Oestrogen dominance rates have been growing largely as a result of environmental, dietary and lifestyle factors that contribute to inflammation and hormone imbalances – luckily, there are a few things we can do to reduce our risk for the condition, starting with what we put on our plate.
Oestrogen dominance occurs when the levels of the sex hormone, estrogen, are elevated too high in relation to progesterone levels. Estrogen performs a number of functions, from initiating reproductive development, supporting egg development and ovulation to promoting bone and heart health. When things fall out of balance, you may develop some of the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Hair loss
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular periods
- Lower sex drive
- Uterine fibroids
- Fibrocystic lumps in breasts
- Unexplained weight gain
- Cold hands and feet
You might know some of the foods to avoid – like excess added sugar due to its inflammatory nature. It can also promote weight gain and obesity, and excess body weight – especially that which is stored in the waist, thighs and hips – is one of the biggest triggers for oestrogen dominance. This is because the fat tissue stores and absorbs higher levels of this hormone, leading to a greater circulation of oestrogen in the bloodstream. To make matters worse, this fat synthesises oestrogen from other hormones like progesterone, furthering the risk for hormonal havoc. This cycle of reduced progesterone and increased oestrogen then cause oestrogen dominance. But there are also a number of foods you’ll want in your corner in the fight to prevent or treat oestrogen dominance – and while these foods won’t cure the condition, they can reduce the effects.
Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds called indoles, which can help to reduce the levels of oestrogen in the body. Indoles help to break down oestrogen into less harmful forms, which can then be eliminated from the body.
Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, which are compounds that can help to regulate oestrogen levels in the body. Lignans are able to bind to oestrogen receptors in the body, which can help to reduce the effects of excess oestrogen.
Turmeric is a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine that contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and can also help to regulate oestrogen levels in the body. Studies have found that curcumin can inhibit the growth of oestrogen-responsive breast cancer cells and may also help to reduce the risk of developing other reproductive health conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome.
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