These estrogen foods will help keep your reproductive and metabolic systems properly nourished.
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In this article:
- What Is Estrogen?
- Why Is Estrogen Important?
- What Happens When Estrogen Levels Are Abnormally High?
- What Are the Symptoms of Low Estrogen Level?
- What Causes Estrogen Deficiency?
- How Can You Increase Your Estrogen Levels Naturally?
- What Are Estrogen Boosting Foods?
Everything You Need to Know About Estrogen and Estrogen Foods
What Is Estrogen?
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. It’s responsible for making men and women look distinctly different.
A healthy body naturally produces estrogen on its own. For women, this hormone is mostly produced in the ovaries.
Doctors also use synthetic estrogen for a variety of medical purposes, such as birth control or hormone therapy.
You can also find estrogen in foods. There are certain compounds in fruits, nuts, and seeds which mimic the effects of estrogen when ingested, and we talk about them later in the article.
Why Is Estrogen Important?
Estrogen plays a crucial role in women’s health and reproductive function in the following ways:
- Stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles, which contain immature eggs needed for reproduction
- Stimulates vaginal growth by thickening its walls
- Keeps the vagina healthy by increasing its acidity to prevent bacterial infections
- Lubricates the vagina
- Protects the fallopian tubes by stimulating the growth of muscular walls in its lining
- Helps implant fertilized eggs
- Maintains the uterine lining
- Regulates the mucous secretions of the uterus which can help enable fertilization
- Regulates breast growth during puberty
- Improves quality of skin
- Helps maintain bone strength and prevents bone loss
- Helps regulate body temperature
- Plays a role in cholesterol production
- Helps strengthen the urethra and bladder
Given all of its functions, it’s important to have balanced levels of estrogen. Both high and low levels of estrogen may lead to troublesome health issues.
What Happens When Estrogen Levels Are Abnormally High?
Excessively high estrogen levels may lead to the following symptoms:
- Swollen and tender breasts
- Feeling bloated
- Fibrocystic breasts
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Decrease sex drive
- More intense premenstrual syndrome
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Sleep issues
What Are the Symptoms of Low Estrogen Level?
Symptoms of low estrogen include:
- Irregular or missed periods
- Painful sexual intercourse because of vaginal dryness
- Increased risk of urinary tract infection
- Mood swings
- Tender breasts
- Weaker bones
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Migraines or headaches
- Sleep issues
- Trouble focusing
For some women, low levels of estrogen may also lead to fertility issues.
What Causes Estrogen Deficiency?
During a woman’s reproductive years, estrogen levels vary throughout the menstrual cycle. Once women begin to transition into menopause, estrogen levels begin to decline.
Apart from menopause, these health conditions may also lead to low estrogen levels:
- Kidney disease
- Certain autoimmune diseases
- Poor nutrition
- Genetic defects such as Turner Syndrome
What is Turner Syndrome? It is a chromosomal condition which leads to premature loss of ovary functions. This condition inhibits sexual maturity or puberty and often leads to infertility.
For women, most of the estrogen is produced in the ovaries. If anything affects their ovaries, it may also have an impact on estrogen production.
How Can You Increase Your Estrogen Levels Naturally?
One way to increase estrogen naturally is by maintaining a healthy diet. There are estrogen boosting foods you can incorporate into your diet to maintain healthy estrogen levels.
What Are Estrogen Boosting Foods?
If you think you’re low on estrogen, try some of these estrogen-rich foods:
1. Soy Products
Soy and its many byproducts are rich in isoflavones. Isoflavones can help increase estrogen levels.
In fact, in one study, premenopausal women who were given soy supplements for 12 weeks increased the length of their menstrual cycles. These days, there are many soy products you can choose from—tofu, soy milk, and, even, soy yogurt!
On top of that, soy is a great source of plant-based protein. And an added bonus: it’s also cholesterol-free!
2. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are rich in phytoestrogen, a compound found in plants. When ingested, it has the same effects as estrogen.
Here are a few ways you can easily add flax seeds to your diet:
- Add a tablespoon or two to your oatmeal or breakfast cereal.
- Mix in a tablespoon to your yogurt.
- Mix in a teaspoon to your sandwich or salad dressing. It goes well with mayonnaise or mustard.
- Add it to baked goods like cookie dough, muffin mix, or bread dough.
This little seed is actually a nutritional powerhouse. Apart from phytoestrogen, flax seeds are also rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Apples, strawberries, pomegranates, and peaches are a few examples of phytoestrogen-rich foods. There are many ways you can incorporate fruit into your diet.
You can enjoy them raw, add them to baked goods, or even blend them up as smoothies. These fruits won’t only give you an estrogen boost, but they are also packed with all sorts of nutrients!
Many nuts contain isoflavones, which are naturally occurring phytoestrogens with antioxidant properties. Among them are pistachios.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams of pistachios contains 3.63 milligrams of isoflavones.
Pistachios are a great snack on their own. You can also mix them up with fruits, yogurt, or other desserts.
5. Red Wine
Red wine is rich in resveratrol, which is a form of phytoestrogen. Apart from this, moderate consumption of red wine may also have some surprising cardiovascular health benefits.
It may help reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing good cholesterol, preventing blood clots and widening blood vessels. The key to maximizing the health benefits of red wine is to limit your consumption.
For women, this means drinking one glass of red wine each day. Regular overconsumption of wine can have detrimental long-term effects on your health.
Estrogen deficiency can have a serious impact on your quality of life. Adding estrogen foods to your diet is a natural way of increasing this hormone’s levels, but it may not always be enough.
What do you do to maintain healthy levels of estrogen? Tell us about it in the comments section below.