Low testosterone is a fairly common issue as men age. Men who are experiencing low testosterone, or “low T,” often have elevated levels of the hormone estrogen. One potential way to remedy this excess is to try an estrogen-blocking diet, which can be a natural complement to low-T medications.
Elevated estrogen not only diminishes men’s testosterone levels. It can also put both men and women at risk for heart disease and certain types of cancer. According to the Journal of Medicinal Food, estrogen-blocking foods that contain phytochemicals can help reduce estrogen levels in the bloodstream.
Plants are complex sources of nutrients, including specific phytochemicals which may help reduce estrogen. But they also contain other phytochemicals that act as phytoestrogens and may mimic symptoms of excess estrogen in the body.
Phytoestrogens are also being studied for positive health effects, like reducing cancer rates and bone and cardiovascular health. Individual responses to phytoestrogens also vary from person to person. Learn more about the pros and cons of phytoestrogens.
One of the best ways to block estrogen is by eating cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables have a high level of phytochemicals and work to block estrogen production. Cruciferous vegetables can be cooked in a number of ways. Some of them, including broccoli and cauliflower, taste good raw.
Cruciferous vegetables include:
Varieties of mushrooms, such as shiitake, portobello, crimini, and baby button, work to block estrogen in the body. They’ve been known to prevent the production of an enzyme called aromatase. Aromatase is responsible for converting the hormone androgen over to estrogen. Incorporating this food into your diet will help prevent new production of estrogen.
Raw mushrooms can be a great addition to salads. They can also be sautéed with onions and other foods for flavoring. Be sure to select mushrooms from grocers. Wild-picked mushrooms may be poisonous. Organic mushrooms are a good choice because they’re pesticide-free. Try one of these 16 mushroom recipes.
Another estrogen-blocking food is red grapes. Their skins contain a chemical called resveratrol and their seeds contain a chemical called proanthocyanidin. Both of these chemicals work to block estrogen production.
Red grapes are easy to clean and eat. They’re great to eat refrigerated or at room temperature. They can be eaten alone or added to fruit or green salads. As with any other fruit or vegetable, organic is a good way to go.
Certain types of seeds — such as flax and sesame — contain something called polyphenols. Polyphenols are found in plants and reduce estrogen levels in the bloodstream. According to information from Oregon State University, flax seeds contain some of the highest levels.
Flax seeds are also one of the richest sources of lignans, which act as phytoestrogens. Many factors determine the health effects of phytoestrogens, including how efficiently a person absorbs and metabolizes phytoestrogens. Because of their complex nutrition composition, flax seeds may help lower estrogen in some people. For others, they may not help or may even mimic estrogen-dominant symptoms.
Flax and sesame seeds are available at many grocery stores and health food shops. They can be added to all sorts of cooking and baking recipes and are especially easy to add to fruit smoothies.
Unrefined grains aren’t broken down like processed ones. They maintain all of their parts: endosperm, bran, and germ. Like seeds, whole grains contain anti-estrogen polyphenols and also phytoestrogen nutrients, so an individual’s response varies.
The following whole grains can be eaten in a variety of forms, including breads, pasta, and cereals:
Already known for its healthful properties, green tea is also a great source of polyphenols, which may influence enzymes that metabolize estrogens. In addition, Harvard Health Publications cites green tea may also lower heart disease risk.
There are many varieties of green tea available at large grocery stores and smaller health food stores. Green tea can be combined with flavorings such as mint, lemon, ginseng, and ginger for added taste and nutrients. It’s refreshing both hot and cold.
When people think of fruit, the pomegranate may not be the first thing that comes to mind. It turns out, however, that this particular fruit is high in phytochemicals. Pomegranates are becoming more widely known for their estrogen-blocking properties as well as their antioxidant virtues. Learn more about antioxidants.
Pomegranates can be cut up and eaten like other fruit, or they can be consumed in juice form. Many grocery stores carry pomegranate juice and juice blends.
If your goal is to treat low T, reducing your estrogen levels can be helpful. Give these diet ideas a try and use your food to naturally block estrogen production.
Talk to your doctor about any dietary changes you may decide to make. They can provide guidance and prescribe any necessary medications for addressing low T.