Estrogen is the name given to an important group of compounds that affect the growth and function of tissues throughout the body, including the tissues responsible for reproduction. It plays a significant role in maintaining cardiovascular function, helps keep our bones healthy, and has a strong influence over our mood and behavior. In other words, both men and women need estrogen in appropriate levels to maintain optimum health.
Unfortunately, most of us live in a world that is detached from nature. Our environments are becomingly increasingly polluted, our lifestyles are becoming more sedentary and our food is much more toxic than ever before. All of these factors can greatly destabilize our estrogen levels, causing us to suffer from fatigue, low libido, insomnia, depression, cravings, weight gain, and many other symptoms associated with a hormone imbalance.
For this reason, it’s important that all of us make some effort to help stabilize our estrogen levels. This article provides three major steps that help us achieve this important, health-boosting goal.
Decrease Our Body Fat and Improve Our Diet
Decreasing our body fat is a great way to help stabilize our estrogen levels, since fat tissue increases our levels of aromatase, the enzyme that turns testosterone to estrogen. Additionally, a study published by the American Association for Cancer Research notes that high body fat increases the incidence of “cancers arising from tissues responsive to estrogenic stimulation, including endometrium, breast, and prostate.”
The two greatest steps we can take towards maintaining low body fat is to eat a diet rich in organic whole foods and to exercise regularly (ideally both cardio and strength training). Foods high in beneficial fatty acids, such as avocados and raw coconut oil, are known to be especially effective at normalizing estrogen levels, as are adaptogenic foods that stimulate the adaptive mechanisms of our body, such as maca and ashwagandha. Moreover, we will also benefit from the removal of estrogenic foods, such as unfermented soy products, which contain substances that mimic estrogen and can contribute to endocrine dysfunction.
Supplement Our Diet with Essential Nutrients
Though an improved diet alone can significantly normalize our estrogen levels, we can help accelerate the process by supplementing our diet with nutrients that are known to help metabolize estrogen in the body. The best of these nutrients include magnesium and vitamin B6 (which play important roles in estrogen clearance by the liver), omega-3 fish oils, melatonin, selenium, and zinc. The powerful antioxidant vitamin E is also known to aid estrogen elimination and can inhibit the growth of prostate and breast cancer cells.
Minimize Our Exposure to Estrogen Imitators
Minimizing our exposure to estrogen imitators is another important step towards stabilizing our estrogen levels, but it is also the most difficult one, since estrogen imitators are virtually everywhere. Perhaps the most notorious of these imitators is bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic compound used to make certain plastics, but diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) are some of the many other estrogen imitators lurking in our environment.
According to a 2011 study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, simply eating a diet that contains minimal packaging (i.e., a fresh food diet) can substantially reduce our exposure to BPA and DEHP, though avoiding plastic products in general, unless we can confirm that they are free from pollutants, is a more secure strategy. Furthermore, drinking water that has been purified by reverse osmosis or distillation will ensure that we’re not inadvertently consuming these hormone-disrupting chemicals.