Do you constantly feel tired? Has your appetite changed? Is your menstrual cycle messed up? Are you experiencing menopausal symptoms? Do you have a low sex drive? If so, you may have an estrogen imbalance. When an imbalance occurs, it impacts every system in your body. Estrogen is an essential hormone used throughout the body. Most people know that estrogen is used to regulate menstruation, develop the reproductive system, and maintain reproductive health. In addition to this, estrogen helps maintain essential body processes like cognition, cardiovascular health, and bone health. Whether you want to improve your reproductive health or want to boost your heart health, eating a variety of estrogen rich foods will help.
Understanding Estrogen Levels
Estrogen levels vary from person to person. In addition to this, your estrogen levels wax and wane throughout your menstrual cycle. As you age, fluctuating estrogen levels will occur. When your estrogen does not remain level, you can experience hot flashes, mood swings, and much more.
What Conditions Can Impact Your Estrogen Levels?
In addition to your menstrual cycle, there are a number of things that can alter your estrogen levels, causing them to rise and fall. These conditions include:
- Anorexia nervosa
- Certain medications like steroids and drugs that contain estrogen
- High blood pressure
- Ovarian insufficiency
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Strenuous exercise
- Tumors on the adrenal glands
- Tumors on your ovaries
- Underactive pituitary gland
What Are the Symptoms of an Estrogen Imbalance?
An estrogen imbalance can lead to a number of health problems. When you have an imbalance, you may experience:
- Changes in your menstrual flow (light or heavy periods)
- Dry skin
- Increased menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats
- Low sex drive
- Menstrual issues, including irregular or no periods
- Mood swings
- Noncancerous uterine and breast lumps
- Severe menstrual symptoms
- Sleep issues
- Vaginal atrophy
- Vaginal dryness
- Weight gain, particularly in the waist, hips, and thighs
Estrogen Rich Foods to Incorporate into Your Diet
If are experiencing the symptoms of an estrogen balance, you will want to talk with a women’s health functional doctor. Once it is determined that you do indeed have low estrogen levels, your doctor may recommend a variety of options, including hormone replacement therapy, supplementation, or birth control pills. In addition to this, your doctor may recommend adding foods rich in estrogen to your diet.
1. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are in the Brassicaceae family and include broccoli, Bok choy Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, kohlrabi, turnips, chard, radish, and rutabagas. Cruciferous vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a host of phytochemicals known to reduce inflammation, enhance the body’s ability to heal itself, and promote hormone production.
Did you know that dairy products may help to increase your estrogen levels? Many people are surprised to learn that full fat milk can contain estrogen; however, the amount of estrogen found in the milk depends on where in the lactation cycle. If you are experiencing an estrogen imbalance, regular consumption of full fat milk, particularly organic full fat milk may help balance your hormones.
3. Flax Seed
Flax seeds are estrogen rich foods for menopause. This powerful health food contains lignans which are powerful phytoestrogens. Researchers have discovered that lignans provide anti-cancer and antioxidant protection, which lowers the risk of several cancers including colorectal cancer and breast cancer. In addition to this, flax seed contains omega 3 fatty acids which provide anti-inflammatory properties to help heal the body naturally. As inflammation decreases, the body is better able to produce and balance hormones, including estrogen.
Garlic is an herb that is prized for its flavor as well as its health benefits. Garlic can be enjoyed raw, cooked, baked, roasted, or sauteed. Garlic contains a compound called allicin. Allicin has been shown to provide anti-inflammatory relief and reduce the risk of heart disease and blood pressure. Furthermore, garlic has been shown to boost the immune system, reduce the risk of cancer, provide antibiotic and antioxidant protection, and improve your blood. Garlic also helps detoxify the body. When the body is detoxified, it can better create and release hormones, including estrogen.
Researchers around the world have studied various legumes and the benefits that they offer. Legumes contain phytoestrogens, fiber, and a host of nutrients that are used by the body to optimize health, reduce inflammation, and increase the number of hormones produced in the body. Here are the legumes that have the highest amount of estrogen in them:
- Lima bean
- Kidney beans
- Mung beans
- Pinto beans
- Black eyed peas
6. Nuts and Seeds
Some of the best foods with estrogen include nuts and seeds. Studies have shown that certain nuts and seeds have higher amounts of phytoestrogen than others. Eating the following nuts and seeds may help rebalance your hormones and promote women’s health.
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
7. Red Wine
Studies have shown moderate consumption of red wine (no more than 5 ounces per day for women) offers a number of health benefits. When red wine is consumed, the risk of several diseases is lowered. Red wine is created by crushing dark, whole grapes and then allowing the juice to ferment.
The grape skin contains powerful plant compounds, antioxidants, and phytoestrogens that reduce oxidative damage in the body. These phytoestrogens reduce inflammation which can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer. The anti-inflammatory properties of red wine can also help improve and balance your hormones.
Pro-Tip: If you do not like red wine, you can reap the benefits of phytochemicals and phytoestrogen rich foods by enjoying cranberries, blueberries, and red grapes.
Soybeans contain isoflavones that are beneficial to those who have low estrogen levels. These isoflavones are phytoestrogens that mimic the effects of estrogen. Soy also contains a plethora of vitamins and minerals that support good health.
Incorporating soy products like tofu, edamame, tempeh, and soy milk into your diet may help relieve your menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. Additionally, the phytoestrogens in soy have been shown to lower the risk of breast cancer. When soy is used in place of red meat and processed meats, it can improve your heart health and lower your risk of developing heart disease.
If your hormones are imbalanced, you will experience a plethora of symptoms, including hot flashes, night sweats, menstrual dysregulation, mood swings, and fertility issues. Our functional medicine clinicians understand the importance of nourishing the body to promote hormone regulation. A diet that includes a variety of foods with estrogen boosting compounds. In addition to eating estrogen rich foods, you can boost your estrogen levels with daily exercise, getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep, and detoxifying the body with natural ingredients.