Menopause is an inevitable part of a woman's life. Low estrogen effects on postmenopausal women can cause many uncomfortable symptoms, including hot flashes, sleep problems, and bone loss.
Consuming foods with high levels of phytoestrogens might help offset some of the risk factors associated with menopause. Let's discuss the potential health benefits of phytoestrogens and foods that increase estrogen naturally.
What Are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are plant-based molecules that have a chemical composition that is similar to the hormone estrogen. They even pass as estrogen to estrogen receptors!
Therefore, consuming foods high in phytoestrogens can cause the body to perform functions that estrogen would otherwise facilitate. These reactions are extremely favorable to people who endure menopause symptoms.
Can Phytoestrogens Raise Estrogen Levels?
There are many conflicting reports on the estrogenic and antiestrogenic benefits of phytoestrogens. Since these plant-based molecules bind onto estrogen receptors, some scientists have suggested that phytoestrogens might prohibit the effects of natural estrogen. Meanwhile, other studies note that a high dose of phytoestrogens can promote estrogenic benefits.
Why are there such different schools of thought? Also, can phytoestrogens raise estrogen levels? It all depends.
One meta-analysis about estrogen foods found that various phytoestrogens impact the human body differently. When you choose the correct foods, you might experience high estrogen levels that offset menopause symptoms.
Types of Phytoestrogens
It's helpful to have a base knowledge on types of phytoestrogens so you can choose the right foods high in estrogen for you.
Most dietary estrogen is classified as:
- Isoflavones (Soy, Legumes, Alfalfa)
- Coumestans (Red Clover, Bean and Soy Sprouts)
- Lignans (Seeds, Vegetables, Whole Grains)
Each phytoestrogen will have a unique interaction with your system. They will provide your body with various enzymes and metabolites that support a healthy gut, immune system, and mind.
Best Foods That Increase Estrogen
Adding estrogen-rich foods to your diet will improve menopause symptoms. It will also provide your body with plenty of vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Incorporating these estrogen foods will help hormonal balance, improve your skin, and boost your overall mood.
Soy isoflavones are the most widely studied and commonly consumed phytoestrogens. It has a unique interaction with women's bodies, especially at various stages of their lives.
Premenopausal women might benefit from the effects of soy isoflavones because these phytoestrogens can lower natural estrogen levels. Research indicates that too much estrogen can stimulate breast cancer cells to develop.
Menopausal women naturally have lower estrogen levels. Soy phytoestrogens will have fewer estrogen hormones to compete against when searching for estrogen receptors. Therefore, soy products might help bring the balance necessary to prevent symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.
Sources of soy phytoestrogens include:
- Soy Milk
If you have high estrogen levels, limit your soy intake. Although the effects of soy isoflavones aren't as robust as actual estrogen, they can still accelerate estrogenic functions. That means, consuming too much soy, especially when you are in childbearing years, can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are an excellent source of protein and fiber. These nutty-flavored seeds are also abundant in lignans. In fact, they have up to 800% more lignans than most other estrogen foods.
A meta-analysis on flaxseed and breast cancer found that this phytoestrogen might help prevent tumor growth. One double-blind study saw some mice get fed a diet that was 10% flax seeds.
Results found that these mice had lower levels of estradiol (E2). E2 is a hormone that promotes the growth of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). VEGF is a catalyst for breast cancer tumors.
Remember all those years mom told you to eat your broccoli? It was first-hand experience.
Broccoli is an excellent source of lignans. It also is rich in carbohydrates that feed healthy gut bacteria. Gut bacteria are essential in converting phytonutrients into molecules our bodies can use.
Also, less than one cup of broccoli contains 132mg of vitamin c. Vitamin c is essential for collagen production. Collagen helps repair our gut lining to prevent inflammation. This nourishing peptide also gives our skin cells structure so they stay healthy and strong.
4. Red Clover Sprouts
These crunchy salad toppers are one of the best sources of coumestans. A phytoestrogen meta-analysis discussed the benefits coumestans had on ovarian, breast, and prostate cancer for men and women.
This unique herb is the most potent phytoestrogen. Although phytoestrogens are considered weaker than actual estrogen hormones, coumestans are only 10-20% less effective than 17β-estradiol.
