Estrogen is an important hormone that is present in both males and females, albeit in different ratios. In women, it forms the reproductive organs and is an important factor in regulating the menstrual cycle. As women age (especially near menopause), their hormone levels change resulting in a decrease in both estrogen and progesterone. Although both hormones decrease in production, the greater drop in progesterone can cause an estrogen imbalance, also known as estrogen dominance.
Estrogen dominance is a concern because it has been linked to a variety of unpleasant health conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, decreased libido and an increased risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer.
Thankfully, there are some natural ways that may help to balance your hormones and reduce your risk of estrogen dominance. Here are a few tips:
-Reduce your exposure to products containing hormone disruptors such as parabens (found in cosmetics) and phthalates (found in plastics)
-Reduce your exposure to pesticides as they may interfere with female hormonal function
-Eat organic fruits and vegetables wherever possible
-Reduce stress and get proper rest
-Consider taking indole-3-carbinol and flaxseed supplements as they may help support healthy levels of estrogen.
Food For Thought: Is Soy Dangerous?
The relationship between soy and human health is complex and has been debated for years in the medical community. In fact, the Harvard Medical School comments that soy may be one of the most well-studied topics in nutrition to date. When it comes to women’s health, soy products have raised an eyebrow due to their estrogen-like chemicals called isoflavones. Although the debate continues, a recent comprehensive 2017 study in the journal Cancer, reports that soy may not pose a health risk for women with breast cancer after all and is associated with reduced all-cause mortality. While more research is needed on the topic, the general recommendation is to avoid processed soy products such as soy isoflavone supplements, soy protein powders, and textured vegetable protein. On the other hand, natural soy foods such as organic soy beans (edamame) and tempeh, in moderation, seem to provide some health benefits when eaten along with a balanced, healthy diet.
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