Testosterone is the hormone associated with masculinity as estrogen is for women. Did you know even a male body produces estrogen, and it is an equally important hormone that needs to be balanced for better health?
Although known as a female hormone, estrogen is required in smaller quantities in men as well, for a variety of functions. But there are many reasons why your estrogen levels may spike up, leading to a hormonal imbalance that can result in many serious health problems such as obesity, erectile dysfunction, and even infertility. There many ways to get your hormones back in balance and your diet plays a major role.
There are certain foods that you can include in your diet which help lower your estrogen levels and then there are some other foods that raise your estrogen levels, so you need to avoid those. Read on to learn about the importance of balancing your estrogen, foods you should eat and foods that should be avoided to lower your estrogen levels.
Estrogen Dominance in Men
Estrogen and testosterone are two hormones that are naturally produced in both men and women. These hormones are chemical messengers of our body, and they play a significant role in fertility, libido, mood, health, and several other functions.
Teenage boys and young men in their twenties have high testosterone and low estrogen levels. But with aging, the testosterone level decreases, and estrogen increases. This results in some unpleasant symptoms like gynecomastia ( enlarged breasts), reduced muscle mass, fatigue, water retention, bloating, erectile dysfunction, and low libido.
Excessive estrogen levels can also lead to an increase in body fat or obesity, contributing to high lipids and diabetes. Prostate and urinary problems experienced by middle-aged men are also associated with estrogen dominance.
There are several factors that lead to estrogen dominance and hormonal imbalance in men. Such factors that increase estrogen levels include aging, excessive consumption of alcohol, obesity and when you get exposed to estrogen from foreign sources.
High estrogen can also be the result of some medications you are taking. This rise in your estrogen levels can also be due to unknown factors and it starts affecting various functions of your body, especially your reproductive health. To avoid such health issues you should learn to balance your estrogen levels.
15 Foods For Lowering Estrogen in Men
Making some changes in your diet is a great way to manage your estrogen level. Specifically, there are certain foods that can help to reduce the estrogen level in your body and some foods that raise it.
First let’s discuss some estrogen blocking foods that you can add to your diet and then the ones you need to avoid, to lower your estrogen levels and bring hormonal balance.
1. Soy Products
The whole foods made of soy contain a high amount of plant estrogen known as phytoestrogen. These phytoestrogens mimic estrogen and push out your body’s own estrogens. Thus by consuming phytoestrogen, you can reduce the estrogen levels in your body. Another compound in soy, isoflavones have anti-estrogen properties. The isoflavones present in soy-based products bind to estrogen receptors that weaken the estrogen.
According to a scientific study conducted in 2006, plant estrogens seen in soy can block the estrogen effects and also provide a protective effect against cancer. Low estrogen level is associated with reduced risk of prostate cancer in men.
One cup serving of soy-based food per day is enough to experience its health benefits. Go for unprocessed edamame, soybeans, or unsweetened soy milk. You can add soymilk to your soups or cook your vegetables in it.
Summary: Phytoestrogens present in soy helps in the removal of excess estrogen from your body. Soy also contains isoflavones that block estrogen activity. Adding soy to your daily diet can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
2. Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables, such as, cauliflower, arugula, cabbage, bok choy, radish, and Brussel sprouts have high amounts of phytochemicals that help to block estrogen in your body. Indol-3-Carbinol is a compound present in large amounts in these cruciferous vegetables, which helps in the conversion of stronger estrogen to a less active and weaker version. It helps in estrogen metabolism and prevents estrogen build up in your body. It also reduces free radical formation.
Cruciferous vegetables also contain bioactive compounds called isoflavones, which bind to estrogen, reducing their effect. Scientific studies have also revealed that these isoflavones prevent your body from converting testosterone to estrogen. These studies have stated that cruciferous vegetables reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men.
Aim to have at least two bowls of such cruciferous vegetables every day. In some of these vegetables, the benefits of phytochemicals are more when cooked and in some, it is when eaten raw. Make sure you add both types of cruciferous vegetables to your diet.
