Estrogen and progesterone are the two primary hormones produced by a woman's ovaries. These hormones play an important role in several different processes in your body. Estrogen is essential for the synthesis of bone tissue and the elasticity of your skin, reports the Cleveland Clinic, as well as for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. When estrogen levels are out of balance, you may have difficulty conceiving if you are a woman of childbearing years. Women entering menopause often have symptoms related to decreasing estrogen production, including hot flashes and insomnia. Fortunately, certain foods contain substances called phytoestrogens, which can help balance your hormonal levels.
Increase your consumption of soy products, such as tofu and soy milk. According to the website Dietary Fiber Food, soy products are naturally high in phytoestrogens known as isoflavones. These substances act like estrogen in your body, helping to supplement the amount your body is able to produce. Many soy products can be substituted for commonly consumed dairy-based products, such as cheese and milk, so you can add soy to your daily plan without preparing a special dish.
Eat at least one serving of a cruciferous vegetable daily. The cruciferous vegetables, which include broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, provide your body with several essential nutrients. Cruciferous vegetables are also a source of phytoestrogen compounds that can help balance your hormones. These vegetables are naturally high in dietary fiber, which can help decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which tend to become more prevalent as you age.
Add flaxseeds or flaxseed oil to foods such as yogurt, cereal and baked goods. According to Dietary Fiber Food, flaxseed contains antioxidants and phytoestrogens in the form of lignans. Flaxseeds contain more than twice the phytoestrogens found in soy products and can reduce your risk of estrogen-dominant breast cancer as well as symptoms of menopause. Flaxseed oil is also available in capsule form as a dietary supplement, available at your local health food store.
Eat strawberries and apricots as part of your daily diet. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, these fruits are rich in lignans, which are converted into phytoestrogens in your digestive system. In contrast to the estrogen produced by your body, phytoestrogenic activity is subtle and may actually impair the action of estrogen. Impaired estrogen utilization by your body can reduce the risk of cancers that are driven by estrogen.
- Check with your doctor before making significant changes to your diet.
- Cleveland Clinic: Hormone Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions
- Dietary Fiber Food: Phytoestrogen and Its Food Sources
- Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University: Soy Isoflavones
- Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University: Cruciferous Vegetables
- Dietary Fiber Food: Flax Seed: Health Benefits and Side Effects of Flax Seed Oil and Ground Flax Seed (Meal)
- Linus Pauling Institute, Oregon State University: Lignans
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.