One of the best ways to achieve optimal body composition is to improve estrogen metabolism because this will lead to better hormone balance in the body. High estrogen levels are a problem for both men and women. Too much estrogen is associated with greater cancer risk, a higher body fat percentage, and low muscle mass.
If you don’t get certain nutrients in your diet, you won’t be able to metabolize excess estrogen effectively. This article will provide ten dietary tips to help the body safely metabolize estrogen.
#1: Eat High-Quality Protein
High-protein foods such as fish, meat, beans, and eggs provide the amino acids necessary for the liver to metabolize estrogen. A side benefit of high-protein foods is that they help to control appetite and reduce overall energy intake for leanness. This is key because fat tissue releases estrogen, so minimizing body fat is necessary for safe estrogen levels.
#2: Avoid Sugar
Eating too much sugar has been found to turn off the genes that regulate testosterone and estrogen. When this happens, release of the binding protein SHBG is reduced. SHBG binds to estrogen, making it unavailable to have its estrogenic impact. Lack of SHBG leads to unchecked estrogen circulation and causes unfavorable imbalances between estrogen and other hormones.
#3: Get Your Healthy Fats
The omega-3 fats that come from fish, such as salmon and mackerel, promote estrogen metabolism down a pathway that is associated with healthy cells rather than cancer. Another benefit is that fish oil decreases levels of aromatase, which is an enzyme that turns testosterone into estrogen. In fact, high levels of aromatase in the ovaries is the reason women have so much more estrogen than men.
#4: Eat Seeds: Sesame, Fenugreek & Flax
Besides being a delicious addition to salads and stir fries, seeds provide a kind of fiber called lignans, which can bind to estrogen in the digestive tract so that it will be readily excreted from the body. Seeds also increase levels of SHBG, protecting the body from estrogen, while simultaneously improving balance of other hormones.
#5: Eat Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower & Spinach
Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called DIM that is very effective at promoting healthy estrogen metabolism. In fact, research shows that people with higher levels of DIM and a related compound called glucoraphanin have lower cancer rates due to how they help the body safely eliminate estrogen from the body. Other cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts.
#6: Avoid Alcohol Besides Red Wine
It’s pretty important to eliminate beer, liquor, and white wine because alcohol increases levels of aromatase in both men and women. But teetotaling isn’t necessary. Research shows that red wines that are rich in antioxidants help remove estrogen from the body and protect against DNA damage. Naturally, moderation is still called for!
#7: Drink Green Tea
Women who drink more green tea have lower breast cancer rates, which is likely due to the powerful anti-aromatase action in tea. Another benefit: Green tea is packed with antioxidants that protect cells from damage due to excess estrogen.
#8: Add Lemon To Your Tea
Lemon and other citrus fruits provide powerful antioxidants (hesperidin and quercetin) that protect against damage from estrogen. They are also rich in fiber for better gut function. Best of all, citrus fruits are packed with the compound D-limonene, which increases liver enzymes so the body is better able to metabolize estrogen.
#9: Ensure Healthy Vitamin D
Vitamin D is another inhibitor of aromatase and studies show it is very effective at improving estrogen metabolism. In studies of men, increasing vitamin D level to the “optimal range” leads to an increase in testosterone due to less aromatization. In a study of young women, for every 4 ng/ml increase in vitamin D, a 3 percent decrease in estrogen was observed.
#10: Replace Unhealthy Carbs W/ High-Fiber Ones
Less than 3 percent of Americans get the RDA for fiber of 25 grams daily. This shocking deficiency is at least partly due to the overrepresentation of unhealthy, refined carbs that make up a large part of the diet. Dietary fiber is incredibly important for estrogen metabolism because it improves GI health, while ensuring complete elimination of estrogen compounds. Replacing refined carbs with healthy carbs in the form of vegetables, fruit, beans, and select grains will give you the necessary fiber for optimal hormone balance.