10 Tips to Keep your Estrogen Levels Healthy

by Natalie

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I find hormones fascinating! I love to learn about them as much as I can. I think that hormonal issues are at the root of many of our common maladies – especially as women.

As you probably already know, estrogen is a key player of the female hormonal system. It is used for some very important functions in the body, but an imbalance can lead to health issues. Excess estrogen has been known to increase breast cancer risk, and can also aggravate other female conditions such as fibroids and endometriosis.

To keep estrogen levels from building up, we need to make sure we get rid of unused estrogen effectively.

Here are 10 lifestyle tips to keep your estrogen levels in-check:

1) Be kind to your liver. Estrogen is detoxified in the liver before it is dumped into your stool to be removed by your colon. If your liver is not healthy, it is difficult to maintain a good detox process. To keep your liver healthy, do not overtax it with excess alcohol and caffeine consumption.

2) Eat more fiber. To ensure adequate removal of estrogen, you need to avoid constipation. If you do not have regular bowel movements, estrogen can get re-circulated back into your body. Fiber is found in plant foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. Women need at least 25 grams per day. If you are starting from zero (I hope not!), increase fiber intake slowly to avoid gas and abdominal pain. You need to drink more water when you increase fiber.

3) Take a daily probiotic supplement. There is an enzyme called beta-glucuronidase that is made from bad bacteria in your gut. This enzyme increases estrogen re-circulation. To stop this enzyme from taking over, you need to make sure your gut is filled with good bacteria. Good probiotic strains are lactobacillus and/or bifidobacteria. Some probiotics don’t contain high enough levels to be effective. Look for ones with 10-15 BILLION (yes, billion), colony forming units (CFU’s).

4) Eat more cruciferous vegetables. These powerhouse veggies contain Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C). This substance promotes detoxification of harmful estrogens. Cruciferous veggies include, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, arugula, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.

5) Take a daily omega-3 supplement such as fish oil. Low grade inflammation in the body from things like stress, illness, obesity, and pollution can increase the activity of an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is used to create estrogen. So when this enzyme is promoted, more estrogen may be created than needed. Make sure your Omega-3 supplement contains both DHA and EPA. 1000 mg per day is a good starting point. Nordic Naturals makes good fish oil supplements.

6) Decrease your intake of sweets and refined flours. Sweets and refined flours can increase the amount of insulin in your body, and insulin can increase the activity of aromatase.

7) Eat less processed foods. Besides just being an overall negative to your health, processed or packaged foods are usually made with cheap oils (corn, soybean, safflower). These oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids which also promote inflammation, and as we learned from #5, inflammation increases aromatase activity. Majorly processed foods include things like, microwavable meals, packaged desserts, fast foods, sugary cereals, Velveta cheese, squeezable cheese, margarine, Cool Whip, and many packaged snacks and crackers.

8) Maintain a healthy weight. Fat tissue creates estrogen. When you have more fat mass, you will have more estrogen circulating in your body.  A healthy BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.

9)Decrease your stress levels. Increased levels of stress lead to inflammation which increases the activity of aromatase. Some quick stress relievers are, getting more sleep, exercise and deep breathing. Effective time management can help too. Do not overbook yourself, or your children. Get in the habit of saying “NO”. Take time for yourself. Once you take care of yourself, everything else will follow.

10) Eat less canned food. Cans contain the chemical BPA. BPA is a known “xeno-estrogen”, meaning it mimics the activity of estrogen.

After reading these 10 tips, how do you think you are doing with your estrogen balance? What do you need to do more or less of? Leave a comment below. Can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

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cabbage photo by Kewl via Flickr

{ 17 comments }

Monica Lindsay May 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

Apart from maintaining a healthy weight I don’t do any of these things. Thanks for your amazing advice. Things are going to change….

Natalie May 8, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Your welcome! Glad you found this helpful. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do, so you are starting at a great place.

Vanessa Martin May 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Hi Natalie,

Thank you for sharing the this information. Plan to pass on the information. I have already started on my cruciferous vegetables since I last heard from you. I really appreciate what you shared on foods to avoid breast cancer. My mom just completed cancer treatment.