Summary: Phytochemicals and isoflavones present in cruciferous vegetables are estrogen blocking agents. A compound called Indol-3-Carbinol, found in high amounts in these vegetables, make estrogen less active.
3. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds are filled with micronutrients called polyphenols that are known to reduce estrogen levels. Flax seeds are rich sources of lignans,a type of polyphenol found in pants. These lignans act as phytoestrogens that bind with estrogen to reduce their effect and sometimes even block the estrogen. According to Oregon State University, flax seeds contain a high amount of polyphenols, which result in reduced estrogen in the bloodstream.
A scientific study conducted in 2004 has stated that flax seeds contain phytoestrogens, which alter the metabolism of estrogen, thus helping in the prevention of chronic diseases. Though in some people, flax seeds reduce estrogen, the composition of phytoestrogen is similar to that of estrogen. Sometimes it may mimic the symptoms of estrogen predominance. If you experience such symptoms, consult your doctor or dietician.
Flax seeds are easily accessible and can be added to your diet. Add them to your everyday cooking to reduce estrogen levels. Sprinkle two tablespoon of ground flaxseeds on your salad or add them to your favorite smoothies.
Summary: Polyphenols present in flax seeds reduce the estrogen concentration in your blood. Lignans present in these seeds block the estrogens and mitigate their effects. They also contain phytoestrogens that not only lower estrogen levels but also helps to avoid chronic diseases.
Phytochemicals present in mushrooms are known for their medicinal effect. These phytochemicals block the enzyme aromatase from producing estrogen. Aromatase helps in the conversion of androgen into estrogen. By including mushrooms in your diet, you can prevent the production of new estrogens in your body. The anti-estrogen property of mushrooms can also reduce the risk of cancer.
There are different kinds of mushrooms available such as white button, baby button, shiitake, portobello, and crimini, which can help to block the production of estrogen in your body. Make sure you select organic mushrooms for your diet. Mushrooms also contain a good amount of vitamin D. A healthy salad can be made with raw mushrooms and other veggies. Add your favorite sauce to make this healthy snack delicious. A daily serving of the size of your thumb is also enough to experience its health benefits.
Summary: Enzyme aromatase blocking phytochemicals are present in mushrooms. This prevents the production of estrogen leading to reduced estrogen levels and also reduces the risk of cancer.
5. Red Grapes
Another food that helps lower estrogen is red grapes. In the skin of the red grape, there is a chemical known as “resveratrol” while the seeds of the red grapes contain “proanthocyanidin”. Both these chemicals block the production of estrogen. To get all the benefits of these chemicals, you should eat red grapes with skin and seeds. Choosing seedless grapes will not help much with your estrogen issues.
A study conducted by Northwestern University has revealed that the health benefits of red wine are associated with this estrogen-blocking property of red grapes. It confirms that the resveratrol present abundantly in the skin of red grapes helps to reduce estrogen and it also reduces the occurrence of heart disease.
Add red grapes to your diet; they are easy to clean and consume. Either you eat them alone or add them to your salad with other vegetables to make it delicious. Also, try to choose organic fruits free from added chemicals.
Summary: Skin of red grapes contain resveratrol and seeds contain proanthocyanidin, both known for estrogen blocking properties. For better results eat grapes with skin and seeds.
Fiber is the main ingredient of all plant-based foods, and it carries some major health benefits. Foods rich in fiber, such as unprocessed whole grains and fruits, reduce the concentration of serum estrogen in your body.
It is recommended to have 10 grams of fiber per day, and this can be achieved by eating fibrous vegetables and fruits. So make sure to add fiber-containing foods such as oats, wheat, corn rice rye, millets, avocados, and berries to your daily diet.
When you add more fiber to your diet, you will not only lower your estrogen levels but it also greatly benefits your overall health. A high fiber diet is associated with various health benefits including reduced risks of heart diseases, cancer, and diabetes.
Summary: Fiber-filled foods can reduce the serum estrogen levels in your body. It is recommended to have 10 grams of fiber daily.
