Inside Scoop: Natural steps you can take to reduce estrogen dominance.
It’s unfortunate news that breast cancer is the most common cancer in women worldwide.
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, and about 2 out of 3 of the diagnosed cases will be hormone receptor-positive. What this means is that they have receptors for the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone and the cancer grows in response to these hormones.
But before we dive into the recommendations, we want to provide you with a brief overview of the primary female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
Estrogen and progesterone are steroid hormones mainly produced by the ovaries from cholesterol. But, our fat cells, our adrenal glands and our gut bacteria can affect the production of one or both of these hormones. They are essential to the development of the female reproductive system, menstrual cycle, child birth as well as regulating cholesterol and mood, and keeping your bones and heart healthy and strong.
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone, and an umbrella for the 3 primary estrogen hormones: estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Estrogen is responsible for creating and regulating the female reproductive system. Therefore, it peaks during reproductive years, and needs proper balance with the other female hormones to be effective at it’s job.
Progesterone belongs to a group of steroid hormones called the progestogens, and is the major progestogen in the body. Progesterone is very important for body functions, especially pregnancy and menstruation.
WHAT IS ESTROGEN DOMINANCE?
Estrogen Dominance can refer to either high levels of estrogen, or high levels of estrogen in relation to progesterone ratio. When that happens, the symptoms tend to look like:
- Anxiety or depression
- Water retention or bloat
- Food cravings
- Weight gain & PMS symptoms (or irregular periods)
- Breast tenderness, cysts or fibroids in the breasts & uterus/ovaries
- Mood swings
- Lack of energy
- Sleep issues
- Memory issues
The good news is that a healthy diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous effect with managing those symptoms, reducing your risk of estrogen dominance, PMS symptoms, as well as keeping your breasts healthy.
OUR TOP 15 SIMPLE STEPS TO HELP REDUCE ESTROGEN DOMINANCE & YOUR RISK OF BREAST CANCER:
1. EAT SIMPLE
Eat a whole food diet filled with fruits, veggies, whole grains and healthy fats. Meals like this Winter Squash, Leek & Vegetable Soup are incredibly nutrient dense, easy on digestion, filled with veggies and simple to make.
Eat organic or pasture-raised if and when possible when it comes to animal products such as dairy, eggs, and meat. In many countries, including the US conventionally raised animals are given hormones (rBGH) to boost milk production and growth, and those do end up on your plate. *Note: rBGH is not approved for use in Canada.
2. ELIMINATE/ LIMIT C.R.A.P. FOODS FROM YOUR DIET
- Carbonated Beverages.
- Refined Sugar.
- Artificial Additives and excess Alcohol.
- Processed Foods.
3. KEEP YOUR LIVER HEALTHY
When the liver is over burdened with C.R.A.P. foods & drinks from your diet, it is too busy dealing with detoxifying them and is unable to properly eliminate harmful estrogens, which then re-circulate inside the body.
These C.R.A.P. foods are also anti-nutrients, which means that they need more nutrients from your body to eliminate them than they give. All the 15 tips will help to keep your liver healthy.
4. FALL IN LOVE WITH FIBRE
Proper elimination is key to eliminating harmful estrogens from the body and avoiding their re-absorption. Fiber increases excretion of estrogens and ensures you have regular bowel movements.
Women need at least 25 grams of fiber per day and you can easily obtain that amount by eating fruits and vegetables; whole grains such as oats, quinoa, brown rice, bulgur wheat and spelt; beans and lentils; and nuts and seeds.
5. RE-BALANCE YOUR GUT FLORA
Unbalanced gut flora can produce harmful estrogens and allow for their reabsorption in the body. As mentioned above, constipation can further aggravate this condition.
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, yogurt and kefir help the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut.
6. START YOUR DAY WITH WARM WATER & LEMON
This stimulates peristalsis-the movement in the bowels that keeps waste moving along the digestive tract and out of the body. Lemons also have a compound called “limonene” that contributes to overall health.
