UPDATED October 17th, 2017
When planning menus, we don’t always think about foods that increase estrogen. However, women require estrogen not just for conceiving children, but also after childbirth and especially during menopause, when estrogen levels tend to decrease significantly. Why do you need estrogen exactly? If you’ve got too little estrogen in your system, you’re at higher risk for osteoporosis in addition to some inconvenient and uncomfortable things like vaginal dryness. Your heart, blood vessels, bones, skin, muscles and hair all like to have estrogen in your system to function optimally.
Getting your estrogen fix from phytoestrogens (foods that mimic estrogen in the body) is nothing new. Phytoestrogens are plants with naturally occurring hormones that your body turns into estrogen, most of the time anyway. Jill Blakeway, a licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist and co-author of Making Babies: A Proven Three-Month Program for Maximum Fertility cautions on Babycenter, “Some soy isoflavones work as an estrogen blocker but others mimic estrogen – meaning the body thinks it is estrogen.
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This can cause health problems and make a hormone imbalance worse.” Therefore, as usual, we recommend that you chat with your doctor before going nuts (pun intended—see number 15) on the legumes on this list of 15 foods to increase estrogen.
1. Soybean Products Soy is one of the richest sources of phytoestrogens on the planet, and therefore one of the foods that increase estrogen. Reach for tofu, soymilk or edamame to get your fix.
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2. Flaxseeds Flaxseeds are said to provide three times more phytoestrogens than soybeans but your body will have trouble absorbing them unless they’re ground up prior to consumption. Also called linseed, you may find them added to cereals and breads or enjoy them sprinkled on your oatmeal or yogurt.
3. Seeds Delicious, nutritious seeds are not just for the birds, they happen to be great foods to increase estrogen. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds also help to boost estrogen levels in the body and they taste great as crunchy salad toppings.