Foods that Raise Estrogen

With toxins in the environment creating havoc on the endocrine system, we best take care of what we eat. Which foods are rich in Estrogen, and which to avoid?

Estrogen and Testosterone are two important hormones in both male and female bodies. They play a role in many different physiological functions.

Researchers have long been interested in the relationship between these hormones and food. Some foods seem to influence hormone levels more than others.

In this blog post, we will explore some of those foods that raise estrogen and their potential health benefits.

Key Takeaways

  • Estrogen is needed by both male and females, but the role in plays in men is different – primarily sexual and reproductive function
  • Estrogenic-rich food are plenty and include a variety of products like soy, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts
  • There are more benefits than drawbacks to eating foods high in estrogen, and this is backed up by research

Why We Need Estrogen

Estrogen (one of the major sex hormones) is present in both males and females, however it is present in greater quantities within women. In men, estrogen plays an integral role in regulating libido, sexual function, and sperm development. [1]

What Foods Boost Estrogen Levels?

There are a variety of estrogen-rich foods that people can add to their diet. The estrogen found in these foods comes from a naturally occurring compound called phytoestrogens.

The 4 main types of phytoestrogens: isoflavones, coumestans, lignans, and stilbene. These can be found in a variety of different foods but mainly found in plants and grains. They are structurally similar to estrogen and function identically to estrogen in the body.

Here are the top foods that can help raise estrogen levels:

Soy Products

Foods that Raise Estrogen

Foods like soybean are one of the few foods around that are rich in protein, has all the essential amino acids that can be found in meat, and contains high quality natural estrogen. This estrogen comes in the form of isoflavones (a phytoestrogen) that has been shown to mimic estrogen in the body.

Some people believe that soy can cause feminization in men, but studies have shown that men who consume a diet-rich in soy does not elevate estrogen levels to dangerous amounts in the body, give men breasts, or impact testosterone levels. In fact, another study showed that consumption of soy helped lower blood pressure in adults.[2][3]

Some estrogenic soys include: tempeh, tofu, soy milk, soy protein, edamame, tofu based meat alternatives (such as tofurkey, tofu-bacon, and tofu hot dogs).

Grains

Foods that Raise Estrogen

Grains are another food that may raise estrogen levels and a food that people often overlook to do just that. Much like soy, grains contain phytoestrogens in the form of lignans. Lignans are a type of phytoestrogen that has been shown known to be a “natural” form of hormone replacement therapy and have been shown to reduce the risk developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even colon cancer.[4]

Some estrogenic grains include: barley, oats, brown rice, wheat germ, whole wheat bread, and rye.

Seeds & Nuts

Foods that Raise Estrogen

Certain seeds and nuts like flax seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios and almonds are the perfect source of estrogen. These estrogen-rich foods are high in lignans, isoflavones, and also contain healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Nuts like pistachios and almonds can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by improving blood flow and cholesterol levels. So you might be benefiting in more ways than one when snacking on these estrogen-rich foods.[9]

Some estrogenic seeds & nuts include: pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and flax seeds.

Legumes

Foods that Raise Estrogen

Legumes are under-appreciated because they’re nutrient-dense, and few people are aware that they can raise estrogen levels. According to one research, around 8% of Americans consume legumes on a daily basis. [5]

Some estrogenic legumes include: lentils, black beans, kidney beans, lima beans, pinto beans, and chickpeas.

Other Foods High in Estrogen

Garlic

Garlic isn’t just for warding off vampires and potentially ruining a first date. Garlic has been shown to have a number of health benefits that range from reducing the risk of cancer to boosting cognitive function. [6][7]

One study showed that garlic oil consumption may help prevent bone mineral loss caused by estrogen deficiency. This is because garlic oil can possibly increase estrogen levels in the blood. Although the research was done on rats, it was a promising beginning that may lead to additional estrogen-rich foods being investigated for their role in bone health and estrogen production.[8]

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is a delicious and nutrient-rich snack that’s perfect for on-the-go. What many people don’t know is that dried fruit is estrogenic due to its high concentration of phytoestrogens. They contain higher amounts of estrogen levels than their fresh counterparts because the estrogen is more concentrated when the water is removed.

