Written by Sebastian Pole
Elevated oestrogen dominance are some of the most common factors associated with breast, uterine and ovarian conditions in women. Find out how diet and herbs can help balance oestrogen.
Oestrogen is a catabolic sex hormone that has a large array of roles and influences including including reproduction, digestion, mood, fat-balance, fluid ratios, skin pigmentation, breaking down muscle mass that leads to an increase in body fat and aromatase. Testosterone, and to a slight degree progesterone, are anabolic sex hormones that promote lean body mass.
Aromatase is an enzyme that is found in oestrogen-producing cells located in the adrenal glands, ovaries, placenta, testicles, brain and fat tissue. Higher levels of aromatase in the body convert more testosterone and progesterone into oestrogen. With the increased prevalence of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors, we are exposed to multiple triggers for endocrine disruption.
Elevated aromatase activity and oestrogen dominance are some of the most common factors associated with breast, uterine and ovarian cancers in women. Prostate, colon and breast cancer in men are associated with oestrogen dominance. Other symptoms include PMS symptoms, cervical dysplasia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, decreased libido, fatigue, fibrocystic breasts, headaches, infertility and weight gain.
Foods and herbs that balance oestrogen
1. Cruciferous veggies: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower Brussel sprouts and cabbage contain several powerful nutrients that help metabolise oestrogenic molecules. These nutrients include Indole-3 Acetate, Indole-3 Carbonyl and Diindolylmethane. These cruciferous veggies also contain sulfur containing nutrients such as Sulfurophane and Phenyl Isothiocyanates that enhance liver detoxification processes and destroy cancer cell formation. Broccoli sprouts 50-100g/day are a good way to get this.
2. Healthy fat-rich foods: These are foods that are rich in saturated and omega-3 fatty acids. It includes plant based fats such as coconut oil, hemp seed oil, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. Raw nuts (other than peanuts) and seeds contain oestrogen balancing plant sterols. Organic poultry, wild-caught salmon, wild game and 100% grass-fed beef are the best animal-fats for healthy hormone function.
3. Allium family: The alliums include garlic, onions, scallions, chives and leeks. These are all rich in sulfur-containing amino acids and the powerful flavone anti-oxidant quercetin that both help the liver detoxify and reduce the production of oestrogen.
4. Flavone rich herbs: Dietary flavones and flavonones have been demonstrated to be the most potent aromatase-inhibitory flavonoids. The most powerful flavones include chrysin which is found in passionflower and apigenine which is found in chamomile.
5. Flavonones: These are found in citrus fruits and in particular lemons and limes. They are classically called citrus bioflavonoids and they include diosmin, hesperidin, rutin, naringin, tangeretin, diosmetin, narirutin, neohesperidin, nobiletin and quercetin.
6. Antioxidant-rich herbs: Herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric are loaded with volatile oils that promote liver detoxification. Turmeric has a potent ability to destroy oestrogen receptor positive cancer cells which are the most commonly found cells in breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.
7. Chlorophyll: One of the most powerful life-giving substances on the planet is chlorophyll. This is the pigment that gives green foods their color. Chlorophyll-rich foods have a very deep green color and they are extraordinarily useful in purifying the body of toxins.
8. Fermented foods: These contain organic acids, anti-oxidants, enzymes and probiotics that enhance gut function and eliminatory channels. Fermented veggies include sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented soy.
9. Lignans: Using 2 tablespoons of freshly-ground flaxseed everyday helps to establish a healthy oestrogen balance.
10. Herbal Teas: Green tea and Licorice specifically balance oestrogen levels.
11. Mushrooms: All mushrooms regulate aromatase and regulate oestrogen levels. Use shitake, maitake, button, cep.
12. Lentils: All lentils contain appreciable amounts of phyto-oestrogens that help to balance oestrogen-progesterone levels. Soy is well known for this but all pulses are helpful.