It is commonly known that as women progress in age, there is transition into menopause. This transition is linked to the decrease of a particular hormone responsible for women gender characteristics, estrogen.
It is a vital hormone in the female body that contributes in regulating the menstrual cycle, the breast growth and so on.
Meaning that any lack of estrogen levels in the female body can lead to multiple complications.
Hereafter, you will find the listing of the best foods high in estrogen that will promote your overall health.
Moreover, this list can be also helpful for those, which contrary, have excess in estrogen level, to avoid eating them.
Besides, some studies have shown that estrogen deficiency can be one cause often ignored of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) that increases the risk of heart attack.
The known is that the excessive use of tobacco, eating too much processed foods, having a sedentary lifestyle beget the buildup of many substances, among them cholesterol, along arterial walls. This accumulation forms a plaque that narrows over time arteries and can even block the blood flow.
What is not widespread and known is that, first, estrogen helps in reducing bad cholesterol level and increasing that of the good one.
Second, estrogen deficiency can lead then to coronary artery disease that raises risk of heart attack.
Therefore, it is important to take seriously your estrogen level into account. In case of deficiency, some issues may need a hormonal therapy. Yet, in this article, we are opting for a healthy option, for diet rich in natural estrogen.
What is Estrogen and What Makes it So Important?
Estrogen is a hormone called commonly primary female sex hormone, as it is responsible for regulating and developing the female reproductive system and the so-called female secondary sex characteristics.
It is mainly in women and responsible for female puberty. Yet, it is also present in much less levels in men.
The term estrogen refers to a group of chemically similar hormones that are Estrone, Estradiol and Estriol.
For women, this hormone is produced mainly in the ovaries and can be produced by adrenal gland and fat cells. For men, very small amounts of estrogen are generated via an enzymatic process.
Estrogen gives females their feminine characteristics like the menstrual cycle and thus, make women behave as women.
In fact, during menstruation and between cycles, the ovaries release Estrogen leading to a rise of estrogen level that is followed-up alternately during a month by a gradual decrease in its levels.
Apart from regulating the menstrual cycle, this vital hormone is indispensable for the secondary sex characteristics development like the breast size, wider hips, etc.
Besides, estrogen has many other roles and functions in the body such as regulating the urinary tract, the reproductive tract, maintaining the vaginal wall strength, promoting the cardiovascular system, skin and hair health, blood clotting, bone formation working with vitamin D and other hormones, regulating insulin sensitivity, body weight loss and so on.
Meaning that estrogen is crucial for pregnancy, female growth and development and thus life would not exist without this vital hormone.
Yet, as a word of caution, estrogen level should not exceed an upper level. Despite been crucial for the reproductive system, too much estrogen can be dangerous.
How to Ensure That Your Body Maintain Healthy Estrogen Levels?
In order to maintain healthy estrogen levels in your body and thus, ensure that you are getting your needs in that hormone, there are three points to adopt:
First, Change your lifestyle habits and try healthy ones. Meaning you try to control stress as it causes imbalance in the estrogen level, you exercise daily for about 30min, you quit bad habits like smoking that is been proven to beget, for women, menstrual dysfunction and even an early onset of menaupose.
Don’t’ also underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep between 7 and 8 hours, as it is beneficial for the overall health, notably for menopause, menstrual cycle and even pregnancy.
Second, Low estrogen levels have many symptoms. Being aware of them can help you take action early with the appropriate medical treatment.
These symptoms include trouble sleeping and fatigue, feeling depressed, mood swings, trouble focusing and memory lapses, frequent headaches, hot flashes and night sweats, irregular or absent periods, breast tenderness, lack of vaginal lubrication, dry eyes and skin, increased urinary tract infections, increased bones fragility and others.
In case of low-level symptoms, it is recommended to visit your healthcare professional to do a physical examination and check your health situation. He will determine if further laboratory tests are necessary to assess your hormones levels.
The results can give a confirmation that will help you and your doctor choose the right treatments using a therapy or merely via a high estrogen diet.
Third, make sure that you consume the right foods. In fact, including foods high in estrogen in your diet will give the woman’s body a chance to produce estrogen naturally. In this article, you will find the best ones.
Try also to reduce your sugar intake as too much of it causes imbalance in estrogen and testosterone levels. Besides, prefer foods with whole grains to those containing refined white flour.
Therefore, these steps will help you be aware of your estrogen levels, which is very important.
However, what are the normal levels following women age?
What are the Ideal Levels of Estrogen in Women?
This table shows the general levels of estrogen that should be found in woman per decade age.
Shared by Dr. Geeta Buryok, Chief Nutritionist at Max HealthCare
We note that it is also important to take in conjunction with your estrogen daily intake, calcium and vitamin D, especially for aging women, in order to maintain bones strength and density.
So, what are the foods that we should take to increase our estrogen levels?
In Which Form Estrogen is Found in Foods?
Before listing the called “foods high in estrogen”, let us, first, explain a point that may lead to confusion.
If estrogen is a hormone produced inside the body, especially in the endocrine system of women, how it comes that it can be in food?
The answer is that foods contain phytoestrogens and not estrogen, which are natural compounds found in plants and plant-based foods.
