Phytoestrogens do not act like typical estrogen hormone that we can take in from synthetic sources. The action of estrogen rich foods is much more balanced than artificially produced Estrogen hormones.
Estrogen rich foods from plants act selectively. They act like estrogen in some organs and block the effect of estrogen in other body parts that do not need it.
Hence, they are highly helpful foods that naturally help us to balance our hormones, specifically in the transition period of menopause.
Women should include Estrogen rich foods in their diet on regular basis at any age group but more importantly starting from early 30s, when their hormone levels naturally begin to fluctuate.
In this post, you will learn about the best plant based estrogen foods or phytoestrogens. We will go through different types of phytoestrogens and how you can include them in your diet. Let’s get started!
Estrogen Balance for Women Health
Estrogen controls the physiology, growth, and functioning of a woman’s reproductive system. However, the functions of Estrogen are not just limited to its reproductive action.
Estrogen regulates the functioning of vital body systems as the endocrine system, nervous system, circulatory system, musculoskeletal system and immune system for men and women.
It is present in both males and females, but in much higher amounts in females.
Chronic Hormonal Imbalances cause Estrogen Imbalance
Women in particular undergo physical and hormonal changes during different stages of life as in pregnancy, menstrual cycle and in perimenopause. This often results in fluctuating levels of Estrogen in their body.
That’s why, it is really important to keep your Estrogen levels in check through natural dietary sources as Estrogen rich foods.
What are Phytoestrogens?
Phytoestrogens are natural sources of Estrogen in the form of plant-based food items. They closely resemble the chemical structure and functioning of Estrogen produced by the human body.
However, phytoestrogens are much less potent than human Estrogen hormone.
Regular consumption of estrogen rich foods in your diet will help you to keep your hormone balance in check during transition phases such as pregnancy, post pregnancy, and during menopause.
Phytoestrogens act selectively and support the efficacy and action of our body’s natural Estrogen production. The role and overall effect on our body of estrogen rich foods varies with their source.
That’s why, it is important to include a variety and good quantity of phytoestrogens in your diet on regular basis to balance your hormone levels.
Types of Phytoestrogens from Estrogen Rich Foods
We can get phytoestrogens from more than 300 varied food items including vegetables, fruits, cereals, seeds, nuts, grains, and beans.
These foods carry phytoestrogens belonging to three different chemical classes as listed below.
|Estrogen Variant||Food Types|
|Isoflavones||Primarily found in soybeans and soy products such as tofu, tempeh, soy milk, and miso paste.|
|Lignans||A constituent of dietary fiber. Main sources include nuts, seeds, grains, legumes, fruits & vegetables.|
|Coumestans||Majorly found in sprouted beans such as alfalfa & clover sprouts, split peas, pinto beans, and lima beans.|
Which are the Best Estrogen Rich Foods?
Estrogen rich foods or phytoestrogens are one of the best ways to naturally top up your Estrogen levels in menopause.
Regular consumption of estrogen rich foods will help you to maintain hormone balance and protect you from the intensity of menopause symptoms. Here are some foods that should form part of your meals and menopause diet.
1. Flax Seeds
Also known as linseed, these are one of the best Estrogen rich foods that provide phytoestrogens in the form of Lignans.
They help in reducing cholesterol levels in the body as they contain dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax has been used to reduce inflammation and detoxification.
2. Sesame Seeds
Sesame is a good source of lignan phytoestrogens and one of the densest sources of Calcium.
Thus, it helps to balance estrogen levels and also protect the bones. Sesame Seeds also provide dietary fiber and several vitamins and minerals to the body.
3. Pumpkin Seeds
These are a great source of lignan phytoestrogens and contain as much as 560 micrograms per 100g of the seeds.
Pumpkin seeds are also a rich source of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that prevent aging related disorders and also nourish the body.
Soybean is one of the best sources of plant protein and oils. Regular consumption of soy supports the health of heart, kidneys, liver and stomach.
The isoflavones of soy products balance the estrogen levels in women. However, do make sure you stay away from highly processed forms of soy as soy milk and yogurt that contain additional preservatives.
Prefer natural forms of soy as:
- soy beans
- miso paste
Fruits are not the best sources of Estrogen, however strawberries and peaches are rich in phytoestrogens. You can take these fruits raw or even blend into a dessert.
- Peaches can lessen the risk of cancer, stroke, and other associated heart diseases.
