If you are struggling with a hormone imbalance, or poor fertility, the last thing you want to be adding to your diet is high estrogen foods.
These high estrogen foods that you should avoid contain plant or petro-chemical based estrogen shaped chemicals that mimic the action of estrogen in your body. These chemicals are collectively called xenoestrogens.
1. Wheat & Other Grains
Zearalenone is an estrogen-like fungi that colonize on corn, barley, wheat and other grains. “Breast cancer patients taking palbociclib/letrozole should consider limiting their exposure to foods that contain xenoestrogens,” says Gary Siuzdak, senior director of Scripps Center for Metabolomicsk.
Interestingly, zearalenone is also blamed for abnormal sexual development and birth defects in grain-fed farm animals, along with a breakout of early breast development in girls. (1)
Glyphosate is also commonly used on non organic corn, canola and cotton. Farmers also use it to “dessicate” wheat prior to harvest, meaning it remains in the finished food product. (2)
Soy estrogens are often called isoflavones, they are a photestrogen. Phytoestrogens can be tricky to categorize as healthy or unhealthy because many offer health benefits and problems.
Perhaps most alarming is that xenoestrogens can throw off hormonal harmony even in tiny, real-life doses. This includes amounts we may eat or absorb.
Some soy facts to consider:
• The United Kingdom, Australian and New Zealand advise against the indiscriminate use of soy infant formula; other countries require a prescription.
• Most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered to endure herbicide applications that would normally kill the plant.
• Glyphosate causes estrogenic activity that fuels certain hormone-dependent breast cancers. (3)
3. Food Additives
In 2009, Italian researchers screened hundreds of food additives to uncover ones with estrogen-like effects. 4-hexylresorcinol, an additive used to prevent discoloration and increase the shelf life of shrimp and other shellfish, possesses estrogenic effects. (4)
Propyl gallate is another common preservative that acts like estrogen. It’s often used to keep fats and oils from going rancid.
Propyl gallate most commonly hides on in the following places:
• Vegetable oil
• Meat products
• Potato sticks
• Chicken soup base
• Chewing gum
4. Conventional Meat & Dairy
Anywhere from 60 to 80 percent of estrogens in the typical Western diet comes from milk and other dairy products. (5) This is linked to a higher rate of testicular and prostate cancers.
Hormones and antibiotics used in the meat and dairy industry are well publicized, but what about naturally occurring steroid hormones that act like estrogen?
• Soybean use as feed is commonplace in conventional US dairy and meat animal production.
• 17-β-oestradiol is also found in the meat of pigs, cows and chickens.
Many plants that are used to create alcohol contain estrogen-like substances. Beer, wine and bourbon consumption led to heightened estrogen activity in both animal and human studies. (6)
We know that alcohol changes the metabolization of estrogen in the female body. Alcohol also triggers estrogen levels to increase in the blood stream.
A note about Tap & Bottled Water
While it may be tempting to reach for bottled water, just know what’s inside may be actually worse than tap water. Bottled water risks include exposure to estrogenic compounds.
• 61 percent of bottled water samples induce “significant estrogenic response” when tested on a human cancer cell line.
• Estrogen activity is three times higher when the water is packaged in PET plastic bottles compared to glass.
Ideally you would be avoiding all of these high estrogen food items if you are serious about your hormone health.