Apricots, in particular, is one of the foods high in estrogen when dried.

Other high estrogen dried fruits: apricots, dates and prunes.

High Estrogen Food: The Bottom Line

There are a number of estrogen-rich foods that have numerous health advantages and can outweigh any potential hazards when eaten in moderation.

For most, these foods are already foods that may be part of your diet. If not, they’re easily accessible and can be incorporated into your diet with little effort. So go out there and add some of these estrogenic foods to your diet and enjoy the health benefits that they have to offer!

Ranjith Ramasamy, Jason M. Scovell, Jason R. Kovac, Larry I. Lipshultz, Elevated Serum Estradiol Is Associated with Higher Libido in Men on Testosterone Supplementation Therapy, European Urology, Volume 65, Issue 6, 2014, Pages 1224-1225, ISSN 0302-2838, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2014.01.012

Reed KE, Camargo J, Hamilton-Reeves J, Kurzer M, Messina M. Neither soy nor isoflavone intake affects male reproductive hormones: An expanded and updated meta-analysis of clinical studies. Reprod Toxicol. 2021 Mar;100:60-67. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2020.12.019. Epub 2020 Dec 28. PMID: 33383165.

Taku K, Lin N, Cai D, Hu J, Zhao X, Zhang Y, Wang P, Melby MK, Hooper L, Kurzer MS, Mizuno S, Ishimi Y, Watanabe S. Effects of soy isoflavone extract supplements on blood pressure in adult humans: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials. J Hypertens. 2010 Oct;28(10):1971-82. doi: 10.1097/HJH.0b013e32833c6edb. PMID: 20577121.

Slavin JL. Mechanisms for the impact of whole grain foods on cancer risk. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Jun;19(3 Suppl):300S-307S. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2000.10718964. PMID: 10875601.

Larson NI, Perry CL, Story M, Neumark-Sztainer D. Food preparation by young adults is associated with better diet quality. J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Dec;106(12):2001-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2006.09.008. PMID: 17126631.

Mondal A, Banerjee S, Bose S, Mazumder S, Haber RA, Farzaei MH, Bishayee A. Garlic constituents for cancer prevention and therapy: From phytochemistry to novel formulations. Pharmacol Res. 2022 Jan;175:105837. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2021.105837. Epub 2021 Aug 24. PMID: 34450316.

https://medicine.missouri.edu/news/garlic-found-protect-brain-against-disease-aging

Mukherjee M, Das AS, Das D, Mukherjee S, Mitra S, Mitra C. Role of oil extract of garlic (Allium sativum Linn.) on intestinal transference of calcium and its possible correlation with preservation of skeletal health in an ovariectomized rat model of osteoporosis. Phytother Res. 2006 May;20(5):408-15. doi: 10.1002/ptr.1888. PMID: 16619371.

Kalita S, Khandelwal S, Madan J, Pandya H, Sesikeran B, Krishnaswamy K. Almonds and Cardiovascular Health: A Review. Nutrients. 2018 Apr 11;10(4):468. doi: 10.3390/nu10040468. PMID: 29641440; PMCID: PMC5946253.

Jimmy Diaz M.S.

Hi I'm Jimmy. I was born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, California and love everything about the west coast lifestyle - the beach, the mountains, and the desert. Like many California natives, I can be a bit of a lot of things. Completed my undergraduate studies in Chemistry from University of California, San Diego and pursued a masters in Reproductive Clinical Science from Eastern Virginia Medical School. I primarily work as a clinical scientist and am also a baby maker (through IVF). I'm also a freelancer, ghostwriter, former D1 athlete, and enjoy everything I do.

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