Apart from menopause, it is more common for women to suffer from high rather than low oestrogen. However, some women do suffer with low oestrogen without being menopausal.
If your oestrogen levels are low, you may have similar symptoms to those of menopause, such as hot flushes, night sweats, aches and pains in the joints, irritability, low mood, mood swings and lack of concentration.
The good news is that you can do something to help boost your oestrogen levels, for example, by eating plant oestrogens (phyto-oestrogens) which are found in certain foods which can reduce the symptoms of low oestrogen if you eat enough regularly.
You may need to be patient as it can take up to three months to see a difference. You should eat these foods regularly at least 2 or 3 times a day, every day, to get the most benefit, so try to add some into every meal.
To get maximum benefit from phyto-oestrogens, make sure that the bacteria in your gut is healthy by eating fermented foods such as:
Sauerkraut : the probiotics in sauerkraut can help to improve the balance of bacteria in your gut
Kefir : a fermented milk drink that tastes like a yogurt drink, just watch the sugar levels in some of the flavoured ones
Gherkins : these are low in calories and are a great source of healthy probiotic bacteria
Other ways to help with digestive health:
- Eat less sugar
- Reduce stress
- Low impact exercise
Improving your digestive health alone can help with low oestrogen symptoms. These here are some foods rich in oestrogen that you can eat on a daily basis:
Soya : fermented soya foods such as miso and tempeh. Miso adds flavour to foods such as soups and stir fries. Try adding it to wine vinegar to make a salad dressing or marinade. Tempeh is rich in protein. It has a nutty flavour and can be used in sandwiches, stir fries, salads and curries. Avoid soya products such as milk, yogurt and cheese as these are difficult to digest and can cause bloating.
Nuts : walnuts in particular have been shown to increase certain bacteria that can improve digestive health. Have 2-3 a day, every day.
Seeds : especially flaxseed, linseed, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Use ground seeds in order to get the maximum hormonal benefit. Whole seeds help with constipation. Seeds are very versatile and can be used in smoothies, yogurt and soup as well as adding them to bread, cereal and salad.
Edamame beans : one of the most effective oestrogen boosting foods. Add these to soups, chillis, curries and stews.
Lentils : Make sure you use dried lentils and soak them overnight, then drain and rinse.
Fruit : The best fruits are berries, peaches and dried fruit.
Garlic : Easy to incorporate into your daily diet.
Alfalfa Sprouts : these have very high levels of phyto-oestrogens as well as high levels of vitamin k and vitamin c. Add these into salads, sandwiches or stir fries.