5. Magnolia Bark Tea
Magnolia bark is an unsung hero in menopause support. This herb contains unique wellness-supporting isomers known as honokiol and magnolol. These compounds help improve mood by stimulating GABA production.
Additionally, honokiol mimics estrogen while down-regulating breast cancer cell expression. This potent compound also prevents cell death and helps improve gut barrier strength.
This seed is a complete protein with many micronutrients that are essential to women's health, including magnesium. Magnesium is a catalyst for over 300 enzymatic functions that include bone health, cell communication, and flushing out hormones.
Quinoa is rich in flavones, particularly genistein. Genistein exhibits a penchant for estrogen receptor (ER) β. Most flavones that promote negative side effects influence estrogen receptor (ER) α.
7. Collard Greens
Collard greens might not be everyone's favorite, but hear us out! Just 1 cup of cooked collards contains 266mg of calcium.
When estrogen levels drop, the body produces less calcium. That's why postmenopausal women are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
One Reuters meta-analysis stated that "at least two servings of vegetables a day had a 43 percent lower risk of ER-negative breast cancer compared with women who ate fewer than four servings of vegetables each week."
The article specifically stated collard greens and carrots as the top choices. So, get steaming some collard greens!
8. Chaste Tree Berries
Chaste tree berries have been dried for use in tea, food seasonings, and medicine for centuries. Research suggests that this pungent berry stimulates the production of progesterone.
Progesterone is essential for postmenopausal women. This hormone prevents the uterus lining from thinning. Adequate progesterone intake can help offset hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and pain.
Scientists believe that this uptick in progesterone is thanks to a phytoestrogen known as apigenin.
Chaste tree berries contain linoleic acid. It can attach to estrogen receptors and mimic estrogen effects.
Like many fruits, peaches are a terrific source of lignans. However, peaches have more of the lignan, secoisolariciresinol, than most other fruits.
Studies show that secoisolariciresinol has a positive impact on mental stress, metabolism, and the immune system of postmenopausal women.
Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are top foods that increase estrogen. These legumes provide 993mg of estrogen per 100mg of food.
These beans are also used in many dishes including hummus, falafel, and vegetarian meatballs. So, it's easy to switch up your chickpea intake!
Side Effects of Phytoestrogens
There are many conflicting reports on phytoestrogens and cancer prevention, infertility, and weight gain. It is best that you make any dietary changes under the guidance of a doctor. They can monitor you with blood work to make sure you aren't increasing any potentially harmful cells in your body.
Why You Need Phytoestrogens
Eating more phytoestrogens means eating more greens, grains, and fruits. These dietary changes are just good for your reproductive health. They also contain nutrients that prevent cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune issues.
Changing your diet can be challenging. Sometimes you need an all-natural supplement to help with these lifestyle changes. Get the support your system needs with Estrolene Perimenopause Relief.
This supplement is fortified with herbs proven to improve symptoms of menopause, including chaste berry and Magnolia tree bark extract. It also contains calcium to help prevent osteoporosis and vitamin D to boost calcium absorption!
Now that you know which foods are high in phytoestrogen, you can start adding these estrogen foods to your menu plan. Tag @TranqulityLabs on your phytoestrogen recipes. We'd love to see what you're cooking up!
- Phytoestrogens mimic estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors
- Coumestans, isoflavones, and lignans are primary phytoestrogens
- Estrolene Perimenopause Relief contains many top estrogen food
BONUS RECIPE: Quinoa Crêpes
- 3 cups quinoa flour
- 4 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coconut oil spray or oil/vegan butter of choice, for frying
-Add all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk together until well combined and a crepe batter forms.
-Heat some coconut oil in your crepe pan/pan on medium heat. Make sure your pan is hot enough before you start frying your crepes.
-Using a ladle, add some of the batter onto your pan and spread it around in a circular motion until the batter covers the pan in a thin layer.
-Cook for a few minutes until the edges are golden and can lift up easily. Flip to the other side and cook for a few more minutes.
-Repeat until you have used up all your batter.
-Serve with fresh berries, healthy vegan nutella, or any toppings you like.
Per Serving: Calories: 2213 | Carbs: 386 g | Fat: 44 g | Protein: 57 g | Sodium: 610 mg | Sugar: 107 g