Do you go through bursts of hot flushes, mood swings, irregular periods, and fatigue? All these could indicate a fluctuation in your estrogen levels. Estrogen is a group of hormones present in men and women, but it is present at a much lower concentration in men, than in women. This hormone monitors the development of female sexual characteristics. It is a vital hormone that plays a huge role in the proper functioning of a woman's body.
Why Is Estrogen Important?
The ovaries release estrogen during menstruation and between monthly cycles. During this phase, the estrogen levels see a gradual rise and fall. Apart from regulating menstrual cycles, estrogen is essential in the functioning of the reproductive tract, cardiovascular system, urinary tract, secondary sexual characteristics, and for healthy bones, skin and hair.
When a woman's estrogen levels fluctuate, it leads to disturbance in the metabolic process of her body. Therefore, she can go through various symptoms that indicate imbalance in estrogen levels.
Symptoms Of Estrogen Imbalance:
Mentioned below are just some of the symptoms associated with fluctuation in estrogen levels.
• Bursts of hot flushes
• Mood swings
• Weight gain
• Irregular periods
• Frequent headaches
• Low libido
• Night sweats
• Joint pain
• Difficulty in concentrating
• Vaginal dryness
• Memory lapses
• Dry skin
• Hair loss
How Can You Maintain Healthy Estrogen Levels Through Your Diet?
Estrogen can have adverse effects if its levels are low, as it can affect sexual function and metabolism, and it is essential to prevent premenopausal syndrome. It works to improve your cholesterol levels and bone health.
So how do you ensure that your body gets its daily requirement of estrogen? It's simple. Consume at least 30mg to 50 mg of estrogen-rich foods daily. On doing so, you will never have to experience a painful menopause, and you can enjoy a trouble-free life.
There are plenty of estrogen-rich foods available in nature. We have compiled 15 foods that are the richest source of estrogen. Take a note.
1. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are the richest source of estrogen, and they occupy the topmost position in the list of foods containing phytoestrogen (a plant-nutrient with functions similar to that of natural estrogen). One serving (one tablespoon) of flax seeds contain 379,380 mcg of phytoestrogens per 100 gm. Apart from estrogen, they are also a rich source of dietary fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Flax seeds can be powdered and sprinkled on your cereal, yogurt, or can be added to cookies before baking.
2. Soy Products
Soy is a rich source of estrogen. It contains phytoestrogens and isoflavones that affect estrogen metabolism in the body. One cup of soy product contains 103,920 mcg of phytoestrogen (per 100gm) and 24 mg of isoflavones. Just munch on some roasted soy nuts through the day as a snack. Soy milk is also a rich source of phytoestrogen, providing relief from menstrual problems like cramps. Alternatively, soy yogurt and tofu can also be used, as it is also a good source of phytoestrogens.
All nuts are rich sources of phytoestrogens. However, pistachios, walnuts, and peanuts are the best source. They can be enjoyed raw or roasted, and can be consumed by mixing with other nuts. Apart from phytoestrogens, they are also rich sources of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and other essential nutrients.
4. Dry Fruits
Dry fruits, particularly, dates, apricots, and prunes are rich in phytoestrogens, fibre, vitamins, and minerals. The dry fruits are healthy and palatable. They are best enjoyed as a mid-day snack.
5. Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are high in lignans, a hormone that helps in balancing estrogen levels in a woman's body. They are high in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. An ounce of sesame seeds contain 11.2mg of lignans and 8008.1 mcg of phytoestrogens. They can be made in the form of a paste and used as a dipping sauce, or can be included in salad, soups, or stir-fries.
Sprouts such as alfalfa are low in carbohydrates and calories, and hence are very healthy. They are great estrogen boosters. So is the case with mung bean sprouts, as they contain essential nutrients like iron, folate, fibre, and vitamin B-complex, apart from being a rich source of phytoestrogens. They can be boiled and added to salads.
7. Green Beans
These veggies are low in calories and high in nutrients. They are also a great source of iron and improve fertility in women.
These delicious fruits are rich in phytoestrogens and also offer several essential nutrients. They also reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Strawberries are one of the richest sources of estrogen. Apart from being a high source of phytoestrogen, they also provide various health benefits including healthy skin, hair, high energy levels, and lowers risk of obesity.
10. White Beans
White beans are rich in phytoestrogens, fibre, folate, and calcium and help in balancing estrogen levels in the body. They can be boiled and added to salads or ground to paste and used in gravies.
Did you know, our everyday herb garlic, is rich in isoflavones too, apart from the host of other health benefits that it provides? So, add plenty of them into your servings of soups, salads, and stir-fries.
Whole grains contain a phytoestrogen called lignan. Wheat, barley, oats, and rye belong to this category. To gain their benefits, you can include them as cereals, or go for multigrain breads.
13. Dairy Products
Your mother was right when she used to compel you to drink up that glass of milk. All dairy products including paneer (cottage cheese) and tofu are all rich in phytoestrogen. So do not avoid them.
Legumes, particularly chickpeas, are a good source of phytoestrogen. The popular hummus, made out of chickpeas has about 993 mcg of estrogen every 100 gm. So make sure you include it in your diet.
Yes, coffee has made it to this list. Recent studies reveal that women who consume at least two cups of coffee a day are believed to have higher estrogen levels than those who do not. However, you need to have organic coffee to see the difference in results.