These compounds have a chemical structure similar to that of estrogen, which makes the body’s estrogen receptors treat them as estrogen, but not at a 100%.
So, eating phytoestrogens, called also dietary estrogen, is very beneficial for women having deficiency or approaching menopause, in order to rebalance their estrogen levels.
These phytoestrogens are in three main classes: isoflavones, lignans, and coumestans.
In fact, in one single food, we can find more than one class of phytoestrogens.
Which Foods High in Estrogen?
Hereafter, there is a list of the best foods high in estrogen to include in your diet if you have symptoms of estrogen deficiency or if you have been told by your doctor that your estrogen levels are low. This list is also useful to avoid eating the foods presented below if your body contains too much estrogen.
Flaxseeds are a great source of many nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, copper, vitamin B1 and others. They are known to be a superfood mainly due to omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and lignans content.
Indeed, flaxseeds are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids if you do not eat so much fish or you opt for a vegetarian diet.
Besides, they are the richest source of lignans. They contain between 75 to 800 times more lignans than cereals, legumes, fruits and all the other foods.
2. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are a great source of phytoestrogens. Studies show that eating sesame seeds on a regular basis helps increase estrogen activity notably for women in postmenopausal state.
3. Soy Beans, Soy Milk, Soy Yogurt, Tofu
Besides being a nutrient-dense food of proteins, soy is a good source of isoflavones. Researches show that these soy isoflavones affect estrogen metabolism especially in premonauposal women.
Theses mouthwatering fruits are very rich in phytoestrogens. They are also packed with antioxidants like vitamin A and C and many other nutrients, and are known for their benefits on heart health, skin and on preventing certain cancers.
Strawberries are among the best-loved fruits worldwide with almost no fat. Not only very delicious, they are also rich in phytoestrogens, packed with antioxidants (vitamin C), fiber and many other nutrients.
In fact, their heart-shaped form make them beneficial for heart health, increasing good cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
6. Alfalfa Sprouts
These sprouts are a great source to ameliorate estrogen levels. They are very low in calories and are a good source of vitamin K known to improve calcium absorption and help build strong bones.
7. Mung Bean Sprouts
In addition to being a great source of phytoestrogens, mung bean sprouts can help the body cope with the excess of stress and that by allowing to the adrenal glands to regulate adrenalin and cortisol levels.
8. White Beans
White beans are high in lignans phytoestrogens. They are also a good source of folate, vitamin B1, magnesium, iron, potassium and zinc.
9. Black Beans
Black beans are packed with phytoestrogens. They are generally valued as an inexpensive source of proteins. They contain also many other compounds like fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and folate.
10. Green Beans
Not only they are a low calorie food, but also they provide many nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, dietary fiber, folate and are a good source of phytonutrients.
Pistachios are very enjoyed worldwide, raw or roasted. Among all nuts, they contain the highest phytoestrogen’s amount. For more benefit, they can be mixed with other nuts.
Walnuts are also an excellent source of phytoestrogens. They contain more omega-3 fatty acids than any other type of nuts and have a high antioxidant activity. Their brain-shaped form makes them ideal for memory and brain functioning.
Eating peanuts can also help people increase their estrogen levels due to their phytoestrogen content. They are low in carbohydrates and rich in nutrients like phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and B-vitamins.
14. Dried Apricots, Dates, Dried Prunes
They are healthy foods rich in phytoestrogens and fiber. Besides, the process of drying these fruits contributes to the increase of the amount of nutrients and phytoestrogens.
Garlic is a low calorie food but is highly nutritious. It is a good source of isoflavones and is known for its medicinal properties notably combatting sickness, reducing blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart diseases.
16. Multigrain Bread
This type includes grains like rye, oats, wheat and barley. Low in fat and high in carbohydrates, protein, fiber and nutrients, multigrain bread is also a good source of lignans phytoestrogens.
Word of Caution
As a word of caution, we add that, in spite of being crucial for women’s overall health, too much estrogen causes an imbalance in all the body’s hormones. This can lead to many other issues like weight gain, male infertility (for men) and even certain cancers.
Besides, it is important to mention that our bodies are exposed from the exterior environment to chemicals called Xenoestrogens found in processed foods, bottled water and others.
These components mimic the estrogen hormone produced by the body as they have a similar chemical structure and then, increase our body’s estrogen level. Making it, thus, outside the normal.
So, make sure that your estrogen level is in the appropriate range.
1 – What reasons are behind low estrogen levels?
Women may have low estrogen level due to many factors like excessive exercise, chronic kidney disease, eating disorders, issues with the pituitary gland, extreme dieting and aging can also be a factor as estrogen production in ovaries decreases as women approaches menopause.
2 – Do men have estrogen?
Yes, men also have estrogen in their bodies. Yet, the amount in comparison with woman is very small.
3 – What are Estrogen deficiency symptoms?
There are some common symptoms of estrogen deficiency that include: mood swings, breast tenderness, depression, headaches, absent or irregular periods, decreased bone density, lack of vginal lubrication and so on.
4 – How to treat low estrogen levels?
Women having low estrogen level, besides choosing in their daily basis diet foods high in estrogen should take estrogen therapy (especially for women between 25 and 50) or a hormonal replacement therapy HRT (especially for women approaching menopause).