Food With Estrogen And Progesterone

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Food with Estrogen and Progesterone is a blog dedicated to eating natural foods to boost estrogen and progesterone levels naturally. Learn how foods can affect hormones, especially the balance of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Find out what foods promote fertility, what foods help you stay young looking, which medicines can upset your hormones, how to get through menopause without drugs, breast augmentation without surgery and reduce hot flashes naturally.

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Food With Estrogen And Progesterone

Many types of food-based phytoestrogens are studied for their potential health benefits. These include:

  •  Lignans
  •  Isoflavones
  •  Resveratrol
  •  Flavonoids like quercetin

Each of these phytoestrogens has antioxidant properties. This means that in addition to the nutrients’ potential health benefits, they fight cell damage in our bodies linked to a wide range of chronic diseases. 

The best dietary sources of phytoestrogens include:

1.  Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are the richest dietary source of lignans (polyphenols found in plants). Researchers believe they lower breast cancer risk. You can sprinkle flaxseeds on many dishes, bake them into bread and cookies, or blend them into smoothies and spreads. 

2.  Soy

Soy contains high levels of isoflavones, phytoestrogens that may mimic estrogen’s effects and reduce the risk of both breast and prostate cancer. Soy is also rich in a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It can support heart health as an alternative to red and processed meats. It’s also extremely versatile — you can include soy in your diet with foods like tofu, tempeh, edamame, and soymilk.  

3.  Peaches 

Because of their high lignan content, studies show that eating two servings of peaches or nectarines a week reduces a woman’s breast cancer risk. Researchers find similar effects from consuming blueberries and strawberries. 

4.  Garlic

Regular garlic consumption can help lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and prevent clots — all heart disease risk factors. Research shows garlic can influence estrogen levels in the body, perhaps helping reduce age-related bone loss. But more research is needed to study this effect. 

5. Red Wine

Red wine is rich in resveratrol, a phytoestrogen researchers believe reduces heart disease risk by regulating cholesterol levels. Another study found that phytoestrogens in red wine may stop cancer cell growth, particularly among postmenopausal women. 

6. Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are easy to add to almost any meal — and they may help improve your cholesterol levels. Studies show they affect estrogen levels, with potent antioxidant activity fighting chronic disease risk factors. 

7. Cruciferous Vegetables

Vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kale contain phytoestrogens with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. Diets rich in cruciferous vegetables are also associated with lower risk of many chronic diseases, including heart problems. 

8. Nuts

Nuts like cashews, almonds, peanuts, and pistachios are a great source of heart-healthy phytoestrogens. They’re easy to add to your diet. But because most nuts are high in calories and fat, be sure to limit your portions to the recommended serving size. 

Why You Need Estrogen

Estrogen’s main function is to control reproductive changes in women, but it serves other roles in both male and female bodies, including:

  • Heart and blood vessel support
  •  Bone strength
  •  Brain protection and mood regulation

Our estrogen levels can change for many reasons. For some, managing these effects may require treatment such as hormone replacement therapy. 

The phytoestrogens in foods may help support estrogen’s natural functions. Research shows these nutrients are linked to several health benefits, including:

Menopausal Relief in Women

Women’s estrogen levels decrease with age, causing changes in the body referred to as menopause. Studies show that phytoestrogens can help relieve some of menopause’s physical symptoms, like the frequency of hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Improved Bone Health

Estrogens help maintain healthy bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis in both men and women. Studies show that phytoestrogens from food may support this effect, improving long-term bone health.  

May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Studies show phytonutrients may help manage cholesterol. Maintaining good cholesterol levels keeps your arteries free from fatty build-up, reducing the risk of heart problems and stroke.

May Reduce the Risk of Cancers

According to research, higher estrogen and phytoestrogen levels are associated with lower rates of breast cancer. Phytoestrogens have also been shown to kill prostate cancer cells, an effect scientists continue to study for the nutrients’ use in cancer prevention or management.  

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What are phytoestrogens? Benefits and foods

Phytoestrogens are a natural compound found in plants and plant-based foods. When eaten, they may affect a person in the same way as estrogen produced by the body.

This article explores the health benefits and risks of phytoestrogens. It also lists foods that are high in phytoestrogens.

What are phytoestrogens?

Soy foods laid out on table including soybeans, tofu, soy sauce, and tempeh.
Soy foods, including soybeans, tofu, miso, and tempeh, contain phytoestrogens.
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Phytoestrogens or dietary estrogens are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Many of these plants are already part of a person’s diet.

Estrogen is a hormone released in a woman’s body that regulates her menstrual cycle. The body’s endocrine system is responsible for producing this hormone.

In adolescence, estrogen plays a role in the development of a woman’s breasts, armpit hair, and pubic hair. Up until the menopause, estrogen controls a woman’s periods.

Foods that contain phytoestrogens include:

  • vegetables
  • fruit
  • some grains
  • legumes

When a person eats plant-based foods that contain phytoestrogens, they may have a similar effect to estrogen produced by the body. For this reason, phytoestrogens are known as dietary estrogens.

There are phytoestrogen supplements, but getting these from natural food sources is a better choice.

How do phytoestrogens work?

Phytoestrogens imitate estrogen because their chemical structure is very similar to that of estrogen from the body.

When phytoestrogens enter the body, the body’s estrogen receptors treat them as if they were estrogen. Phytoestrogens are endocrine disruptors because they are chemicals that disrupt normal hormonal function.

