Nutrition

Top 20 Estrogen Rich Foods You Should Include In Your Diet

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Top 20 Estrogen Rich Foods You Should Include In Your Diet September 19, 2017

What is the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind when they think of estrogen?

Probably a woman with her mood swings all over the place.

Unfortunately, that’s true in most cases. When a woman’s estrogen levels fluctuate, all the metabolic processes in her body go haywire. She goes through bursts of hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, irregular periods, fatigue, frequent headaches, low libido, and the list goes on.

So, what exactly is this estrogen and why does it play such an important role in maintaining a woman’s sanity?

Let’s find out!

Table Of Contents

What Is Estrogen And Why Is It Essential? 

Estrogen is a group of similar hormones that are present in both males and females. In men, it is present in a much less concentration than in women. This little hormone is responsible for making women behave like women.

It oversees the development of female sexual characteristics and is produced mainly in the ovaries (1). The ovaries release estrogen during menstruation and between cycles. These two periods of rise in estrogen levels are alternated by a gradual fall in the levels during a month (2).

Estrogen is a vital hormone due to its countless roles and functions in the body. Apart from regulating menstrual cycles, it also regulates the reproductive tract, urinary tract, cardiovascular system, bones, secondary sexual characteristics, skin, and hair (3).

How do you ensure that your body gets its requirement of estrogen? By consuming foods rich in it. There are plenty of estrogen-rich foods available in the market. Some of the richest food sources are as categorized below.

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What Are Some Estrogen-Rich Foods?

Soy Products: Soy beans, Soy Milk, Soy Yogurt, Tofu

Seeds: Flax seeds, Sesame seeds

Nuts: Pistachios, Walnuts, Peanuts

Dried Fruits: Dried Apricots, Dates, Dried Prunes

Vegetables: Alfalfa Sprouts, Moong Bean Sprouts, Green Beans

Fruits: Peaches, Strawberries

Legumes: White Beans, Black Beans

Beverages: Red Wine

Herbs: Garlic

Grains: Multigrain Bread

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Estrogen-Rich Soy Products

1. Soy

Image: iStock

Soy is one of the richest sources of estrogen. It contains phytoestrogens called isoflavones that affect the estrogen metabolism in the body. Edamame are the pods produced by a soy plant that affect estrogen metabolism.

  • Serving Size – 1 cup
  • Isoflavones – 24 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 103,920 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Soy is best enjoyed roasted. Carry some roasted soy nuts with you to munch throughout the day to curb your hunger pangs. Apart from estrogen, they also contain a healthy dose of nutrients.

2. Soy Milk

Soy milk is also an extremely rich source of phytoestrogens. It is beneficial in providing relief from menstrual problems like cramps or pain by restoring the estrogen levels in the body.

  • Serving Size – 200 ml
  • Isoflavones – 30 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 2957.2 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Soy milk is available in the market in ready-to-drink tetra packs. Have it as a mid-day snack. You can also add soy milk to your breakfast cereal instead of your regular cow’s milk.

3. Soy Yogurt 

Also known as bean curd yogurt, this is made from soy milk, making this yogurt a good source of phytoestrogens.

  • Serving Size – 200 grams
  • Isoflavones – 21 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 10,275 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Soy yogurt can be eaten as it is, along with meals. You can add fruits and nuts to this and enjoy it as a healthy snack.

4. Tofu

Image: iStock

The soy version of cottage cheese, tofu is also made directly from soy milk. Available in soft and firm varieties, this ingredient helps to improve the levels of estrogen in the body.

  • Serving Size – 3 ounces
  • Isoflavones – 20 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 27,150 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Tofu is a versatile ingredient that can be used in soups, salads, or curries. You can also sauté it along with few other veggies of your choice and have it as a side salad or snack.

Seeds

5 Flax Seeds 

Also called linseeds, these are said to contain three times more phytoestrogens than soybeans. Apart from containing estrogen, they are also a rich source of dietary fiber and omega-3 fatty acids and help lower cholesterol levels in the body.

