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The Best Estrogen Rich Foods for Menopause

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The Best Estrogen Rich Foods for Menopause

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • During menopause, estrogen levels decrease and may cause symptoms such as hot flashes, changes in your monthly cycle, mood swings, and other uncomfortable changes. 
  • Consuming foods high in phytoestrogens (plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen), such as soy products, flax seeds, chickpeas, certain fruits, nuts, and whole grains, may help naturally increase estrogen levels.
  • A dietitian can offer further guidance on ways to boost your estrogen through your diet.

While going through menopause, many females look for ways to naturally increase their estrogen.

Several foods contain phytoestrogen compounds that act like estrogen in your body when you eat them.

This article explores the types of foods that may help increase your estrogen levels naturally.

Learn how menopause affects your hormones, common symptoms of having low estrogen, and the top 12 estrogen-rich foods. 

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How Menopause Affects Your Hormones

Menopause is a natural process during which your body transitions from its reproductive years.

It usually occurs around age 51, but you may start experiencing symptoms several years before. This is called the perimenopause stage. 

During menopause, your ovaries stop producing eggs and decrease how much estrogen and progesterone your body produces.

This causes your periods to become irregular and eventually stop. 

Common Symptoms Of Low Estrogen Levels

Hormone level changes during perimenopause and menopause can cause a myriad of symptoms. 

Other than changes to your cycle, such as irregular periods or changes in flow amount, some of the most common menopause symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood changes, and trouble sleeping.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Heart palpitations.
  • Migraines.
  • Decrease in libido.
  • Vaginal dryness.
  • Stress incontinence.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Loss of concentration.
  • Lower self-esteem.

Some people use treatments such as hormone therapy or medications to help them get through menopause, and some find that eating a balanced diet helps to ease menopause symptoms.

Top 12 Estrogen-Rich Foods For Menopause 

Some foods contain phytoestrogens, which are compounds in plants very similar to estrogen.

There are four major types of phytoestrogens: isoflavones, stilbenes, lignans, and coumestans.

Eating foods high in these compounds may help increase estrogen and reduce mild menopause symptoms. 

Here are 12 estrogen-rich foods that may help your body during menopause.

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1. Soy Products

Soy products contain isoflavones that can act like estrogen in your body.

Genistein, a type of isoflavone in soy, has been shown to help decrease symptoms of hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

Females in Asian countries eat higher amounts of soy-rich foods and tend to experience fewer menopausal symptoms. 

Edamame is a whole soybean.

Foods high in soy include those made from soybeans, such as:

  • Soy wheat.
  • Tofu.
  • Soy milk.
  • Tempeh.
  • Plant-based proteins made with soy.

To include more soy in your diet, consider replacing some meats with tofu or tempeh in stir-fries, salads, or sandwiches.

Snack on edamame or add the beans to salads. 

2. Flaxseed

Flaxseed contains a large amount of phytoestrogens.

While the research is older, flaxseed may help reduce some menopause symptoms.

A study from 2002 found that supplementing with 40 g of flaxseed was just as effective as taking estrogen-progesterone to relieve mild menopause symptoms. 

Research from 2004 found that supplementing with flaxseed increased estrogen levels more than supplementing with soy. 

Incorporate flaxseed into your diet by sprinkling them on yogurt, adding them to smoothies, or using them as a salad topping. 

3. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are high in isoflavones, genistein and daidzein.

One study found that consuming 50 grams of boiled chickpeas daily reduced menopausal symptoms.  

Another recent study found that chickpeas can activate estrogen receptor sites, suggesting their possible role in enhancing estrogen’s activity.

Add chickpeas to your diet by incorporating them into your salads and soups, or blend them with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini to make a delicious hummus spread.

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4. Lentils

Lentils contain high amounts of two isoflavones: genistein and daidzein.

While there are currently no direct studies on how consuming lentils may affect menopause symptoms, having these phytoestrogens makes them a good food to incorporate into your diet during menopause. 

To add more lentils to your diet, try making a lentil soup with vegetables, herbs, and broth.

You can also add cooked lentils to your salads, sandwiches, and wraps. 

