Focus On Diet Quality
Overall, diets that are high in a variety of whole foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and phytochemicals promote healthy hormone levels.
Hormones such as insulin, cortisol and sex hormones can be negatively affected by a lower-quality diet, such as one that has lots of refined carbohydrates along with hydrogenated and saturated fats from fried foods, fatty meats and highly processed foods.
To reduce elevated insulin levels, eating better-quality carbohydrate sources and less carbohydrates overall may help.
Higher-quality carbohydrates tend to be lower on the glycemic index, minimally processed and higher in fiber. Examples include whole grains such as 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat, rolled or steel-cut oats and barley, pulses such as lentils and chickpeas, sweet potatoes, and berries.
There is also some evidence that low-carb diets can help lower elevated insulin levels.
Eating too much or not enough is also not desirable from a hormone perspective: Overeating can cause insulin levels to rise, while undereating or chronic dieting negatively affects levels of cortisol and sex hormones.
Soybeans And Soy Products
Soybeans are probably the most well-known source of phytoestrogens and are also the most controversial. This time, the estrogen effects come from a set of compounds called isoflavones. Interestingly, soy may have estrogen-promoting or estrogen-decreasing effects in the body, with the effects being influenced by the amount of estrogen already present.
So, for women with low estrogen levels, soy could be an easy way to increase estrogen.
The most notable thing about soy isnt the phytoestrogen content, but just how common soy is in modern diets. There are countless soy products to choose from, including tofu, miso, tempeh, and soy-based meat alternatives. Dont forget soy milk and soy flour too, which are used as ingredients in many different recipes.
Tofu and tempeh can be especially good ways to increase estrogen, as these two products are relatively unprocessed meat alternatives. You could also turn to soy protein powder. Using this in protein shakes or smoothies could be perfect for anyone who doesnt like the taste or texture of other soy products.
The Best Foods For Hormone Health According To A Dietitian
While no single food or behavior can magically fix pesky issues like fatigue, trouble losing weight or sleep problems, following a Mediterranean style of eating with particular attention to these 5 foods may help.
Our series, Hormones & Our Health: How What You Eat May Affect How They Work, explores the vast role hormones play in the body and the diet and lifestyle factors that help them function as they should.
According to what we’re seeing in the health and wellness world, you’d think that hormone imbalances are an epidemic of their own these days. It’s true that people are being diagnosed with hormone-related conditionswhere the body does in fact produce too much or too little of certain hormones, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosisat an increasing rate and fertility rates continue to decline.
But can hormones also be to blame for other commonly reported issues like low energy, sleep trouble, difficulty losing weight and low sex drive? While many factors are at play, small hormone irregularities may contribute to these unpleasant symptoms. And while no single food or behavior can magically fix the problem, there are some things you can do to helplike following more of a Mediterranean-style eating pattern.
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Why A Plant Based Diet Promotes Estrogen Detoxification And Stubborn Weight Loss
Many women that I work with in my practice want to lose weight. They come in with this weight loss goal, but when we look deeper, we often discover hormonal imbalances that contribute to weight gain or make it hard to lose weight. Instead of white knuckling weight loss with a very restrictive diet, we address the root causes while adding in hormonal support through specific foods and dietary strategies. Often, when we fully address the root, weight normalizes effortlessly.
As I continue on my hormone series, today I want to offer some strategies to support estrogen detoxification and specifically, what foods to eat. You might be interested in an estrogen detox diet plan as part of a strategy for how to lose stubborn weight.
In my most recent article, Part 3, I covered estrogen dominance â how too much estrogen in the system leads to uncomfortable, yet all too common, symptoms including PMS, tender breasts and fibroids. It even contributes to the development of cancer.
Excess estrogen or excess estrogen in relation to progesterone, is a common hormone imbalance that I see in women in my practice. Some women produce too much estrogen, others have a hard time clearing it and we are all exposed to extra estrogen, known as xenoestrogens, through the environment around us.
Letâs dive in to the details!
Other Ways To Reduce Estrogen Levels
If someone is concerned about their levels of testosterone or estrogen, it is best to discuss this with a doctor before attempting to change these hormone levels at home.
Some people benefit from hormone injections. Testosterone therapy may be helpful, but more research is needed on the risks for older males .
Some research has looked into natural ways to reduce estrogen. Several studies suggest that exercise may lower estrogen levels in some females.
A , for example, found that higher amounts of aerobic exercise reduced levels of estrogen in women with a greater risk of developing breast cancer. However, little research exists in males.
Certain human-made products contain chemical compounds called xenoestrogens, which imitate estrogen in the body.