  • Serving Size – 1 tablespoon
  • Isoflavones – 22.5 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 379,380 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Ground flaxseeds can be sprinkled on yogurt, oatmeal, or breakfast cereals. They can also be added to cookies and muffins before baking.

6. Sesame Seeds 

These are quite high in lignans, hormones that help balance estrogen levels in a woman’s body. They are also high in dietary fiber and several vitamins and minerals.

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce
  • Lignans – 11.2 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 8008.1 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

One of the best ways to consume sesame seeds is to make a paste of them, called tahini, and use it as a dipping sauce. You can also add them to your soup, salad, or stir-fried vegetables.

Nuts

7. Pistachios

Image: iStock

Pistachios contain the highest amount of phytoestrogens among all nuts.

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Isoflavones – 49.5 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 382.5 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

They are best enjoyed raw or roasted. You can also add them in a trail-mix and consume with other nuts.

8. Walnuts

Walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts. They are rich in phytoestrogens as well as protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and a wide variety of essential nutrients.

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Isoflavones – 14.9 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 26 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

You can add chopped walnuts to salads or top them over fruits, ice creams, or frozen yogurt. You can also eat them as it is or mixed with other nuts.

9. Peanuts

One of the most commonly available nuts in the market, peanuts are also a good source of phytoestrogens.

  • Serving Size – 1 ounce (28 grams)
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 34.5 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

They add crunch to your salads. They can also be eaten raw or ground into peanut butter and used as a spread.

Dry Fruits

10. Dried Apricots, Dates, And Prunes

Image: iStock

These are healthy snacks that are rich in phytoestrogens as well as fiber. The process of drying these fruits increases the amount of phytoestrogens, vitamins, and minerals in them.

  • Serving Size of Dried Apricots – 130 grams
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 445.5 mcg
  • Serving Size of Dates – 24 grams
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 329.5 mcg
  • Serving Size of Prunes – 248 grams
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 177.5 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

These dried fruits are healthy as well as palatable. They are best enjoyed as a mid-day snack. Carry these with you to munch between meals.

Vegetables

11. Alfalfa Sprouts

These are one of the best choices to boost your estrogen levels. These sprouts are very low in carbohydrates and calories and extremely healthy.

  • Serving Size – 33 grams
  • Isoflavones – 130 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 441.4 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Alfalfa sprouts can be added to your salads, soups, or sandwiches to add a nutritional boost to your meal.

12. Mung Bean Sprouts

These are a great source of phytoestrogens, along with other nutrients like folate, iron, vitamin B-complex, and fiber.

  • Serving Size – 104 grams
  • Isoflavones – 238.99 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 495.1 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

You can have them boiled or raw, either as it is, or added to salads or soups.

13. Green Beans

Image: iStock

These vegetables are very low in calories and high in nutrients. Green beans are also a good source of iron, which improves fertility in women.

  • Serving Size – 110 grams
  • Isoflavones – 42.9 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 105.8 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Green beans can be added to sautéed vegetables or stir-fries. They can also be cooked as a curry and eaten with rice.

Fruits

14. Peaches

These delicious fruits are also very healthy. They are rich in phytoestrogens and have plenty of essential nutrients. Peaches are also said to help reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and cancer (4).

  • Serving Size – 175 grams
  • Isoflavones – 4.55 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 64.5 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Peaches are delicious fruits that can be eaten raw or made into desserts like peach cobblers or peach pies.

15. Strawberries

Strawberries are not only rich in phytoestrogens, but they also possess a multitude of health benefits that include healthy skin and hair, increased energy levels, and a lower risk of obesity.

  • Serving Size – 152 grams
  • Isoflavones – 3.65 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 51.6 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Strawberries can be eaten raw. You can add diced strawberries to plain yogurt, waffles, pancakes or oatmeal. You can also blend strawberries with another fruit, like banana, and make a healthy smoothie.