7. EAT DETOX FRIENDLY FOODS
Two of the most potent food groups that help your body’s natural detox pathways are:
- Cruciferous vegetables:(e.g. broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, bok choy, arugula, kale). They contain compounds such as Indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates that help the liver neutralize drugs, chemicals, plastics, herbicides, pesticides and excess estrogen.
- Sulphur rich foods:(e.g. garlic, onion, chives, shallots, leeks, eggs). They help bind to toxins and make them much easier to eliminate.
8. ADD PHYTOESTROGENS TO YOUR DIET*
Phytoestrogens are plant estrogen-like substances. Because they have a similar chemical structure to the hormone estrogen, they can attach to the same cell receptors as estrogen but they are much weaker. Thus, they can replace other harmful estrogens by binding to the same cell sites.
Food sources of phytoestrogens include flaxseeds, sesame seeds, parsley, yams, beans, lentils and fermented soy products like tempeh and miso.
*These foods are great for prevention, however can be counter indicated (especially soy-based foods) if you have already been diagnosed with a hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, so please speak to your medical doctor if you have any doubts.
9. BEFRIEND YOUR HEALTHY FATS
Healthy fats and a balanced omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is important for the overall hormone balance in women.
We need both omega 6 and 3 from our diet in an ideal ratio of 3:1. However, we are exposed to way too much omega 6 from vegetable oils and processed foods and this ratio is currently closer to 20:1. Including avocados, salmon, sardines, olive oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flaxseeds boosts your healthy fat intake, helps rebalance omega 6 to 3 ratio and your hormones.
10. REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO XENOESTROGENS
Xenoestrogens are synthetic estrogens that mimic the natural hormone. They are found in foods (hormones given to animals), plastic containers, water pollution and pesticides to name a few.
One such chemical to avoid is BPA found in plastic containers and the lining of food packaging. BPA has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and thyroid disruption.
11. SWEAT IT UP
Exercise and sweating is one of the best way for your body to get rid of toxins that have been stored in your fat cells and your lymphatic system, including getting rid of xenoestrogens. Find a form of exercise that you love and that you can stick to on a regular basis.
12. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Lack of sleep decreases your melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your day and night cycles and your sleep. It also naturally opposes estrogen. If you are not getting enough sleep, then your melatonin levels go down and your estrogen levels go up.
13. MANAGE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
High stress increases cortisol and progesterone levels, disturbing your estrogen to progesterone ratio. Manage your stress levels by doing things you love on a daily basis whether it is journaling, writing, dancing, listening to music, yoga, meditation or walking.
14. CHECK YOUR VITAMIN D LEVELS
Several studies have shown that low vitamin D levels are correlated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
Get your vitamin d levels checked. This is particularly important if you live in a country like Canada where you do not get enough sun exposure; although, low levels are increasingly common in women that live in warm climates too.
You can get a small amount of vitamin D from foods like salmon, sardines, eggs and mushrooms (if grown in the sun), but the sun is your best source.
If you have low levels and live in a cold country, you may want to consider regularly supplementing during the winter months.
15. KELP IT UP
Having a sluggish thyroid slows everything down, including the removal of harmful estrogens from the body by the liver. Having elevated estrogen as well is a contributor to thyroid conditions.
Consuming iodine and selenium rich foods helps to keep your thyroid healthy*. These include seaweeds such as kelp, nori and kombu and brazil nuts. Just 2 brazil nuts per day provide your daily requirement of selenium.
*These foods may be counter indicated for some autoimmune thyroid conditions, so please speak to your medical doctor if you have any doubts.
What is your experience with Estrogen Dominance and what has worked for you? We would love to hear about your experience as well as any questions you have in the comments below.
Let’s raise awareness and share the simple tips that we can all take to live healthy, happy and whole.
If you’re curious about the best Vitamin D Supplement to buy, or any other hormone supporting supplements, make sure you download our Complete 2018 Supplement Guide from the box below.