Published: 02/08/2016 - Updated: 05/31/2016
Female sex hormones are known as estrogens, which are mainly produced in the ovaries and also the adrenal cortex, as well as the testicles. While estrogen is considered a female hormone and testosterone, a male hormone, both hormones are present in both genders but the amount often differs.
Role of estrogens
Between estrogens we can find three types of hormones such as estrone (E1), estradiol (E2) and estriol (E3).
Estrogens play an important role in the development of female secondary sexual characteristics, the onset of the menstrual cycle and is also related to the appearance of pubic and underarm hair during puberty. In addition, estrogens are those that are responsible for regulating the menstrual cycle to promote the conditions for pregnancy.
However, these hormones are also found in men, and it has been shown that their presence is involved in the development and maturation of certain reproductive processes and bone mineralisation.
Estrogens as treatment
There are several situations in which we must resort to the use of estrogen to treat a condition or symptoms.
During different stages of life, estrogen levels are variable. In the case of women when going through the menopause, estrogen production falls, which is accompanied by various symptoms, such as anxiety, hot flushing, gain or unintentional weight loss, vaginal dryness, decreased libido and hair loss among others.
Commonly, estrogens are used as contraceptives, but are also used in hormone replacement therapy to alleviate symptoms such as those associated with menopause.
These hormones are also used in the treatment of some cancers such as in the breast and prostate. They are also sometimes used to prevent bone problems.
How can I naturally increase levels of estrogen?
Certain habits can make us improve the production of estrogen naturally, or make it worse, so it is important to make some changes in our daily lives if we want to increase our levels of estrogen.
Studies have shown women smokers tend to have more fertility problems compared to women who do not smoke.
It is said that nicotine blocks estrogen functions, so it is advisable to stop this habit if you wish to maintain adequate levels of estrogen.
Watch your diet
Having a healthy diet also helps to regulate our hormone levels, therefore, it is very important to have a healthy diet rich in fresh and vegetable-based foods.
It is advisable to avoid eating cereals and flours in excess, however you could include their wholegrain versions, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, etc.
As for fat, it is best to use plant-based products such as cooking oils and avoid animal fats, especially in large quantities. One way to avoid this is by eating lean cuts of meat and trying to include white meats like fish and chicken, preferably without skin.
It is important to eliminate the consumption of simple sugars, such as sugar, fizzy drinks, processed juices and other industrialised foods containing excess sugar. Diets high in carbohydrates and simple sugars are often associated with hormonal imbalance problems.
Finally, it is also advisable to choose fresh and organic foods and avoid foods that have been excessively processed. Also try to avoid foods that contain too many additives and preservatives, as in the case of canned foods, sausages and cured meats among others.
Do moderate exercise
Engaging in regular physical activity is advisable to maintain adequate levels of estrogen in the body. However, studies have indicated that too much exercise can affect the production of estrogen, so, for example, a top athlete may have very low levels of estrogen.
Athletes or sportsmen with a low percentage of body fat may also have low levels of estrogen.
Consume Organic Coffee
Drinking coffee may help to stimulate the production of estrogen and according to studies, consuming 200mg of caffeine a day is associated with higher levels of estrogen, compared to women who do not consume these types of drinks.
Avoid processed coffee, as it may contain chemicals, herbicides and other residues that are not beneficial to the body.
Foods with phytoestrogens
Phytoestrogens are similar to estrogens and can be found in certain plants and plant-based foods. They are often recommended as a natural alternative to relieve the symptoms of the menopause.
Certain foods contain phytoestrogens, including apples, soybeans, oregano, flaxseed, sweet potatoes, apricots, whole grain foods and licorice, among others.
Some teas are also rich source of phytoestrogens, such as green tea and red tea.