Estrogen is a hormone that aids the development, maturation and functioning of the female reproductive system. Ovaries produce most of the estrogen while the rest is produced by the adrenal glands. A lack of this hormone can lead to osteoporosis. Excessive estrogen, however, can lead to fibroids, cysts, weight problems and cancer.
Estrogen hormones regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and affect the urinary tract, reproductive system, blood vessels and heart. In young girls, estrogen levels begin to increase around age 8. This rise continues until her menstrual cycle begins. The hormone also has a significant effect on a woman’s skin, brain, mucus membranes, hair and bones.
Consuming sufficient amounts of boron—the most active form of estrogen—increases estrogen levels. Apples, hazelnuts, soybeans, almonds and legumes are rich in this mineral.
Other natural sources of estrogen are dairy foods, meat, tomatoes, carrots, olive oil, wheat, oats and barley. Intake of vitamin B-6, B-12, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin C are recommended to maintain estrogen levels. Apart from these vitamins, herbs such as evening primrose (oil) and ginseng are also recommended to increase and maintain proper estrogen levels.
Though estrogen is essential, excessive estrogen can cause hormonal imbalances leading to problems such as migraines, mood swings, depression, fibroids, weight gain, hot flashes, facial hair, insomnia and acne.
Foods that lower the estrogen levels include millet, buck wheat, white rice, broccoli, cabbage, onions, corn and citrus fruits.
Women with low estrogen levels can suffer from osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone density, low blood pressure, depression, thinning hair, joint pains, osteoarthritis, dry skin, menopausal weight gain, increased levels of cholesterol and heart disease.
Estrogen imbalance can adversely affect a woman’s health. Visit your doctor to identify any hormonal imbalance before attempting to remedy the problem yourself. Dietary changes should be made according to your current estrogen level. Regular exercise is a must for maintaining estrogen.
Alcohol and caffeine should be consumed in moderation because they can adversely affect your estrogen. Your consumption of organic foods should increase to maintain estrogen levels. Soy bean-based foods are also rich in natural estrogen.