FACT: Oestrogen dominance creates hormone havoc.
The environmental exposure to oestrogen is at an all time high in western countries and is as threatening to men as it is to women. Xeno-oestrogens (environmental oestrogens), which mimic the effects of oestrogen, are abundant in pesticides, plastics and car fumes, as well as hormones found in non-organic poultry which means than many of us are exposed to these in everyday life.
There is a direct link between ‘middle age spread’ and oestrogen dominance. Progesterone production drops significantly after women reach their mid thirties and likewise, along with a decrease in testosterone, in men when they reach their mid-forties, meaning that oestrogen becomes the dominant hormone. It acts like a fat magnet and stores weight around our middle, increasing the strain on our vital organs and cardiovascular system. Fatty tissue produces oestrogen which supports the body’s ability to store oestrogen. So no matter which diets you try or how hard you exercise, you won’t be able to lose this weight until you address the underlying hormone imbalance.
Oestrogen dominance has also been linked to BPH and testicular cancer in men, which has trebled in the last 30 years. In women, conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, and heavy periods can also be linked to oestrogen dominance. The bottom line is that hormone imbalance is very real, very relevant and very manageable with the right guidance.
Tips to overcome Oestrogen Dominance
- Increase your consumption of fruit, vegetables and salad greens. Choose organic to reduce exposure to xeno-estrogens.
- Choose wholegrain foods that contain all parts of the grain, e.g. oats, , rice, spelt, barley, rye, triticale, and millet (avoid gluten containing grains if gluten intolerant/coeliac). Limit quanties if trying to lose weight.
- All of the above are comlex carbohydrates which are effective in optimising oestrogen metabolism rather than simple carbohydrates, which raise blood glucose and insulin levels, adversely influencing hormone balance. Plus they are also a good source of dietary fibre, which binds to oestrogen in the digestive tract to facilitate excretion.
- Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are important cofactors for enzymes involved in oestrogen detoxification. Low intake of B-group vitamins can lead to increased levels of circulating oestrogen. Good sources are leafy greens, legumes, eggs, nuts, and seeds, especially linseeds/flaxseeds.
- Increase dietary phytoestrogens. These oestrogen-like plant compounds, found in legumes, alfalfa, and flaxseed, bind to oestrogen cell receptors and protect them from accepting the more damaging xenoestrogens.
- Eat iodine-rich foods such as Japanese sea vegetables (kombu/wakame/nori). Even a mildly low thyroid function can cause an imbalance of other hormones, such as oestrogen and progesterone. Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus) is a traditional thyroid remedy that provides a plentiful supply of iodine.
- Increase ‘good’ fats in your diet by eating more cold water fish, free-range eggs, avocadoes, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, macadamia nut oil, and raw nuts and seeds. Research shows that good fats, especially the omega-3 oils, assist in inflammatory conditions.
- Limit intake of saturated fats, found in red meat, chicken, deli meats and dairy foods. If you are going to consume any of these in moderation, ensure they are grass fed or organic.
- Stay well-hydrated by drinking 1.5–2 litres of filtered water daily. This will detoxify your system and reduce fluid retention.
- Get moving with light to moderate exercise 3-5 times a week. Regular exercise leads to weight loss and improves your capacity to deal with stress.
- Quit smoking and reduce alcohol. Alcohol places extra stress on the liver, a major organ that assists in balancing your hormone levels. In addition, research shows that regular alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk.
- Take targeted supplements to assist with oestrogen clearance such as liver detoxifying lecithin, inositol, glycine, taurine, methionine, glutathione, choline and diindolemethane (DIM).
- Take herbal detoxifiers such as milk thistle, rosemary, garlic, dandelion root and globe artichoke.
- Manage stress and anxiety. Stress has a major affect on your hormone balance. Do things that you enjoy and follow your passion!
The Natural PCOS Diet
My book, The Natural PCOS Diet with bonus e-book, The Natural PCOS Cookbook are a must-have for women suffering from oestrogen dominant PCOS. Find detailed information on symptoms, causes, the role of environmental oestrogens and the best diet plan for PCOS. These books uncover the secrets on overcoming PCOS naturally. Read more here: The Natural PCOS Diet.