Some cell research suggests that exposure to these chemicals may increase the risk of cancer and endocrine disorders, though more research is needed in humans.
Many plastics contain xenoestrogens. Anyone wishing to lower their exposure to these chemicals may prefer to avoid plastic products, including bottles and food storage containers, when possible.
Males who are concerned about the effects of high estrogen also may benefit from making healthful lifestyle changes, such as:
- reducing the number of calories in their diet
- getting more sleep
What Is The Function Of Estrogen In Women
Estrogen is responsible for a number of distinguishing physical and emotional factors that differentiate males from females. When compared to males, females tend to have shorter and smaller bones, a smaller voice box , higher fat distribution around the hips and thighs, and slight differences in cognition and emotional regulation.
Estrogen carries out a number of essential functions. Some of the primary functions of estrogen in women include:
- Regulate the development of secondary sexual characteristics in women
- Stimulate the thickening of the endometrium during the menstrual cycle, encourages vaginal lubrication, and helps to keep the vaginal wall thick during pregnancy.
- Aid bone formation and is involved in the maintenance of strong healthy bones.
- Promote the production of good cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein or HDL cholesterol
- Maintain the thickness and quality of the skin via collagen production.
- Stimulate and maintain feel good endorphins released by the brain.
- Controlling hair growth and prevents hair thinning and loss.
If you are experiencing symptoms of hormonal imbalance, youre thinking about taking a test, or you simply want to find out more, contact us directly via live chat. We will tell you everything you need to know about our testing service, as well as our on-going clinical support.
See Your Doctor Regularly
The best way to ensure testosterone and estrogen levels stay within a healthy range is to see your doctor regularly.Doing so allows your provider to monitor hormone levels using blood tests, so you know if your current diet, exercise, and supplement regimen is working.
While more common in women, low thyroid levels can cause unwanted weight gain, hair thinning, and fatigue in men.
Your doctor might check thyroid hormone or vitamin and mineral levels in addition to female and male sex hormones, to keep you healthier overall eliminate undesirable side effects.
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Minimize Xenoestrogen Containing Products:
If possible, it is wise to discuss with your doctor or health care practitioners about coming off all oral contraceptives, hormone creams, and hormone based prescription medications. You may need to wean off of these slowly so it is imperative to discuss this with your prescribing practitioner.
Additionally, you want to do your best to reduce your exposure to plastics, tin cans and conventional hygiene products that contain parabens and sodium lauryl sulfates. Look for natural and organic personal hygiene products that minimize chemicals in their manufacturing process.
Why It Is Important To Keep Your Estrogen Levels
Estrogen is responsible for regulating many functions in females and is a crucial hormone in the female health journey. From puberty, through fertility and menopause, estrogen also plays an important role in reducing the risk of certain diseases and has even been shown to play a protective factor in heart health.
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The Psychology Of Menopause
Hormone shifts can affect moods. It can be disturbing to find yourself feeling uncharacteristically nervous or depressed or having memory lapses. Sometimes these feelings can even strain your relationships with others. It helps to know that the psychological effects of menopause are temporary. In all likelihood, youll soon get back on an even keel. Here are the most common psychological accompaniments of menopause.
Anxiety. Women who have never had a problem with anxiety before may become more self-conscious and worried about minor events. In some cases, panic attacks occur. Mental health professionals have a variety of effective treatments. Many people feel much better just knowing what the condition is. The most important piece of advice is not to let anxiety restrict your activities. When anxiety or panic disorders cause people to avoid stressful situations, the result can be an ever-tightening leash that keeps them from enjoying life. Anxiety can lead to avoidance of many aspects of normal life. Prompt treatment prevents this.
Poor Memory and Concentration. Some women find that menopause brings occasional memory lapses, often related to reduced ability to concentrate. This can be upsetting and annoying, but fortunately it seems to go away on its own with time.
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Boost Your Estrogen With Go With The Flow
Go with the Flow is a natural supplement that combines 4 powerful hormone balance herbs – Dong Quai, Black Cohosh, Maca, and Chasteberry. This carefully selected mix works towards nourishing your overall hormone balance.
While Maca benefits your reproductive health and can boost your libido, the other 3 herbs boost your estrogen levels.
Dong Quai has 2 phytoestrogenic compounds. This makes it a great herb for relieving menopause symptoms.
Black Cohosh can boost estrogen also and it has a positive effect on menopause and menstrual symptoms.
Chasteberry is a very popular herbal medicine used for the treatment of many female reproductive issues. It also contains the phytoestrogen apigenin which can increase your estrogen levels.
