Estrogen is a naturally occurring sex hormone that supports women’s overall health. Research shows that it is good for bone health, mood regulation, and cancer risk. One can also intake some estrogen rich foods to foster hormone production in the body.
Why Do You Need Estrogen?
Controlling reproductive changes is the primary function of the estrogen hormone. It plays several other roles in women’s health, such as:
1. Menopausal Relief in Women
Estrogen level in women starts decreasing with age, which causes menopause. Menopause is a medical term used for the natural decline in estrogen production in women through age.
According to studies, menopause may cause physical symptoms like the frequency of hot flashes and vaginal dryness. These can be relieved with an accurate amount of estrogen in the body. Women often opt for HRT for the same.
2. May Reduce Risk of Cancer
Higher the estrogen and phytoestrogen levels, lower the rates of breast cancer. Phytoestrogens have also been shown to kill prostate cancer cells; an effect scientists are studying for cancer prevention or management.
Currently, scientists are studying characteristics of estrogen rich foods that are useful in cancer prevention and management.
3. Support Heart and Blood Vessels
As per studies, estrogen helps manage healthy cholesterol levels in the body. Maintaining cholesterol levels keeps the heart healthy and reduces the chances of heart disease. The presence of estrogens helps keep arteries free from fatty build-up, which is essential to reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes.
How Do Estrogens Affect The Female Body
Usually, a woman’s ovaries create more estrogen hormones than adrenal glands and fat cells. Besides regulating the menstrual cycle, estrogen affects the reproductive tract, urinary tract, bones, breasts, skin, hair, heart, blood vessels, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.
Moreover, estrogens have secondary sexual characteristics, such as pubic and armpit hair, which also start growing with rising estrogen levels in the body. Many organ systems, including the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, are affected by estrogen creation.
What Are Some Estrogen Rich Foods?
Consumption of estrogen rich fruits can be highly beneficial for women’s bodies. Several types of foods high in estrogen have various potential health benefits. Here is an estrogen rich foods list with benefits of the consumption:
1. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds, golden or brown coloured seeds, are generally tiny in size. They recently got traction due to their health benefits. They are highly rich in lignans, chemical compounds that work like estrogen. It is even said that flax seeds contain more than 800 times more lignans than any other plant food. As per studies, eating flax seeds has been associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
Soybeans are highly rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins needed for the human body and have several other health benefits. They are also rich in phytoestrogens which are known as isoflavones. Soy isoflavones may affect blood estrogen levels in the body, helping in protecting against certain types of breast cancers.
Edamame beans are a great source of estrogen in the human body. They are usually green in colour and are also considered immature soybeans, often sold frozen and unshelled in their inedible pods. They are highly rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.
4. Dried Fruits
They are regarded as a potent source of various phytoestrogens, a type of estrogen.
Several dried fruits are rich in nutrients, offer a great taste, and are easy to enjoy as a no-fuss snack. Some dried fruits you can try are apricot, dried dates, dried figs, and raisins.
5. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are tiny, fibre-packed food commonly associated with several Asian dishes. They add a delicate nutty, and crunchy flavour to the food. They are also highly rich in phytoestrogen along with other crucial nutrients. As per a study, it was found that the consumption of powdered sesame seeds affects estrogen levels in postmenopausal women.
Garlic is a popular ingredient for intense flavour and aroma. It has various culinary attributes but also has health benefits. Garlic is highly rich in phytoestrogen that may help reduce bone loss related to estrogen deficiency in the body.
Peaches are sweet fruit with yellowish-white flesh and fuzzy skin. They are highly rich in vitamins, minerals, and a great source of phytoestrogen known as lignans. According to studies, consumption of lignan-rich foods helps decrease the risk of breast cancer by 15% in postmenopausal women. It also helps in managing blood levels.
Berries are one of the loved estrogen-rich foods for PCOS. Whether they are strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries, berries are all overloaded with vital vitamins, minerals, fibres, and other beneficial compounds. They are of high health benefits that include the creation of phytoestrogens in the body.
9. Wheat Bran
Wheat bran is also a concentrated source of phytoestrogen, mainly lignans. High fibre wheat bran reduces serum estrogen levels in women. However, more research is needed in this regard.
Tofu is a by-product of soy milk. It is made up of coagulated soy milk pressed into firm white blocks. It is considered the best source of plant-based protein in the diets of vegans and vegetarians and a great source of isoflavones. Isoflavones are a type of plant estrogen (phytoestrogen) that is similar in function to human estrogen.