Legumes

16. White Beans

Image: iStock

White beans are extremely healthy – rich in phytoestrogens, fiber, and nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium. This helps balance estrogen levels in the body.

  • Serving Size – 179 grams
  • Isoflavones – 70 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 72.7 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

There are plenty of ways to enjoy white beans. You can toss boiled white beans in a salad or ground them into a paste and have it as a dip.

17. Black Beans

These are so healthy that they can be consumed every single day. They enhance fertility in women since they are rich in phytoestrogens. They are also a rich source of protein, fiber, antioxidants, and several vitamins and minerals.

  • Serving Size – 172 grams
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 5330 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Black beans taste great when added to soups or salads. You can also make a black bean spread and have it with carrot and cucumber slices.

Beverages

18. Red Wine

Red wine contains a phytoestrogen called resveratrol that increases estrogen levels in the body and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases when you have it in moderation.

  • Serving Size – 30 ml
  • Isoflavones – 4.95 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 53.9 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Red wine is best enjoyed as it is or along with a light snack like roasted peanuts. Drink this in moderation. Physicians recommend not more than 2 servings a day for men and 1 serving a day for women.

Herbs

19. Garlic

Image: iStock

Garlic is very rich in isoflavones and provides a lot of health benefits. It is known to help reduce cholesterol and prevent heart diseases and cancer.

  • Serving Size – 9 grams (3 cloves)
  • Isoflavones – 1.8 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 603.6 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

You can add chopped garlic to soups, salads, sautés, stir-fries, pasta, and stews to add a boost of flavor.

Grains

20. Multigrain Bread

This contains a phytoestrogen known as lignan. This category includes grains like oats, barley, wheat, and rye.

  • Serving Size – 26 grams (1 slice)
  • Lignans – 1244 mg
  • Phytoestrogens (per 100 grams) – 4798.7 mcg
How To Include In Your Diet

Multigrain bread is usually a very common part of our diet. You can make a sandwich or spread peanut butter or cheese over toasted multigrain bread and have it for breakfast or as a snack.

We know which foods are rich in estrogen. But how do we know if we are getting enough of it?

Let’s find out below.

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Are You Getting Enough Estrogen? 

How do you know if you are getting enough estrogen in your diet?

You probably know better when you get it checked at a clinic or a hospital.

But here are some ways for you to ensure that you are doing your bit to maintain healthy estrogen levels in your body.

  • Look out for some symptoms that indicate a hormonal imbalance in the body, like irregular periods, insomnia, hot flashes, erratic mood swings, vaginal dryness, decreased fertility, and loss of bone density (5).
  • Make sure you consume foods that are rich in estrogen. Women do not get estrogen from their diet, but eating healthy foods that are rich in phytoestrogen gives the body a chance to produce estrogen naturally (6).
  • Reduce sugar intake. Research shows that consuming too much sugar is related to an imbalance of testosterone and estrogen levels in the body (7). Replace foods containing refined white flour with whole grains.
  • Make sure to do a moderate workout for about 30 minutes every day.
  • Quit smoking if you are a smoker. In premenopausal women, smoking is associated with menstrual dysfunction, infertility, and early onset of menopause (8).
  • Getting a good night’s sleep (7 to 8 hours) works wonders for the body. Research shows that sleep disturbances determine a woman’s overall health, especially her menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause (9).

All good. But how much of it do we need to consume per day?

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Keep reading to find out.

Daily Recommendation Of Estrogen

Estradiol is a form of estrogen that is prescribed by physicians to treat low levels of estrogen in the body and menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal drying.

It is also commonly prescribed for the treatment of certain cancers.