How Do Foods High In Phytoestrogens Affect Your Health
Phytoestrogens have stirred up a lot of controversy in the nutrition world.
Since phytoestrogen has a similar structure to the estrogen in the human body, it can bind to estrogen receptors in your body when consumed. This might influence how estrogen functions in your bod and increase your estrogen levels .
Although it hasnt been entirely proven, some researchers think consuming too much phytoestrogen can lead to a hormonal imbalance and health issues.
Some theories link high estrogen in women to lighter or heavier periods, fibrocystic breasts , increased breast cancer risk, or fibroids. And men impacted by high estrogen levels may experience fertility problems and erectile dysfunction.
But again, none of this is 10/10 proven.
Some research, including a 2010 review, also suggests that certain types of phytoestrogens have antiestrogenic effects meaning they may block estrogens effects and decrease your levels. Confusing, right?
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What Are Hormone Diets And Can They Really Help You Lose Weight Quickly
As a registered dietitian, I have found that my clients are increasingly asking about books and programs that claim you can adjust your hormones with a diet to lose weight quickly and easily.
Search for hormone diet and there are more than 30 recent books on the topic. The authors allege that the reason people over 35 struggle to lose weight doesnt have to do with eating too much or not exercising enough. They say its your hormones working against you.
According to these books, you can trick your metabolism and feed your thyroid. They claim that all you need to do is eat the right foods and take the right supplements, and youll unlock the secret to lasting weight loss.
But is there any evidence these diets work?
In researching hormone diets, I found some that are sold at weight-loss centers, created by wellness experts who have no recognized credentials. They claim to promote rapid weight loss by affecting hormones such as insulin, which moves sugar from your blood into your cells cortisol, the stress hormone sex hormones such as testosterone and estrogen and thyroid hormones.
So, do hormone diets lead to quick and easy weight loss?
I dont know of any diet that will change hormone levels in a way that these hormone changes will be instrumental in promoting weight loss, Franck Mauvais-Jarvis, a professor of medicine at Tulane Universitys medical school, wrote in an email.
What You Can Do: Stop Overeating The Foods That Cause Insulin Resistance
How do we ensure our insulin levels remain balanced? First, we need to stop eating too much. Its a known fact that overeating leads to insulin resistance, especially when we eat too much food thats no good for our bodies and minds. When we eat too much sugar, too much fast food, and too many processed carbohydrates, insulin goes haywire. These elevated insulin levels lead to weight gain and low-grade inflammation. A 2010 study published in the journal Diabetes found that even eating too much of these foods in the short term leads to insulin resistance and weight gain.
You may also want to restrict carbohydrates in your diet. According to a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, a low-carb diet prevents metabolic syndrome and the insulin resistance that causes it. Other findings show drinking green tea, consuming omega-3 fatty acids from fatty fish, and eating adequate amounts of protein all help balance insulin levels.
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Is There Anything Else You Can Do To Increase Estrogen
Unfortunately, a womans estrogen levels naturally decrease with age. This is a natural part of the aging process. Men experience a similar drop in testosterone. While you cant prevent estrogen from decreasing entirely, there are things you can do to keep your levels as stable as possible, such as taking care of your health, exercising regularly, avoiding refined sugar, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to support the glands in your body that produce estrogen.
Plant Based Diet Benefits And Stubborn Weight Loss
In Part 3 of my hormone series, I talked about the relationship between estrogen and weight. When estrogen levels are normal, this helpful hormone supports the maintenance of a healthy weight. But, in excess, estrogen may contribute to weight gain and stubborn weight loss .
When it comes to how to get rid of stubborn weight, a plant based diet has many benefits. Here is how plants help:
- Plants increase satiety. Plants help you to feel full, satisfied and satiated. They contain fiber to provide volume and bulk to the food as it passes through the digestive system. Certain plant foods â such as nuts and seeds â also contain protein and fats that contribute to satiety as well.
- Plants support the microbiome. Fiber and polyphenols feed beneficial bacteria? Yes, please! A balanced microbiome is more associated with a healthy weight and altering the microbiome in this direction may help with weight loss.
- Plant foods support hormone balance that leads to weight balance. Insulin, thyroid hormone and cortisol, in addition to estrogen, are important for weight. Whole plant foods support insulin and balanced blood sugar and are needed for an appropriate thyroid hormone response. In addition, we need estrogen detoxification for a healthy thyroid.
Without the nutrients from plants and when carbohydrate levels are too low, this strains the thyroid and adrenal systems in the body making it harder to lose and maintain a healthy weight.
Estrogen Detox and Diet
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