- Strawberries can lower the risk of obesity and promote healthy skin and hair.
Nuts are the most satisfying healthy snacks as they are rich sources of many nutrients.
You can take them both in raw and roasted form. Roasting increases the bioavailability of the phytoestrogens presents in nuts. However, grinding reduces it as compared to raw nuts.
A handful of nuts provide enough phytoestrogens and isoflavones, as needed for your body.
You can add nuts to salads, snacks, desserts, etc. Nuts are not only delicious but also healthy and give extra crunch to your dishes.
However, nuts are heavy to digest, hence moderation is the key. They can also be soaked in water for a couple of hours to enhance their digestibility and hence health benefits.
- Brazil Nuts
7. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits are one of the best sources of phytoestrogens and dietary fiber. During drying, these fruits accumulate higher amounts of phytoestrogens, vitamins, and minerals.
You can take them anytime in a day. You can take a handful of dry fruits with a bowl of milk in the breakfast, a few during lunch to enhance your estrogen and energy levels.
Dried apricots, dates, and dried prunes are some of the best dry fruits to take regularly to improve estrogen levels in the body.
Regular consumption of vegetables is an excellent way to increase estrogen levels via Lignans. Except for Yam, below vegetables can be taken raw or in cooked form.
- Green Beans
9. White Beans
White beans are very healthy containing phytoestrogens, fiber, and nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium.
This facilitates the balance of estrogen levels in the body. You can add boiled white beans to your salads and in different dishes.
Sprouts as Alfalfa Sprouts, Clover Sprouts, and Mung Bean Sprouts. You can add Alfalfa Sprouts, and Mung Bean Sprouts to salads and soups.
Bean sprouts help in hair growth, colds, headaches, hemorrhaging in abortion, threatened abortion, difficult labor, irritability and fever.
11. Black Beans
It helps to improve fertility in women because they are good a source of phytoestrogens. They also supply enough protein, antioxidants, fiber, several vitamins, and minerals.
Black beans are related to medicine and have been used for strength and vigor. It is also used in mixtures for recovery after delivery and for reproductive disorders.
Herbs | Estrogen Rich Foods
Herbs such as Parsley, Dill, Fennel, aniseed, Sage, and Red Clover significantly boost the phytoestrogen content of a meal.
They can be added to the meal preparations directly. Or you can take them as herbal tea.
Garlic contains the Isoflavones types of Phytoestrogen. It provides multiple health benefits, for example, it helps reduce cholesterol, and prevents cancer and heart diseases.
Garlic is known for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Garlic can be added to the soups, salads, sautés, stir-fries, pasta, and stews for flavour and health benefits.
The licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) plant is a perennial, having ‘sweet root’.
The sweet yellow wood of the licorice root is a revered medicinal herb in Ayurveda, in Chinese traditional system, and in the native European medicinal systems.
It is also highly helpful to reduce Kapha Imbalance, hence mucus production and pacify the heat and inflammation in the body.
14. Whole Grains | Estrogen Rich Foods
Grains, such as Oats, Barley, Wheat, and Rye contain a phytoestrogen known as Lignan. Regular intake of a variety of grains in their whole form can increase estrogen in your body.
15. Beans and Legumes
Legumes provide natural estrogens that support hormone balance in your body. Some examples are:
- Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- red beans
- green peas
- split peas
16. Green Tea
It is rich in antioxidants that help to naturally detox and reduce inflammation in the body.
Estrogen Rich Foods | Long Term Relief vs Quick Fixes
It may seem extremely hard to get a hold on your hormone imbalance symptoms. You may be tempted to try out synthetic hormones and invasive therapies to find fast relief. However, all of these come with multiple side effects and long term health issues.
And they may not be best suited for your specific hormone imbalances anyway!
But, when you try to balance your hormones naturally by adapting a nourishing diet and healthy lifestyle, you set yourself on a path to long term relief and healing your body.
And the key is to start early! Before your hormone imbalance symptoms progress too far. So, start today!
Now we want to hear from you. Do write to us for any queries and feedback.
If you have tried any of the above estrogen rich foods for hormone balance, then do share your experience with us. We will get back to you the soonest.
Wishing you vibrant health!
- Phytoestrogen: a Review of the Present State of Research
- Phytoestrogen content of fruits and vegetables commonly consumed in the UK
- Naturally-Occurring Estrogens in Plant Foodstuffs -A Review
- Estradiol and cognitive function: Past, present and future