However, phytoestrogens do not bind to estrogen receptors as firmly as estrogen produced by the body, so their effects may be weakerTrusted Source.

Benefits

Pre-menopausal woman in dressing gown drinking tea or coffee and looking into garden.
Phytoestrogens may help to naturally manage hormone imbalances, making them beneficial for women near menopause.
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Phytoestrogens may be beneficial for women looking to rebalance their hormones as they approach menopause.

During perimenopause, which is the period before a woman reaches menopause and stops menstruating, the hormone levels in her body will fluctuate and cause a variety of symptoms.

Perimenopause usually starts in a woman’s 40s and lasts until menopause. Symptoms of perimenopause include:

  • hot flashes
  • tender breasts
  • low sex drive
  • tiredness
  • irregular periods
  • mood swings

These symptoms can be unpleasant, and some women use hormone replacement therapy to help control them.

Phytoestrogens offer a natural alternative to the synthetic estrogen used in hormone replacement therapies.

Phytoestrogens also have a range of other potential benefits, including:

1. Relieving hot flashes

Phytoestrogens may help to relieve uncomfortable hot flashes. A 2014 study found that phytoestrogens reduced the frequency of hot flashes in menopausal women without any serious side effects.

2. Preventing osteoporosis

Estrogen deficiency after menopause can affect bone health and cause conditions such as osteoporosis.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help remedy this and promote bone strength, but it may have uncomfortable side effects. Phytoestrogens may be a natural alternative.

A 2011 studyTrusted Source found that phytoestrogens did help to combat postmenopausal osteoporosis.

However, researchers noted that there were some potential side effects. As the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not currently regulate phytoestrogens, the study did not recommend taking them for osteoporosis.

3. Combatting menstrual issues

When a woman’s estrogen levels drop, it can affect mood and energy levels.

Some women try to eat foods rich in phytoestrogens during this time to balance their hormone levels and relieve symptoms.

More research is needed to support using phytoestrogens in this way.

4. Treating acne

When women get acne, the cause may be a rise in male hormones (androgens) in their bodies. Phytoestrogens may help to combat acne by rebalancing hormone levels.

A 2017 study partially supports this theory, but more research is needed to prove whether phytoestrogens are an effective acne treatment.

5. Fighting breast cancer

There have been some claims that phytoestrogens are beneficial for fighting hormonal cancers, such as breast cancer.

A 2009 studyTrusted Source found that consuming soy foods decreased the risk of death and recurrence in women with breast cancer. Soy foods are rich in phytoestrogens.

Another study in 2015Trusted Source found that phytoestrogens inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells. However, a further 2015 studyTrusted Source suggested the role of phytoestrogens in breast cancer survival is complex and depends on what stage of menopause a woman is in.

More research is needed to fully understand whether phytoestrogens could play a useful role in cancer prevention and treatment. Phytoestrogens are not appropriate for all types of cancer. Anyone considering taking phytoestrogens should discuss it with their doctor first.

6. Promoting heart health

Phytoestrogens may support heart health. A 2016 studyTrusted Source found that phytoestrogens helped to treat a condition that affects the arteries and improve heart health in postmenopausal women.

Risks and side effects

Studies show phytoestrogens may provide similar benefits to the synthetic estrogen used in hormone replacement therapy.

However, this does not mean that they are safer than synthetic estrogen. They act in a similar way and may carry the same risks. These may include increased risk of:

  • obesity
  • cancer
  • problems with reproduction

This 2010 studyTrusted Source found that high levels of soy in a woman’s diet could affect how her ovaries’ function.

It is believed to be healthful to eat a plant-based diet, and many plant foods contain phytoestrogens.

More research is needed to fully understand how phytoestrogens work, as it is not clear whether consuming them in high levels carries any health risks. Unless a person is taking phytoestrogen supplements, it is unlikely they could consume a harmful level, however.

A person should always speak to a doctor before starting to take any new supplements, including phytoestrogen.

Food list

The following foods groups are rich in phytoestrogens:

Nuts and seeds

Sunflower seeds on wooden spoon.
Sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flaxseeds contain high levels of phytoestrogens.
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The following nuts and seeds are high in phytoestrogens:

  • flaxseeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • almonds
  • walnuts

Fruits

Certain fruits are rich in phytoestrogens, including:

  • apples
  • carrots
  • pomegranates
  • strawberries
  • cranberries
  • grapes

Vegetables

Certain vegetables are a good source of phytoestrogens, including:

  • yams
  • lentils
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • mung beans
  • sprouts

Soy products

Soy and soy products are rich in phytoestrogens. These include:

  • soybeans
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • miso soup
  • miso paste

Herbs

The following herbs contain phytoestrogens:

  • red clover
  • licorice root
  • hops

Liquids

The following beverages and oils are sources of phytoestrogen:

  • coffee
  • bourbon
  • beer
  • red wine
  • olive oil
  • jasmine oil

Grains

Some grains contain phytoestrogens. These include:

  • oats
  • barley
  • wheat germ

Takeaway

Phytoestrogens are plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen in the body. They have been found to be beneficial in combatting symptoms and conditions caused by estrogen deficiency. This may be of particular benefit to premenopausal and post-menopausal women.

Phytoestrogens may also play a role in fighting cancer. However, much more research is needed to understand this.

The risks of consuming high levels of phytoestrogens are not yet fully understood. Their side effects are likely to be similar to those of synthetic estrogen.

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