11. Cruciferous Vegetables
These are a group of plants with various flavours, textures, and nutrients. This includes estrogen rich vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage; all are rich in phytoestrogens, including lignans and coumestrol. Coumestrol is also a type of phytonutrient shown to exhibit estrogenic activity.
It is a fermented soy product. Highly rich source of phytoestrogen, plant hormones known as phytoestrogens, specifically called isoflavones, and most popular in vegetarians as a replacement for meat in the diet. Eating tempeh may be beneficial for symptoms of menopause.
13. Red Wine
Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a phytoestrogen believed to reduce heart disease risk by regulating cholesterol levels in the body. Also, it may help in stopping the growth of cancer cells, particularly in postmenopausal women. However, be mindful of the quantity when intaking it.
Various nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, and pistachios are sources of phytoestrogens beneficial for heart health. They can be easily added to the diet, but they are also rich in calories and fats that limit the eating portion.
It is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. According to a 2020 study, it is rich in isoflavones, a type of estrogen, which aids in reducing the risk of death from several cancer types, namely breast cancer and prostate cancer, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis. Isoflavones are considered chemoprotective and can be used as an alternative therapy for a wide range of such disorders.
Benefits Of Estrogen Rich Food
There are several benefits of estrogen rich food, as healthy levels of estrogen in the body can help with the sexual growth of women. It affects the menstrual cycle, urinary tract, pubic and armpit hair growth.
As per studies, consumption of estrogen rich foods helps in reducing chances of breast and prostate cancer and improving bone health. Further, estrogen rich foods for menopause are beneficial for menopausal symptoms.
Even estrogen rich foods for breast growth are helpful in proper breast growth for women.
How Much To Consume
According to research conducted in 2019, the quantum of isoflavones (a type of estrogen) for women is around 40-70 milligrams per day or 50 mg per day. That can be easily fulfilled by adding up estrogen rich foods to the daily diet. However, anything in excess is harmful, so consumption should be limited.
Risks Of Consuming Estrogen Rich Foods
- Some studies show that phytoestrogens may have some adverse effects. Some of these are: Children are more sensitive than adults to estrogen compounds. Foods like soy milk (for breastfeeding) sometimes expose infants to phytoestrogens.
- As per some researchers, estrogens may affect endocrine disruptors, chemicals that can interfere with endocrine (or hormonal) systems. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, congenital disabilities, and other developmental disorders. This is because it could hurt the hormones and immune system.
- Some people are intolerant of soy and soy products, so they avoid these as a source of estrogen if you are allergic to any of the ingredients mentioned above.
Summing Up on Estrogen Rich Foods
Now that we know what are the estrogen rich foods, let us sum up. A well-balanced diet is very important for hormonal balance, and adding estrogen rich foods to the diet is beneficial for women. Consuming estrogen-rich foods for PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, can help manage the imbalance of reproductive hormones.
1) What are the Symptoms of Low Estrogen?
Some symptoms of low estrogen are breast tenderness, fatigue and sleep issues, irregular or disappearing menstrual cycle, mood swings and depression, headaches, hot flashes and night sweats and frequent urinary tract infections.
2) What Foods are Bad for Estrogen?
Some food items can decrease estrogen in the body if consumed in excess -
- Food with high amounts of fibre- Fruits and vegetables with the skin on
- Food with probiotic rich food- Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Natural yoghurt
- Fats are rich in omega 3- Salmon, Chia seeds
3) What Happens When Estrogen Levels are High?
Higher than healthy estrogen levels may cause irregular or heavy periods, weight gain, fatigue, and fibroids in females.
4) Does Estrogen Increase Breast Size?
Yes, estrogen helps in increasing breast size. If estrogen is high, then the breast size increases by stimulating the growth of breast tissues.
- Matthias Barton, June 2013; Cholesterol and atherosclerosis: modulation by oestrogen - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23594711/#:~:text=Orally%20administered%20oestrogens%20such%20as,and%20they%20increase%20triglyceride%20levels
- Ryoko Katagiri, Norie Sawada, Atsushi Goto, January 2020; Association of soy and fermented soy product intake with total and cause specific mortality: prospective cohort study - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190045/
- Mindy S Kurzer, March 2002; Hormonal effects of soy in premenopausal women and men - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11880595/
- Mihir Parikh, Thane G. Maddaford, May 2019; Dietary Flaxseed as a Strategy for Improving Human Health - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567199/