Power Foods to Reduce Estrogen Dominance
When it comes to hormone problems, we know that food can be your best friend or worst enemy! By that, I mean that what you eat greatly impacts how your body makes hormones, uses them, and then gets rid of them after they’ve done their job. So many women I’ve coached have suffered unnecessarily from Estrogen dominance – thanks to a collection of factors like diet, environmental exposure, and lifestyle, it’s one of the most common hormone imbalances women experience today. I talk about this in my book, How To Eat, and share over a hundred recipes to help optimize hormones, vitality, and performance.
If you’re experiencing common symptoms of estrogen dominance as I spoke about in my post on social media, the first step to reverse estrogen dominance naturally is to incorporate foods that can help and avoid the ones that make estrogen dominance worse.
What causes estrogen dominance?
Estrogen dominance is a term given to a type of hormonal imbalance where estrogen levels are out of balance. This is usually due to two factors:
Your body isn’t metabolizing excess estrogen, or
You have too much estrogen compared to the hormone progesterone
Either way, a hormone imbalance will likely impact your health in numerous ways. If you have other hormone issues, like PCOS or endometriosis, you may also have an underlying estrogen dominance issue. Some symptoms of estrogen dominance overlap with common PCOS symptoms, like irregular periods, infertility, or weight gain.
Symptoms of estrogen dominance include:
Painful breasts, especially before your period
Heavy periods with severe cramps
Weight gain, especially around your hips and middle
Depression, anxiety, irritability
The best way to treat estrogen dominance through diet and lifestyle
What you eat and how you live your life daily has the biggest impact on hormones in your body. Certain foods can either help move excess estrogen out of the body or slow it down. A healthy diet can promote normal estrogen levels, fertility menstrual cycle regularity, and even reduce the risk of cancer.
Without natural hormone balance, estrogen dominance increases risk for problems including:
Some types of breast cancer
Changing how you eat to promote healthy estrogen metabolism is the best way to reverse estrogen dominance naturally. Follow these basics when designing an estrogen-dominant diet.
Eat a fiber-rich diet
Fiber is crucial for healthy bowel movements, which is the main way for excess estrogen to exit the body. Fiber is a natural source that binds to estrogen excreted by the liver and brings it into the intestinal tract for elimination while preventing estrogen reabsorption. The bottom line is if you’re not “going” every day, you likely have too much estrogen going on.
Aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, but start slowly and drink plenty of water. The easiest way to do this is to stick to a whole-food diet with plenty of plant-based foods. The most fiber-rich fruits and vegetables include broccoli, pears, raspberries, and lentils. If you’re in need of more fiber, try adding ground flax seeds to a smoothie or oatmeal.
Get pre- and probiotics
Your microbiome regulates many detox processes in the gut, and that includes how estrogen is processed. Friendly bacteria in the gut promote estrogen metabolism and reduce the number of bad bacteria that convert estrogen into more damaging forms—like the type that increases the risk of breast cancer.
These friendly bacteria also support overall digestive function, healthy skin, and energy production. Fuel your microbiome with prebiotics such as fiber, and probiotics—which are live bacteria found in fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and miso. I also recommend using a prebiotic fiber supplement as it can be challenging to incorporate these foods daily. My go-to is Zinobiotic and can be purchased HERE
Aim for half your body weight in ounces of water per day. I always try to consume close to a gallon/day while living in a warm climate and daily exercise. Water is the simplest and easiest form of detox for your whole body, helping to remove toxins and excess estrogen. Bonus if you’re to filter your water to help remove xenoestrogens from the environment. Try not to use water in plastic bottles as the materials used in plastic are hormone disruptors.
Top foods for estrogen dominance
Broccoli, kale, and cauliflower
These cruciferous vegetables are naturally rich in a sulfur-containing compound called diindolylmethane or DIM. This substance supports the function of liver enzymes that make the “good” kind of estrogen. They also promote regularity and detoxification by assisting in estrogen metabolism.
