Estrogens are a group of natural steroid hormones which play a vital role in the growth and development of female sexual characteristics. Although they are secreted in the bodies of both men and women, they are present in significantly larger amounts in women, more so in women of prime reproductive age.
Secondary sexual characteristics, that shape the variations between men and women, are determined partly by this steroid hormone. In women, these characteristics showcase themselves in the development of breasts, widening of the pelvis, and magnified amounts of body fat in the thigh and hip region. This hormone has a direct bearing on the fact that women tend to have less facial hair and softer skin when compared to men.
A Brief Introduction
Estrogen also plays a significant role in regulating the activities of the reproductive organs in women. They consist of an entire class of hormones which are produced by the ovarian follicles during menstrual cycle and also by the placenta during pregnancy. The liver, breasts and adrenal glands also contribute to the production of this hormone, though in smaller quantities. The level of estrogen secreted by the body primarily depends on two hormones LH (interstitial cell stimulating hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) produced by the hypothalamus in the brain. Therefore, mental stress precipitates a hormonal imbalance in the body, which may lead to further problems.
Women who are at the threshold of menopause are prone to experience excessive fluctuation in their estrogen levels. A high level of estrogen may cause cramps or insomnia, where as a drop in the level may cause fatigue, osteoporosis, a condition which makes the bones brittle or may even lead to depression. To combat this fluctuation, non-steroids are sometimes prescribed to maintain optimal levels of estrogen. This may have huge side effects. Hence, estrogen, which is taken naturally, is much preferred. And this where estrogen foods come into play.
Here is a list of the top ten estrogen rich foods which contain high levels of estrogen.
1. Flax seeds:
Flaxseeds are also commonly referred to as linseed. The phytoestrogens present in them are referred to as lignans. The seeds are generally ground and used in breads, cereals and salads to boost the absorption rate. Linseed has the most quantity of phytoestrogens: 379,380 mcg per 100 g. There are about 85.5 mg lignans in one ounce of linseed.
Tofu, also called bean curd is produced from soymilk and is high in phytoestrogens called isoflavones. Tofu is available in soft to firm varieties and may be used in soups and certain main courses. 3 ounces of tofu offers 20 mg of isoflavones or 27,150.1mcgof phytoestrogens per 100 g.
[ Read: Uses of Calcium ]
Soybeans are one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens. The intake of foods rich in estrogen like these is known to provide relief from the symptoms of menstrual cycle in women. Edamame are the pods which are produced by soy plant. These are a great choice for snack as they pack a nutritional punch. One cup contains 24 mg of isoflavone or 103,920 mcg of phytoestrogen per 100 g.
4. Soy yogurt:
Soy yogurt or bean curd yogurt is the yogurt made from soy milk. A cup of this yoghurt contains about21mg of isoflavones or 10,275 mcg of phytoestrogens per 100 g.
[ Read: Sources of Hemoglobin ]
5. Sesame seeds:
Sesame seeds also contain phytoestrogens known as lignans. These are used to make a wide variety of dishes and can also be sprinkled on top of certain appetizers. One ounce of sesame seeds contain 11.2 mg of lignans, or 8008.1mcg of phytoestrogens 100 g.Comparatively,sunflower seeds or helianthus seeds have less phytoestrogens, with 216mcg per 100g.
6. Multi-grain bread:
Whole grains like oats, barley, rye and wheat have phytoestrogens known as lignans. The number of units per weight depends on the concentration of the whole grains in the bread.
[ Read: Foods Rich in Sodium ]
Soy milk is a beverage made from soy beans. It is rich in phytoestrogens called flavones. One cup of soy milk contains about 30 mg of flavones or 2,957.2 mcg phytoestrogens per 100 g.
Hummus is a type of food made using boiled and mashed chickpeas. It can be used as a dip or a spread. It provides 993 mcg of phytoestrogens per 100 g.
Garlic which belongs to the onion family is also a source of isoflavonoids with about603.3mcg of phytoestrogens per 100 g.It is one of ingredients which is widely used in cuisines the world over.
10. Dried apricots, dates and prunes:
Dried apricots are a far higher supply of phytoestrogens than natural apricots. Dried apricots contain 445.5 mcg of phytoestrogens per 100 g. Dried dates with 329.5 mg of isoflavoids per 100g and dried prunes with 177.5mcg per 100 g are also good sources of estrogen.
Eating a diet rich in the above mentioned products along with good quantities of fruits and vegetables would not only ensure a smooth transition into menopause for women, but also safeguard their overall health and well-being.
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