The body is a complex machine, and when hormones become imbalanced, it can cause many uncomfortable symptoms. Hormonal imbalance symptoms in women are especially common during menopause. One way to help balance your hormones is through lifestyle and diet changes.
We’ll include a brief overview of estrogen and follow that with a list of the top six estrogen-boosting foods for menopausal women.
What Is Estrogen, and Why Is It Important for Women’s Health?
Estrogen is a hormone that plays a vital role in many of the processes in a woman’s body, such as puberty, fertility, and menopause. It is sometimes referred to as the “female hormone” because it is present at much higher levels in women than men. As a result, estrogen plays a crucial role in bone health, reproductive health, and overall well-being.
It affects nearly every organ system in the female body and has a variety of roles — from regulating menstrual cycles and increasing libido to promoting youthful skin and healthy bones. When estrogen levels are balanced and maintained at optimal levels throughout life, it helps to ensure better physical and mental health for women of all ages. However, depression symptoms in women may arise when estrogen levels are imbalanced, along with other hormonal imbalance symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, fatigue, and irritability.
Replacing Estrogen Lost During Menopause
While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is one option for replacing the estrogen that is lost during menopause, certain foods can also help naturally boost your estrogen levels.
The foods we’re about to introduce are on our list because they contain phytoestrogens. These compounds naturally occur in plants and have a chemical structure similar to our body’s estrogen. When consumed, these phytoestrogens can interact with the body’s estrogen receptors and provide certain benefits.
Here are our top six foods for a much-needed estrogen boost for menopausal women:
1) Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are a great source of phytoestrogens. Studies have shown that flaxseed consumption can increase levels of circulating estrogens, making them an effective way to boost estrogen levels naturally. Additionally, flax seeds contain lignans which are known to be powerful antioxidants and may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer. A little added bonus.
How to incorporate flax seeds into your diet – Grind flax seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle them on salads, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, or cereal.
Soy is a popular plant-based food that has been linked to boosting estrogen levels. Soy contains isoflavones, which act like estrogen in the body and can potentially decrease the risk of breast cancer. Studies suggest that soy consumption may have a link to raising serum estrogen in humans, which is good for women and potentially problematic for men. Something to be mindful of when consuming soy products.
How to incorporate soy into your diet – Tofu, edamame, and tempeh are all excellent sources of soy. Try adding them to salads, soups, or stir-fries for a boost of estrogen.
3) Nuts and Seeds
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, pistachios, and other seeds such as pumpkin and sesame seeds are all great sources of phytoestrogens. They are also rich in healthy fats and protein. So, in addition to getting a boost of estrogen, you’ll also get a healthy dose of nutrients.
How to incorporate nuts and seeds into your diet – Add a handful of mixed nuts or seeds to smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt for breakfast; use them to top salads and stir-fries; or snack on them throughout the day.
Legumes like chickpeas, lentils, black beans, and kidney beans are another great source of phytoestrogens. They are also loaded with fiber, protein, other minerals, and vitamins your body needs. You’ll find them in various dishes, from hearty soups to delicious curries, as they’re staples in many cuisines worldwide.
How to incorporate legumes into your diet – Try adding them to salads, soups, or stews; use them as an accompaniment for meals; serve hummus with vegetables for a healthy snack; or blend them into veggie burgers.
5) Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, peaches, carrots, celery, and cabbage all contain phytoestrogens. They are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help protect against disease. When incorporated into your daily diet, these foods can help to boost your estrogen levels naturally.
How to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet – Add them to smoothies or juices; use them as toppings for salads, sandwiches, or pizzas; or use them in soups, casseroles, and stir-fries. And, of course, there’s always eating them on their own.
Most people will be happy to see this one on the list. Garlic is a powerful antioxidant and has been linked to reducing inflammation, improving cholesterol levels, and even fighting cancer. It’s also a great source of phytoestrogens, making it an effective way to boost your estrogen levels naturally.
How to incorporate garlic into your diet – Use it as a flavor enhancer in sauces, soups, and stews; add it to veggie dishes for a boost of flavor; or make roasted garlic as an accompaniment to meals.
Eat Your Way to Healthy Estrogen Levels
Incorporating these estrogen-boosting superfoods into your daily diet can naturally replenish the estrogen lost during menopause. This, in turn, can help to reduce menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and loss of libido.
But if you’re still experiencing severe symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor. Hormonal imbalance symptoms in women can signify more serious issues, and you’ll want to ensure they’re addressed as soon as possible. Simple hormone testing and working with a doctor can help you get to the root cause of your symptoms and find an effective solution.