Top 4 Classes of Food That Balance Our Body’s Estrogen
ByJoanne Aponte, ND •December 8, 2022
Several of women’s health issues are driven by high levels of estrogen in the body. Conditions of high estrogen include fibrocystic breasts, ovarian cysts, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), irregular menstrual cycles and breast cancer. To have a healthy balance of estrogen in the body we need to support proper estrogen metabolism and elimination. We also need to reduce sources of xenoestrogens (estrogen mimickers) found in food. Estrogens are primarily broken down and metabolized by the liver. The bacteria in your gut also help package up and clear out estrogens. The purpose of this diet is to support the liver, build a healthy and diverse gut microbiome and to reduce sources of estrogen found in foods.
A high fiber diet is key in helping to build a healthy and diverse microbiome. Fiber helps reduce a compound known as beta-glucuronidase. This compound is produced by non-beneficial gut bacteria and causes your body to reabsorb estrogens instead of eliminating them in the stool. Then end result is higher estrogen in the body, and we do not want this.
Eating foods that contain compounds called IC3 and DIM (indole-3-carbinol and diindolylmethane) also help balance estrogens. These compounds help your liver metabolize and breakdown estrogens, including the environmental estrogens that we don’t want. The cruciferous veggies are highest in these compounds.
Phytoestrogens are also helpful. These are found in legumes, soy and flaxseeds. Phytoestrogens are very weak forms of estrogen and do not act like your body’s own stronger estrogens. Phytoestrogens help compete with these stronger estrogens in your body, particularly the synthetic estrogens that we are getting from our environment.
To maintain a healthy estrogen balance, eat these foods:
- Foods that feed your liver – dark green leafy vegetables (kale, Swiss card, collards, dandelion greens, beet greens), Onions, Garlic, Beets, Radish, Artichoke, Spices (rosemary, parsley, cilantro, turmeric)
- High fiber foods that feed the microbiome Fiber sources include all vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, legumes, lentils and whole grains. Aim for 40-50 grams per day (our ancestors ate more like 100 grams per day!!)
- Cruciferous vegetables – cauliflower, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, Brussel sprouts, Bok choy. Aim for 2 cups per day (Source of IC3 and DIM)
- Organic soy (tempeh, tofu, miso) – 2 times per week
- Legumes – all kinds (black beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc)
- 1- 2 Tbsp of ground flax seeds (fiber and phytoestrogen)
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.