Here is the recommended dosage for various purposes:

    
Disease ConditionsOral IntakeTopical ApplicationVaginal Ring
Postmenopausal Symptoms0.45 mg to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

0.05 mg to 0.1 mg

For 3 months

Atrophic Urethritis1 to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

0.05 mg to 0.1 mg

For 3 months

Atrophic Vaginitis1 to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

0.05 mg to 0.1 mg

For 3 months

Hyperestrogenism1 to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

Oophorectomy1 to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

Primary Ovarian Failure1 to 2 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

Breast Cancer10 mg

Three times daily

Osteoporosis0.5 mg

Once daily

0.025 mg to 0.1 mg/day

Once-twice weekly

Prostate Cancer1mg to 2 mg

Three times daily

 But what if you do not want to take medications to increase your estrogen levels? Are there any natural ways of doing so?

Of course! Let’s see what they are.

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Natural Estrogen Supplements

Not everybody wants to take medications to increase their estrogen levels. For such people, there might be a few alternative natural treatments. Some of them are listed below:

  • Phytoestrogens

These are plant estrogens that are naturally present in some foods. They are widely promoted as the “natural alternative” for women who undergo estrogen replacement therapy or have had a hysterectomy. Isoflavones are the best form of phytoestrogens and are present in soy products. It is said that about 1 g of soybeans contains 1 mg of isoflavones. Safe daily consumption is said to be 50 mg of isoflavones (10).

There are certain herbs like thyme and sage that contain estrogen-like compounds. These compounds mimic the effect of estrogen and help to balance its levels in the body.

  • Bioidentical Hormones

These hormones are so termed since their molecular structure is similar to the hormones that women produce naturally in their bodies. Bioidentical hormones are made from plant chemicals that are extracted from yams and soy (11).

Bioidentical Hormone Therapy is a natural method since these hormones act just like the ones in the body, and the body cannot differentiate between the two.

  • Black Cohosh

A few women use this to treat symptoms like hot flashes, menstrual cramps, and premenstrual syndrome. Studies are being done on black cohosh for years, but there is no strong evidence that supports this claim (12).

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Need more clarity? Here are some common questions that are answered for you.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Do all men have estrogen?

Yes, they do. But in a much smaller concentration than women.

Are “natural” alternatives safer or more effective than hormone therapy?

The FDA does not have evidence regarding natural methods. But studies show that they are effective as alternate methods.

Conclusion

It is important to realize that any hormone, specifically estrogen, can have adverse effects on the body if its levels are imbalanced.

It affects our metabolism, sexual function, and prevents premenopausal syndrome. Estrogen also works to balance and improve our cholesterol levels and overall bone health.

Such an important hormone should not be neglected. Consume about 30 mg to 50 mg of estrogen-rich foods daily, and we bet you will never have to worry about a painful menopause. Moreover, you will have a happy and trouble-free life.

References

  1. “What Is Estrogen?”
  2. “Estrogen and Women’s Emotions”. WebMD Medical Reference. July 2017.
  3. “Estrogen’s Effects on the Female Body”. University of Rochester Medical Centre. Paula Goode, Daniel Sacks.
  4. “Health Benefits of Peaches: A Summer Fruit”. Rutgers University. June 2015.
  5. “Perimenopause”. Perimenopause. Mayo Clinic. Oct 2016.
  6. “How Your Diet Affects Your Hormones During Menopause”. Healthline. March 2016.
  7. “Too Much Sugar Turns Off Gene That Controls The Effects of Sex Steroids”. Child and Family Research Institute. Nov 2007.
  8. “Cigarette Smoking and Effects of Hormone Function in Premenopausal Women”. Environmental Health Perspectives. Oct 2005.
  9. “Sleep, Sleep Disturbance and Fertility in Women”. Sleep Med Rev. Aug 2015.
  10. “Are Phytoestrogens a Natural Alternative to Estrogen Replacement Therapy”. Milo Gibaldi. Oct 2000.
  11. “What Are Bioidentical Hormones”. Harvard Health Publications. Aug 2006.
  12. “Black Cohosh”. Black Cohosh. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Sept 2016.

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