Oestrogen is essential for reproductive health, bone density and cardiovascular health. An imbalance of this hormone can significantly affect your general well-being. One way you can stabilise oestrogen levels is through your diet. Keep reading to learn more about oestrogen-rich foods and their benefits.
Certain foods contain compounds that are structurally similar to the oestrogen that your body makes.
These compounds are known as phytoestrogens. Research suggests that they can bind to estrogen receptors in the body. When this happens, they either increase (estrogenic) or decrease (anti-estrogenic) oestrogen levels.
Several types of phytoestrogen can be found in many different foods. Legumes like soybeans are particularly rich in phytoestrogens.
There are several key types of phytoestrogens:
There is some evidence that consuming more phytoestrogens can have some health benefits. Below are some of the most recognised and researched benefits of phytoestrogens.
The majority of research on phytoestrogen has focussed on postmenopausal women. This is because their oestrogen levels drop dramatically which causes a myriad of symptoms.
Some symptoms of menopause. This includes hot flashes, vaginal dryness, sleep problems and brain fog.has found that phytoestrogens can reduce certain
Another health problem that postmenopausal women struggle with is osteoporosis. Oestrogen is essential for bone health, and when oestrogen levels drop, it causes weak bones and makes them more likely to break.
has shown that phytoestrogens can increase bone density. This could mean postmenopausal women are less likely to have bone fractures. However, more research is needed to investigate the direct link between phytoestrogens and osteoporosis.
There is also evidence that phytoestrogens can improve cardiovascular health. In particular, studies have found that they can improve cholesterol levels.
Oneof 38 clinical trials found that daily consumption of soy protein significantly reduced triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels. Reducing cholesterol levels will reduce your risk of heart disease.
Phytoestrogens have also been linked to a reduction in certain hormone-related cancers. One in particular is breast cancer.
One Chinese Research also suggests that eating more phytoestrogens as a child can reduce this risk.of over 70,000 women found that consumption of phytoestrogens reduced the risk of breast cancer.
However, it by no means prevents cancer. More research is needed to understand the relationship between phytoestrogens and cancers.
A myth about phytoestrogens and soy products in particular is that they decrease testosterone levels in men, which feminises them.
This is not the case and men can benefit from phytoestrogens as part of a balanced diet. Onefound that soy and other isoflavones did not decrease testosterone levels or increase oestrogen levels.
Otherhas found there are health benefits for men, such as a reduced risk of prostate cancer.
Phytoestrogens are an important part of a balanced and healthy diet. However, it might not be clear how to incorporate them into your lifestyle.
This is especially true in the Western world.shows on average that people in Western countries consume only 2mg of isoflavones. This was compared to 15-50mg in some Asian countries.
The easiest way to increase your phytoestrogen intake is through your diet. Below are the top 10 sources of phytoestrogens.
There are a variety of foods that can boost phytoestrogens. That means it is very simple to incorporate to find foods you like and eat a balanced diet.
As well as food, several herbal supplements are good sources of phytoestrogens.
These supplements are available at most pharmacies or health stores, especially marketed for menopause. Always check with a healthcare professional before trying any herbal supplements, especially if you take any other medications.
Despite the myths surrounding high-oestrogen foods, there are a plethora of health benefits from consuming foods containing phytoestrogens. In particular, it can help reduce symptoms and health risks in postmenopausal women.
These foods can be incorporated easily into a healthy diet. Some may benefit from supplements but you should always seek medical advice if you have a health condition.