If you’re a woman, it’s not exactly breaking news that your oestrogen levels naturally fluctuate. But, if you are of a certain age, your oestrogen levels are naturally on the decline as you creep towards menopause. The good news is you can add phytoestrogens (also known as dietary oestrogen) into your diet through oestrogen rich foods to help you glow into your ‘golden years’.
Controlling your sexual, and reproductive development, oestrogen plays a vital role in a woman’s body. It works to control and regulate periods and supports the development of breasts. As we age and our oestrogen levels drop, we can start to experience some uncomfortable side effects, including hot flashes, headaches, and insomnia.
What are Phytoestrogens?
Simply put, phytoestrogens, also known as dietary oestrogen, are naturally occurring plant compounds that have been found to act in a very similar way to natural oestrogen produced by the human body.
By introducing phytoestrogens into your diet, it can help to alleviate some of the uncomfortable side effects of menopause. Food rich in phytoestrogens could even help to lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Popular in vegan cuisine, soybeans are found within plant-based products, such as tofu and tempeh. They can be eaten alone, or enjoyed whole as edamame.
Edamame beans are green, immature soybeans that are often sold frozen. Be aware, sometimes edamame beans are sold unshelled, in their inedible pods – make sure you remove the pods before enjoying.
Rich in protein, minerals and vitamins, both soybeans and edamame have been linked to many health benefits and are known to help regulate oestrogen levels within the body.
Good news if you are a fan of snacking on dried fruits. Dried fruits are nutrient-rich, delicious, and easy to enjoy as an afternoon snack.
They are also a potent source of fibre, vitamins, and various phytoestrogens. In fact, dates, prunes, and dried apricots are known to possess the highest levels of phytoestrogens – so if you are struggling, add some of these to your shopping list!
Sesame seeds are small, fibre-packed seeds that are commonly found in Asian dishes to add a delicate crunch and nutty flavour.
They are also very rich in phytoestrogens, and other key nutrients to support a healthy diet.
Studies have shown, these tasty little seeds can not only increase oestrogen in postmenopausal women, but also improve overall blood cholesterol.
Berries have long been prized for their numerous and impressive health benefits. They are natural antioxidants, loaded with vitamins and tasty as a snack, or healthy breakfast option.
Some berries are also rich in phytoestrogens, especially strawberries, cranberries, and raspberries.
Usually found in healthy breakfast cereals, Wheat bran is a concentrated source of phytoestrogens, particularly lignans.
Research has shown that high-fibre wheat bran can help to support and regulate oestrogen levels within the body. It also has a healthy amount of fibre to support overall health and bowel movement.
Made from coagulated soy milk pressed into firm white blocks, tofu is a popular vegan dish and contain the highest number of phytoestrogens of all soy products.
Tofu is high in protein and contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. It also provides fats, carbs, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Cruciferous vegetables are just a fancy name for cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Usually, a tasty addition to a traditional roast dinner, these vegetables are packed full of health nutrients and vitamins for the body.
Cauliflower and broccoli are rich in secoisolariciresinol, a type of lignan phytoestrogen; and brussels sprouts and cabbage are rich in coumestrol, another type of phytonutrient that has been linked to oestrogen regulation.
Made from soybeans, tempeh is a fermented soy product and popular meat replacement in both vegetarian and vegan diets.
Tempeh is not only an excellent source of protein, prebiotics, vitamins, and minerals but also a rich source of phytoestrogens, especially isoflavones
Oestrogen foods – The bottom line
Whilst all these foods may support your overall health and alleviate some of the unpleasant symptoms of menopause, if you are struggling you should seek professional advice.
There are plenty of treatments out there to help you through the menopause, including
bioidentical hormone replacement therapy which is specifically tailored around you and your individual needs.
It replenishes the exact hormones that you are deficient in to alleviate the unpleasant side effects of menopause and restore the body to optimum performance.