we need Estrogen Foods?
Estrogen foods are required to maintain the hormonal balance and keep your health in check. If your hormones are in a state of imbalance, it can have an effect on your mood, sleep, and ability to conceive, and you will be more prone to hormone-related medical conditions.
Some of the health risks include infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, early-onset menopause, hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth), and cancer.
Estrogen Foods – What are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) occur naturally in plants. They closely resemble the chemical structure of Estrogen produced by the human body. Phytoestrogens perform the same work of binding the same receptors that our own estrogen does.
Phytoestrogens can help maintain Estrogen levels in the human body as they can block bad estrogen receptors and also elevate good estrogen levels.
We can get these phytoestrogens from more than 300 foods, and they belong to three different chemical classes as below.
|Estrogen Variant||Food Types|
|Isoflavones||Primarily found in soybeans and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and miso paste.|
|Lignans||A constituent of dietary fiber. Main sources include nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fruits & vegetables.|
|Coumestans||Majorly found in sprouted beans such as alfalfa & clover sprouts, split peas, pinto beans, and lima beans.|
Best Estrogen Foods via food category
Taking into consideration the requirement and vital role of Estrogen for functioning of human body, we must include the Estrogen Foods in our diet on a regular basis.
Flax seeds, also known as linseed, are one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens in the form of Lignans. Flax seeds help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body as they contain dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax has been used to reduce inflammation and as a demulcent.
After flax seeds, sesame seeds are also a good source of lignan phytoestrogens and one of the densest sources of Calcium. Sesame and help to balance estrogen levels in a woman’s body and also help to prevent Osteoporosis that may result due to low bone density. Sesame Seeds also provide dietary fiber and several vitamins and minerals to the body.
Pumpkin Seeds are a great source of lignan phytoestrogens, going as high as 560 micrograms per 100g of the seeds. Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that prevent aging-related disorders and also nourish the body.
2. Soy products
Soy or soybean is one of the highest levels of protein and oil-containing legumes. As per ancient Chinese herbals, it is good for the functioning of the heart, kidneys, liver and, stomach.
The isoflavones of soy products increase the estrogen levels in women. You can take soy, soy milk, or soy yogurt. You can drink soy milk turn or can make soy yogurt, and eat along with meals. Soy milk and yogurt contain almost 500 times more phytoestrogens than their milk-based counterparts.
Fruits are not the best sources of Estrogen, however strawberries and peaches are rich in phytoestrogens. Peaches can lessen the risk of cancer, stroke, and other associated heart diseases.
Strawberries can lower the risk of obesity and promote healthy skin and hair. You can take these fruits raw or even blend into a dessert. Other phytoestrogen fruits are bananas and berries.
Nuts are the most satisfying healthy snacks as they are rich sources of many nutrients. You can take them both in raw and roasted form. Brazil Nuts, Pistachios, walnuts, peanuts are an excellent source of phytoestrogens.
Roasting increases the bioavailability of the phytoestrogens presents in nuts. However, grinding reduces it as compared to raw nuts.
A handful of nuts provide enough phytoestrogens and isoflavones, as needed for your body. You can add nuts to salads, snacks, desserts, etc. Nuts are not only delicious but also healthy and give extra crunch to your dishes.
However, nuts are heavy to digest, hence moderation is the key. They can also be soaked in water for a couple of hours to enhance their digestibility and hence health benefits.
5. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits are one of the best sources of phytoestrogens and dietary fiber. During drying, these fruits accumulate higher amounts of phytoestrogens, vitamins, and minerals.
You can take them anytime in a day. You can take a handful of dry fruits with a bowl of milk in the breakfast, a few during lunch to enhance your estrogen and energy levels.
Dried apricots, dates, and dried prunes are some of the best dry fruits to take regularly to improve estrogen levels in the body.
- Green Beans
Though these are very low in carbohydrates and calories, they are excellent choices of increasing estrogen levels via Lignans. Except for Yam, above vegetables can be taken raw or in cooked form.
Legumes, such as chickpeas (garbanzo beans) red beans, green peas and split peas provide estrogens and black beans are rich in phytoestrogens.
White beans are very healthy containing phytoestrogens, fiber, and nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium. This facilitates the balance of estrogen levels in the body. You can add boiled white beans to your salads and in different dishes.
Sprouts as Alfalfa Sprouts, Clover Sprouts, and Mung Bean Sprouts. You can add Alfalfa Sprouts, and Mung Bean Sprouts to salads and soups.
Black bean sprouts help in hair growth, colds, headaches, hemorrhaging in abortion, threatened abortion, difficult labor, irritability and fever.
Black beans help to improve fertility in women because they are good a source of phytoestrogens. They also supply enough protein, antioxidants, fiber, several vitamins, and minerals.
Black beans are related to medicine and have been used for strength and vigor. It is also used in mixtures for post-partum recovery and for sexual disorders.
Coffee and Green Tea contain an average of 12 micrograms per 100 g of both lignans types of Phytoestrogens.
Red wine is rich in Resveratrol type phytoestrogen which increases the functioning of the female hormones. Red wine in moderation (limited to 15 – 20 ml on daily basis) may help increase Estrogen levels in the body and also lessen the threat of cardiovascular diseases.
Herbs such as Parsley, Dill, Fennel, aniseed, Sage, and Red Clover significantly boost the phytoestrogen content of a meal. They can be added to the meal preparations directly or boiled in water, to be consumed as a tea along with the meal.
Garlic contains the Isoflavones types of Phytoestrogen. It provides multiple health benefits, for example, it helps reduce cholesterol, and prevents cancer and heart diseases. Garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Garlic can be added to the soups, salads, sautés, stir-fries, pasta, and stews for flavour and health benefits.
The licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) plant is a perennial, having ‘sweet root’. The sweet yellow wood of the licorice root is a reverred medicinal herb in Ayurveda, in Chinese traditional system, and in the native European medicinal systems for its health benefits and detoxification effects. Medicinally it has been used as a demulcent and expectorant and has been shown to have antioxidant and antimicrobial activity
Grains, such as Oats, Barley, Wheat, and Rye contain a phytoestrogen known as Lignan. Regular intake of a variety of grains in their whole form can increase estrogen in your body.