7. Green Tea
Green tea is known for offering many health benefits. It has antioxidant properties. Green tea is an abundant source of polyphenols which inhibits the enzyme aromatase, an enzyme that converts androgen to estrogen. By inhibiting the formation of estrogen, it reduces estrogen level in your body.
When you add green tea to your diet, it helps you to overcome the symptoms of estrogen dominance. A scientific study suggests that intake of green tea modifies estrogen metabolism, significantly reduces estrogen concentration, and thus reduces the risk of cancer. Two to three cups of green tea every day is enough to reap its most health benefits.
Summary: Polyphenols present in green tea inhibits the aromatase enzyme, which reduces the formation of estrogen. Having green tea every day can help you to lower estrogen levels along with other health benefits.
Pomegranates have impressive anti-inflammatory effects and are a great source of nutrition. When it comes to estrogen, it is believed that pomegranates change the way your body responds to estrogen.
Polyphenols present in pomegranates block the activity of the enzyme aromatase. This aromatase enzyme helps in the synthesis of estrogen and pomegranates by blocking this enzyme, reduces the estrogen level.
Scientists during a cancer study found out that pomegranates exhibit anti-aromatase activity. It is also believed that pomegranates greatly help in reducing the risk of cancer. Pomegranates also provide fiber.
Summary: This nutritious fruit pomegranate contains polyphenols that block estrogen production. Its anti-aromatase activity may help reduce the risk of cancer.
Curcumin is the main chemical present in turmeric. It is well known for its medicinal effects and is used abundantly by Ayurvedic practitioners. Turmeric is used in the Indian Ayurvedic Healing System for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A study conducted in 2013 reveals that curcumin can affect estrogen levels. Mainly the anti-inflammatory effect of turmeric improves the metabolism of estrogen in your body. Turmeric also supports the liver, thus helping in the removal of excess estrogen from your body. This detoxification ability of turmeric helps to balance your hormones.
Turmeric is an ayurvedic spice that can be easily added to any of your dishes. Drink warm milk by adding a pinch of turmeric to support your overall health. Always look for organic, non-irradiated, and USDA certified turmeric to avoid any toxic adulterants.
Summary: Turmeric reduces the estrogen level by increasing its metabolism. It strengthens your liver, helping it to remove excess estrogen and other toxins from your body.
Kale is the king of leafy vegetables and is known for its super powers when it comes to health. It is considered one of the healthiest foods on the planet as it has many beneficial compounds that boost your health. What interests us here though is that Kale is quite high in phytochemicals that reduce estrogen levels. Their anti-estrogen property also helps reduce the risk of cancer. Phytochemicals may prevent cancer cells from multiplying.
Kale belongs to the cabbage family. There are different varieties of kale such as those with green or purple leaves and they have smooth edges or curly shapes. Kale is a very low-calorie food that is densely packed with nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin C, and beta-carotene along with various flavonoids and polyphenols.
Summary: Kale is a leafy vegetable that’s rich in phytochemicals which helps reduce estrogen levels. It also has plenty of antioxidants such as omega-3, vitamin C, and beta-carotene.
5 Foods to Avoid to Lower Estrogen Levels
The above mentioned 10 foods should be included in your diet to reduce your estrogen levels. Given below are certain foods that may increase your estrogen levels and are best avoided while on an anti-estrogen diet.
Alcohol consumption does no good for your body and results in many health consequences. Drinking alcohol raises the estrogen concentration in your blood which also increases the risk of cancer.
Researchers have claimed that chronic alcoholism leads to hypogonadism, infertility, and testicular atrophy, which are all signs of increased estrogen in your body. If you are experiencing any such symptoms, you should stop or reduce your alcohol intake and seek medical help.
Summary: Alcohol is known for many health consequences; it may cause hypogonadism and infertility by increasing estrogen levels.
2. Dairy and Meat
All animal products tend to have some amounts of estrogen in them. Many antibiotics and hormones are used by the dairy and meat industry. Female animals are given a high amount of estrogen so that they produce more milk.