5. Dried Fruits

Dried fruits, especially apricots, are packed with phytoestrogens, which may help increase estrogen levels during menopause. 

Although there are currently no scientific studies on the effects dried fruits have on increasing estrogen, incorporating them into your diet provides you with many necessary nutrients that benefit your overall health.

Dried fruits are an easy on-the-go snack, or you can add them to your cereals, trail mix, or baked goods.  

6. Peaches

Peaches, a delicious summer fruit, contain prunetin and lignan, which are phytoestrogens.

These phytoestrogens have been shown to sometimes reduce menopause symptoms. 

Peaches also contain other essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. 

Enjoy fresh peaches as a snack, slice them into your yogurt or cereal, or blend them into a smoothie. 

7. Garlic

Garlic contains phytoestrogens and is beneficial after menopause. 

Estrogen is a powerful antioxidant.

During menopause, estrogen levels decrease, which may put a person at risk for damage from oxidative stress.

However, research from 2013 shows that garlic, also a powerful antioxidant, may benefit people who have gone through menopause. 

Add garlic when cooking your meals to enhance the flavor of your dishes.

Try sautéeing freshly minced garlic with vegetables or gently heating minced garlic with olive oil to create a delicious oil infusion for salads, pasta, or roasted vegetables. 

8. Barley

Barley, a type of whole grain, contains lignans, a type of phytoestrogen that may naturally boost estrogen levels during menopause. 

Barley is also rich in fiber that promotes regular bowel movement, a healthy microbiome, heart health, and weight management. 

To incorporate barley into your diet, consider swapping it for pasta or rice in dishes like soups, stews, or pilafs.

You can also enjoy barley’s nutty flavor in salads.

9. Oats

Oats are another whole grain that contains lignan phytoestrogens.

Oats are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which are both essential for your overall well-being. 

To increase your intake of oats, try making overnight oats to enjoy as a healthy snack, make a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruits and nuts for your breakfast, or add oats to your baked goods. 

10. Almonds

Almonds and other nuts such as walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, and pine nuts are great sources of phytoestrogens. 

Almonds and other nuts are also beneficial during menopause in decreasing the risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions such as increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and a larger waste line. 

Snack on almonds and other nuts throughout the day, or add them to your cooking, such as slivered almonds sauteed with vegetables.

You can also add nuts like walnuts and pecans to your baking.

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11. Peanuts

Peanuts contain isoflavones, a type of phytoestrogen that may help your estrogen rise and reduce some menopause symptoms. 

Like almonds, peanuts can also reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, improving your overall health. 

Enjoy peanuts sprinkled over your salad, blended in smoothies, or snack on lightly roasted and salted peanuts.

12. Sea Moss

Sea moss, or seaweed, may have the ability to help your body make estrogen easier.

While there isn’t much research on this topic, a small study suggests that seaweed, when taken with foods high in soy, helped to increase estrogen levels. 

Enjoy seaweed in sushi rolls, snack on roasted seaweed sheets, or add seaweed flakes to your salad.

Takeaway

Eating foods rich in phytoestrogens may give you potential benefits in increasing your estrogen levels during menopause. 

Phytoestrogens, found in soy products, chickpeas, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, are plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in your body.

Adding these foods to your snacks and meals may be a natural way to alleviate some menopause symptoms. 

How a Dietitian Can Help

A menopause health dietitian can advise on how to naturally increase your estrogen levels through food.

They can provide you with balanced meal plans that support your overall health while going through menopause. 

Find a dietitian through Nourish to better understand how nutrition changes can support fluctuating hormone levels.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I improve my estrogen levels during menopause?

Some people need to take hormone replacements during menopause, while others can increase their estrogen naturally through their diet.

Consider eating foods high in estrogen to increase your estrogen levels during menopause.

Which foods are highest in estrogen?

Foods high in phytoestrogen include soy, chickpeas, flax seed, several types of fruits, nuts, garlic, and whole grains.

While not high in estrogen, eating seaweed may help your body produce more estrogen.

Are eggs high in estrogen?

Eggs contain some phytoestrogens, which means they contain compounds that act like estrogen in your body.

References

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