Cruciferous veggies also contain another type of indole, indole-3-carbinol, or I3C. IC3 has been shown to reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers by reducing how much estrogen is available in the body and by promoting detoxification (1).
Aim for about 1-2 cups of cooked cruciferous vegetables per day.
Flax seeds are high in lignans, a type of phytoestrogen. But don’t be fooled by the name—phytoestrogens don’t actually contribute to harmful levels of estrogen already in your body. They are plant-based estrogens that bind to estrogen receptors in the body, and in doing so they help reduce levels of circulating estrogen.
To get the benefit of flax seeds, always consume them ground, and store in a cool place to preserve freshness. Aim for about 1 tablespoon per day.
All sprouts, including alfalfa, broccoli, and clover, contain a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane helps the body to flush out excess estrogen by activating detox enzymes in the liver. In one study, women who ate 2 servings of broccoli sprouts per day for four weeks had significantly lower estrogen levels than women who did not (2). Sprouts are best eaten raw or lightly steamed.
Kefir and yogurt
Kefir is a fermented milk product that contains live and active cultures. Live and active cultures from kefir or yogurt support friendly bacteria that make up your estrobolome, or the collection of specialized microbes in your gut responsible for breaking down and using estrogen.
The healthier your estrobolome is, the better you’ll process and eliminate estrogen from your body.
Omega 3s are found in cold water fish like salmon and mackerel, chia seeds, and even avocados. Omega-3s are a special type of fat that’s vital to the production of “good” estrogen, and the detoxification of the less favorable kinds of estrogen (3). Healthy fats also support the production of progesterone to help balance out estrogen. My go-to supplement for ensuring I meet my daily Omega 3 target is Balance Oil, which is a synergistic blend of the worlds purest Norwegian Fish Oil, a polyphenol to support absorption and vitamin D. You can get yours HERE.
Psyllium husks are a type of soluble fiber that helps to bind estrogen in the gut and promote regularity. They also help to reduce inflammation and fuel beneficial gut microbes. Psyllium powder can be found online and in most health food stores.
These tiny seeds pack a powerful punch of magnesium—almost 40% of the RDA in just a 1 oz handful! Magnesium helps the body clear excess estrogen by upregulating an enzyme in the liver that promotes the normal metabolism of estrogen (4). If you have low function of this detox enzyme, known as the COMT enzyme, adding more magnesium to your diet could help reduce estrogen dominance. Other rich sources of magnesium include hemp seeds, dark leafy greens, and dark chocolate (no added sugar please!)
Bell peppers, citrus, kiwi, and Brussels sprouts
These foods are rich sources of vitamin C to help your body make progesterone, which is incredibly important if your estrogen dominance is due to a high ratio of estrogen to progesterone. In this case, helping the body to make more progesterone can help mediate many symptoms of estrogen dominance.
Foods that make estrogen dominance worse
You should avoid foods that slow down estrogen detox in the gut or in the liver, which are sadly, the general components that make up the majority of so many of our diets, like:
Non-organic soy, meats, and dairy
Excess caffeine and alcohol
Estrogen-like chemicals are also found in some plastics, so avoid using plastic containers for food or water storage.
By following these simple dietary tips, you can help reduce estrogen dominance and balance your hormones naturally. Remember it’s a lifestyle, not a fast fix. Stay consistent and you’re going to start to see and feel improvements. If you think you might have estrogen dominance, it’s important to have your hormones tested and interpreted by a medical professional who specializes in Hormone Health or Women’s Health. It’s important to know that hormones in the ‘normal range’ aren’t always ‘Optimal ranges’ for you to feel and look your best. It’s important that your symptoms are considered and that your hormones are optimized so that YOU feel your best!
Consider home blood testing for hormones HERE. *Save 25% off all kits with code RYALL25
Schedule an E-Consult with me to take a deeper dive into your hormones and lifestyle HERE