Eating these products can increase estrogen levels in your body. A 2013 study revealed that estrogen levels are high in meat-eaters and they also had an increased risk of cancer.
If you need to reduce your estrogen levels, then switch from cow’s milk to soy milk or other healthy sources of protein. Be careful about the meat you buy, check labels carefully for added preservatives.
Summary: The present dairy and meat industry uses many antibiotics and preservatives that leads to estrogen dominance in your body.
3. Legumes such as Chickpeas
Legumes like chickpeas, red beans, and green peas are otherwise considered healthy but have more estrogen than you think. Hummus made of chickpea can worsen your estrogenic symptoms. Reduce the consumption of these legumes to balance your estrogen levels.
A study was conducted to evaluate the effects of legumes on estrogen activity, and the results show that several legumes are associated with high levels of estrogen activity.
Summary: Though legumes are a healthy addition to your diet, certain types of legumes may increase your estrogen activity. It is better to avoid them if you are suffering from symptoms of estrogen dominance.
4. Energy Drinks and Caffeine
When you drink excessive caffeine or sugary drinks, your body can not focus on eliminating excess estrogen. It exhausts your adrenal glands leading to increased estrogen levels which get accumulated in your body.
Replace these drinks with herbal teas, or healthy smoothies, which can support the detoxification process of your liver. Using natural health products is the key to overcome estrogen dominance in your body. Instead of using added sugar, use natural sweeteners such as honey, dates, or maple syrup but in small quantities.
Summary: Excessive caffeine may reduce the elimination of estrogen from your body, which results in an increased concentration of estrogen in your body.
A fungus known as zearalenone may be present in some grains, such as wheat, maize, and rice, and this can promote estrogen production.
A 2014 study from Brazil noted that more than 32% of the 5000 cereal samples they tested were contaminated with this fungus. If you are having estrogen dominance, then it may be better to limit your grain intake as it is difficult to ensure that a product is zearalenone-free.
Summary: Zearalenone is a type of fungus present in grains such as rice, wheat and maize. It encourages the production of estrogen in your body. So it’s best to limit your consumption of grains if you are estrogen dominant.
Other Lifestyle Factors That Help Balance Estrogen Levels
It is believed that with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, you can help to lower your estrogen levels. Your diet, liver health, inflammation, and environmental factors all play a crucial role in your estrogen level. Few lifestyle changes and the right diet can help you to balance your estrogen levels.
- Consume clean and healthy food and enough water to support your liver health. The liver helps to remove toxins from your body and is essential for preventing estrogen dominance.
- Stress alters your body’s metabolism resulting in inflammation, obesity, and estrogen dominance. Reduce stress in your life by practicing meditation and mindfulness.
- Many chemicals present in processed food mimic estrogen, resulting in symptoms of estrogen dominance. These chemicals cause toxicity and can also be carcinogenic. Try to avoid these chemicals and opt for natural and organic food.
- Sleep well, ideally 8 hours of undisturbed sleep every night, is recommended.
- Make some lifestyle changes like exercise or workout to get rid of the extra fat. Exercising to remove excess body fat helps reduce estrogen levels as estrogen is produced by not just the adrenal gland, but by your fat cells as well.
The Final Note
Some people think that estrogen is a female hormone, but estrogen plays an essential role in men too. Generally, women have higher levels of estrogen, and men have high testosterone. But for your body to work smoothly, you need to have a balance between both these hormones. These hormones help in the development of sexual functions and reproductive organs.
But too much of this hormone causes many side effects too. Enlarged breasts, infertility, and erectile dysfunction are the main symptoms. If you are experiencing any changes due to this hormonal imbalance, do not fear; few simple lifestyle changes and diet that can help you to feel your best again.
Consumption of food that blocks estrogen, and healthy habits like exercise, and de-stressing practices, can greatly help you to reduce your estrogen levels. By following the above mentioned anti-estrogen diet you can easily overcome the symptoms of estrogen dominance in your body. These foods can be included in a low-fat, high-fiber diet that also helps you reduce weight and improve your overall health.