Not all estrogens are created equal.
There are various forms of Estrogen.
Endogenous estrogens are estrogens produced by the human body.
Phytoestrogens are compounds, produced by plants, with an ability to bind to estrogen receptor sites. Xenoestrogens are human-made chemicals, which are also capable of binding to estrogen receptor sites within your body.
Xenoestrogens are known as Endocrine Disruptors- or hormone disruptors, within Naturopathic and Nutritional Medicine circles. Found naturally in legumes and cereals- which is just one part of the warranted reason why the Paleo folk don’t eat Legumes and grains.
Xenoestrogens are also found in synthetic form such as industrial compounds like PCBs, BPA phthalates and the contraceptive pill. Have you ever seen BPA free on plastic bottles and really not thought much further? Well that symbols is telling you the plastic you are drinking or eating from is Xenoestrogen free. The fuss with consuming the wrong type of estrogen- such as the aforementioned Xeno type, is that they can block your natural hormone production of estrogen- which in turn blocks your ability to reproduce. Xenoestrogens can either block natural estrogen production, or in some cases increase estrogen production- leading to estrogenic cancers. And it is not just in humans this is happening, it is also happening in the wild. Those big industrial leaks you hear about- effects wild life, marine, and bird life in the same way- rendering them also unable to reproduce.
Which estrogen rich foods should you be eating to assist in relieving your Menopause and peri menopausal symptoms?
Flaxseed Absolutely number one- top of the list for estrogen containing foods that we should be eating. Flax contain phyto chemicals called Lignans- we like Lignans, Lignans mimic estrogen and bind to estrogen receptors but dont have antagonistic effects of estrogen. When more plant lignans are consumed, more of your normally occurring endogenous (estrogen within your body) is flushed out of the body- which is a good thing to prevent estrogen dominance. Flaxseeds are the number one way to help get more of the right type of estrogen into your body, you can either eat them directly or add them to other foods, these little mood busters are a must do addition to your diet to assist in balancing hormones naturally. Always grind flaxseed -It basically disappears into soups and smoothies, and can be sprinkled onto a salad without noticing it’s there. A great tip to increase the nutrition of your salad is to add the dressing to a salad first and the flaxseed will cling to it so you get some in each bite.
Sesame Seed and Sunflower seeds
Also contain healthy phytoestrogens- you can also use sesame seed oil if that is easier, both seeds and seed oil contain the lignans required that possess phytoestrogens. I always keep a supply of sesame seeds on hand- black and white for adding to soups or onto a salad. Seeds are best kept in a glass jar in the fridge. They also make a great crust for a chicken breast. Sesame seeds are loaded with fibre and calcium and a great source of minerals. You could always grind them up and voila! Calcium rich Tahini you can dip your Capsicum sticks into!