Menopause is a time of great hormonal change in a woman’s body. Around the late 40s or early 50s, hormone levels go through a major shift. But those shifts start with perimenopause, which is “the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.” Some women may go into the perimenopause stage as early as their mid-30s.
During this time, the estrogen levels in the woman’s body inconsistently rise and fall. During this time, menstrual cycles also change in length – they may be longer or shorter. At this time, you may even have cycles where you don’t ovulate at all.
Many symptoms go along with perimenopause, including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and issues with sleep.
So how do you know when you are no longer in the stage of perimenopause and when it has transitioned into full-blown menopause?
This occurs when you’ve gone an entire year without a menstrual period. And once you reach that point, your body stops producing as much estrogen, and your levels become very low.
Because estrogen plays a vital role in your body, it is important that you find natural ways to get your estrogen levels back up once you hit menopause.
Today we are sharing some of the top foods you can eat to boost your estrogen levels, but before we get into that, let’s cover some basics about this hormone.
Estrogen is a hormone responsible for women’s sexual and reproductive development. Most of the estrogen in a woman’s body is made by her ovaries, but small amounts are also made in the adrenal glands and fat cells.
However, this hormone affects more than just your sexual development, which is why it remains essential once you’ve reached menopause and reproduction is no longer a concern.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “estrogen affects the reproductive tract, the urinary tract, the heart and blood vessels, bones, breasts, skin, hair, mucous membranes, pelvic muscles, and the brain.”
As you can see, this hormone is necessary for a lot of body functions, so it is important to keep your levels in a good place.
Estrogen levels reach a very low level in menopause because the ovaries stop ovulating. As your ovaries release fewer hormones, the other hormones cannot do their job in regulating estrogen levels. Is it a natural change in your body, so it is nothing to worry about when it happens.
Though, as mentioned above, it is natural for your estrogen levels to drop to a very low place in menopause, you must work to raise them.
Because estrogen is responsible for a variety of functions in the body, including:
A great natural way to get your estrogen levels back up to where you need them is by eating foods rich in phytoestrogen.
The estrogen in our bodies does not exist the same way in plants, but phytoestrogen does, and it functions much like animal estrogen in humans. Eating foods rich in phytoestrogen may be helpful for those who are suffering from low levels of estrogen.
Though the effects of the plant version of estrogen are milder, you may be able to use it to improve your heart health and improve your mood.
Here are some foods that are high in phytoestrogens that you should consider adding to your diet today.
Seeds such as flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and more are great to reach for when you need to up your estrogen levels. That’s because seeds promote heart health, which becomes at risk when estrogen levels get too low. Estrogen works to prevent plaque from building up your arteries, so its function is key.
With seeds, you also get the added bonus of fiber and healthy fats that help in other areas of your health.
This is your permission to drink some red wine (in moderation, of course – up to 5 ounces a day).
Red wine is filled with phytoestrogen; specifically, a phytochemical called resveratrol which is thought to provide benefits similar to estrogen, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and breast cancer.
Nuts are a quick and easy snack that is packed with phytoestrogens. You can eat them on their own or mixed in with other foods to enjoy the boost to your estrogen levels as well as some protein.
We could go on and on about the benefits of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet, but here’s another reason why you’ll want to start doing this as soon as possible: fruits and vegetables contain phytoestrogens and lots of them.
These groups of foods have an antioxidant that has been linked to good blood circulation and heart health.
Some of the best estrogen-rich foods include:
If you feel like you need to increase your estrogen levels, there are a number of tasty and satisfying ways to do that. Get your shopping list ready and hit the store to invest in some estrogen-rich foods. However, if you find that’s not enough, definitely discuss any concerns with your doctor.