Estrogen Dominance Diet
To Balance Hormones
Changes to your diet can have the most profound impact on your estrogen-dominant symptoms. The words food as medicine have never rung truer.
Best Diet For Estrogen Dominance
1. Fiber-Rich Diets
Making sure you get a lot of fiber in your diet is an easy way to help reduce estrogen dominance. Eating lots of whole grains and other fiber-rich foods can help reduce estrogen levels in the colon, according to this PubMed study.
2. Plant-Based Diets
In general, a whole foods plant-based diet is recommended where 75% of your plate consists of vegetables. Meat can still be part of your meal. Remember to treat it like a side dish instead of the main course. This PubMed study found that those who eat a semi-vegetarian diet have lower levels of estrogen than non-vegetarians.Mediterranean Diet
This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, and legumes and includes a lot of fiber. Studies have proven that the Mediterranean diet decreases estrogen levels in women.
Best Foods For Estrogen Dominance
Here are some specific dietary guidelines to follow for better hormone health.
1. Eat Organic
Consuming organic foods can help ensure that you are limiting your intake of pesticides and herbicides that are known endocrine disruptors. On a budget? Follow the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen guide to find out which produce is worth splurging on.
2. Eat Mostly Plants
This is the foundation of a plant-based diet. Remember, eating primarily plant-based does not mean you cannot consume any animal-derived foods. It simply means you emphasize plant-based foods over animal-derived foods. Plants also contain more fiber, which helps to bind up excess estrogen that is then excreted in the stool. Fruits, starchy root vegetables, and legumes are great sources of soluble fiber. Aim to consume fiber-rich foods with each meal.
3. Brassica Family of Vegetables
While all vegetables can positively influence hormone health, the brassica family of vegetables (examples include cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale, and cabbage) is truly a superfood for your hormones. These vegetables contain a special compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C) which helps to modulate the detoxification of estrogen in the liver. I encourage you to get creative and incorporate the brassica family into each meal.
4. Small Amounts of High-Quality Animal Products
For animal-based products, think pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught. These aren’t just buzzwords, science has actually shown that pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught animal products have a better nutritional profile and less environmental toxins compared to conventionally raised meat, seafood, and dairy products. In today’s world, the source of animal product is so important. Whenever possible, if you are eating out or shopping for groceries, go the extra mile to find out the source of the protein.
Side note: mercury is a common concern with fish. Here is a smart seafood buying guide that breaks down which fish contain the least and most amount of mercury per serving.
5. Healthy Fats
Fat intake is critical for hormone production. In fact, fat is crucial for reproductive health, ovulation, and menopausal health. Remember that not all fats are created equal. It’s best to incorporate organic, cold-pressed, and unrefined oils such as avocado, coconut, and olive oil with each meal. Of course, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, pasture-raised eggs, and small amounts of animal-derived fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee, and lard are also great sources of healthy fats. These fats contain high-quality omega-3s and omega-6s which create the backbone of nearly all steroidal hormones. Avoid fats and oils that are highly processed such as canola oil and soybean oil as these are extremely inflammatory to the body.
Gut dysbiosis can be a major contributor to estrogen dominance. It’s important to ensure you are consuming probiotics daily to help create a rich and diverse microbiome. Beneficial flora can help with estrogen detoxification, according to this National Library of Medicine study. Probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut yogurt, and kefir should become a regular part of your diet. In fact, sauerkraut and kimchi are a bang for your buck when it comes to hormone health since you are consuming both beneficial gut bugs and the brassica family of vegetables.
4 Foods To Avoid With Estrogen Dominance
1. Minimize Alcohol
Alcohol is processed through the liver, the same site for estrogen detoxification. Excessive alcohol interferes with estrogen metabolism in the liver, and ultimately leads to greater circulating levels of the hormone in the bloodstream.
In some women, caffeine can also increase estrogen in the body. Try a 30-day alcohol and caffeine-free diet. During this time, you can drink alternatives such as filtered water, herbal teas, and caffeine-free lattes such as turmeric lattes, and note how this change affects your hormone-related symptoms.
3. Processed Food
The Western diet is high in processed food that can wreak havoc on your body. This PubMed study found that this type of diet is associated with high estrogen levels.
4. Refined Sugar and Carbohydrates
The Western diet also included a lot of refined sugars and carbs. Eating these types of food can lead to inflammation and imbalanced blood sugar which can throw hormones out of whack.
Start Eating Foods To Balance Estrogen Dominance
Regulating your hormones doesn’t have to be complicated. Start incorporating fiber-rich foods and replace sugary treats with healthier alternatives. To learn more about estrogen dominance read Healing Estrogen Dominance: Symptoms and Treatment Options.
Written by Pooja Mahtani, PharmD, MS, CNS, LDN. Pooja is a functional nutritionist as well as the founder of Pooja Mahtani Wellness, a virtual functional nutrition practice specializing in gut, immune, and hormonal health. It wasn't until Pooja's own health struggles that she discovered the immense healing power of food. She witnessed firsthand the human body's astonishing ability to heal when given the raw ingredients it needs to perform its job. Pooja has now made it her mission to help her clients achieve optimal health through a combination of cutting edge nutrition science and sustainable lifestyle changes. Her goal is to empower women everywhere with the tools they need for better physical health so they can go on to lead more fulfilling lives.