Keep sharing what you’re learning. Thanks again!

Vanessa

Natalie May 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Your welcome Vanessa! Great job on the cruciferous veggies. I am happy to hear your mom just completed her treatment. I wish you both the best.

Maria Catherine P. Bajande May 29, 2013 at 8:15 am

Hi Natalie, Thank you for this fascinating information. I’m glad i can count this knowledge for my healthy lifestyle. I appreciate all the things you shared.

Donna June 27, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I am 51 and searching for alternatives to Tamoxifen. I was diagnosed with Invasive lobular cancer with two tumors in my right breast. Bi-lateral mastectomy in Feb. Just finsihed chemo. Radiation next month. The more I read on Tamoxifen the more I can’t bare the thought of it. I eat fairly well but have to get these 30 extra lbs off of me in addition to wanting to naturally lower my estrogen levels to minimize reaccurance. Thank you for this info.

Natalie June 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Your welcome Donna. Wishing you well as you go through your treatment!

Alli June 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

I’m estrogen dominant and struggling to lose the weight that is causing the self-defeating cycle of too much estrogen causes weight gain, too much weight gain causes more estrogen. I’ve read these tips before and have begun implementing many of the suggestions, but I’ve been looking for numbers for the fish oil and the probiotics. Thanks for posting!

Natalie June 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Your welcome Alli. I am glad you found the information helpful.

Paula Baron July 16, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thanks for these tips. I was told by gyno that I have to much estrogen….Scared me to death thinking I had endometrial cancer. The wall of my uterus is too thick, and the Doctor told me to lose weight. Even though I’m told I’m not fat…..oh well…Which of these tips would be the most important one to get started on? I have no thyroid and am told to stay away from cruciferous veggies…..

Natalie July 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for your comment Paula. I think the best place to start is sugar reduction, fiber, and exercise! Best to you

Debbie August 10, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Thank you for this information. I too have been looking for a natural way to reduce estrogen. I am post menopause and my endometrial lining is thickened. The biopsy showed no cancer yet, but doctor wants me to reduce my weight and estrogen levels. Thank you!

Natalie August 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Your welcome! Reducing weight is the best way for postmeno women to decrease circulating estrogen. Once we go through menopause, the main source of estrogen in our body is fat tissue.

Barbara September 15, 2013 at 9:20 pm

I just read what I will need to lower estrogen level and I think it is fantastic. I have been taking Arimidex for over a year. Do you think I will have to advise my doctor, I am a cancer survivor .. which I was at level 1 … the pills are very expensive and now that I am 65 the insurance I am with will not pay for my pills … what is your advise …thanks

Natalie September 18, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Hi Barbara, you should definitely consult your doctor regarding your medication. Although lifestyle changes can help keep estrogen levels healthy, they will likely not have the same effect as taking Arimidex. Pharmaceuticals are usually much stronger than any diet or lifestyle change. You should not go off your medication without consulting with your doctor first. Thank you for your questions.Be well!

Sarah Parker September 21, 2013 at 7:14 am

I have been diagnosed with a very small uterine fibroid which is estrogen driven. I would like to reduce it and hope it disappears eventually. I am a stone overweight so I am now on a healthy diet to lose weight and have joined an aerobics class. I have read so so much on the Internet though re: estrogen I don’t know where to start – you can’t eat anything out of tins or plastic including water I have been drinking water out of bottles for years!!!!! You should only use natural cleaners at home and no perfumes on your skin…. And it goes on. I’m overwhelmed please help. I don’t think it’s going to be physically possible to change all these things in my life especially with a 2 year old! What are the main things I should be doing? Thank you very much in advance! X x x

Natalie September 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

Hi Sarah,

The first step is to achieve a healthy weight (BMI 18.5-24.9). Secondly, it would be a good idea to add a cooked cruciferous vegetable to your dinner meals 3 times per week. Third, optimize digestion (have regular bowel movements). This can be done through adequate fiber, water, and probiotics.

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