Foods That May Help Your Boost Your Estrogen and Testosterone Levels

For years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that heart disease is the leading cause of death among Americans; in fact, in 2015 heart disease accounted for one in every four deaths. Although there are several types of heart disease, the most common is coronary artery disease (CAD), an accumulation of cholesterol and other substances along arterial walls. This buildup forms a plaque that over time narrows the arteries and impedes blood flow. Undiagnosed or poorly controlled CAD eventually weakens the heart and raises the risk for a heart attack.

What causes CAD? Of course genes are involved, as well as factors such as tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, a diet high in processed foods and saturated fat, stress, high blood pressure and obesity. However, a risk factor that is sometimes overlooked is the natural waning of reproductive hormones, i.e., estrogen and testosterone.

During a woman’s transition into menopause, a period often referred to as perimenopause, her progesterone, testosterone and estrogen levels begin declining. According to Cleveland Clinic, this raises a woman’s risk for CAD because estrogen increases good cholesterol (HDL), decreases bad cholesterol (LDL), relaxes blood vessels and absorbs free radicals in the blood that can potentially damage blood vessels.

As a man enters his 40’s, he begins experiencing andropause, an age-related decrease in testosterone. According to the Mayo Clinic, a man usually has a one percent drop in testosterone every year after age 40. Research published in Nature linked low testosterone levels with CAD risks such as obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, as well as an overall risk for cardiovascular disease.

To help offset the potential health problems associated with low hormone levels, scientists developed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) for women and Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) for men. However, various journals have published conflicting articles concerning the risks and benefits associated with HRT and TRT. 

For instance, a study in the British Journal of Medicine suggested that HRT lowers the risk of heart disease; whereas, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association linked HRT with heart disease and breast cancer. As general guidance for the medical community, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends living a heart-healthy lifestyle and using HRT for specific medical conditions.

Additionally, articles published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and PLOS ONE reported an increased risk for heart attacks and strokes among men who began using TRT. Meanwhile, authors of an article published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics and a review in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that TRT contributed to maintaining heart health. Experts at Harvard Men’s Health Watch explained that evidence supporting the heart-health benefits of TRT is mixed, and the long-term effects are not fully understood yet.

Fortunately, there are tactics you can try to naturally boost your estrogen and testosterone levels. For example: 
  • Controlling stress - When stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that may cause an estrogen imbalance and block the effects of testosterone. For some shortcuts to help you manage stress, click here »
  • Strength training – Studies have suggested that intense strength training may help raise testosterone levels. When training, try to regularly increase the amount of weight being lifted, lower the number of repetitions and select exercises that work multiple muscles groups, e.g., squats. Be sure that you consult your MDVIP-affiliate physician before beginning or revamping an exercise program. 
  • Eating foods that can help raise estrogen and testosterone levels.
    • Studies conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University indicated that eating plant-based foods that contain phytoestrogens may help women raise estrogen levels. Examples of such foods include:
      • Seeds: flaxseeds and sesame seeds
      • Fruit: apricots, oranges, strawberries, peaches, many dried fruits
      • Vegetables: yams, carrots, alfalfa sprouts, kale, celery
      • Soy products: tofu, miso soup, soy yogurt
      • Dark rye bread
      • Legumes: lentils, peas, pinto beans
      • Olives and olive oil
      • Chickpeas
      • Culinary herbs: turmeric, thyme, sage
    • Results from research conducted by the University of Texas at Austin suggested that men can help raise their testosterone levels by eating foods high in monounsaturated fat and zinc. Also, a study published in Biological Trace Element Research concluded foods high in magnesium can help maintain testosterone levels. That said, consider including the following foods in your diet.
      • Oils: olive, canola and peanut (monounsaturated fat)
      • Avocados (monounsaturated fat and magnesium)
      • Olives (monounsaturated fat)
      • Nuts: almonds and cashews (monounsaturated fat, zinc and magnesium)
      • Oysters (zinc)
      • Wheat germ (zinc)
      • Shellfish: lobster and crab (zinc)
      • Chickpeas (zinc)
      • Oatmeal (zinc)
      • Kidney beans (zinc)
      • Raisins (magnesium)
      • Dark green leafy vegetables (magnesium)
      • Bananas (magnesium)
      • Low-fat yogurt (magnesium)
​Aside from maintaining appropriate hormone levels, you can also lower your risk of CAD by working with your MDVIP-affiliated physician to make sure you are taking advantage of all the benefits offered in the practice. Your annual wellness services include a comprehensive heart and stroke screening assessment, and if necessary, advanced cardiac tests. The results of these screenings and tests are used to help create your customized heart-healthy action plan. Additionally, your physician can work with you to help improve your lifestyle habits, e.g., managing weight, exercising, controlling stress and quitting smoking. Don’t have an MDVIP-affiliated physician? Find one near you by clicking here » 




9 Comments
Billy Dimry
Feb 12th, 2016
Thanks for the info re what to include in our diet to help with estrogen and testosterone.

Billy
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 16th, 2016
Greetings Billy,

You’re welcome, Billy. We’re pleased to know that you found the information to be useful.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Arleen
Feb 11th, 2016
Wow, just the information I needed. Thank you so much.
Arleen
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 12th, 2016
Greetings Arleen,

We’re glad to read that we were able to provide you with helpful information. Thank you fro taking time to post your comment!

In Good Health,
MDVIP



Judi Rollings
Feb 11th, 2016
For women, progesterone is much more heart-healthy than estrogen. The polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) oils are also not heart healthy in excess, and have been shown to be immune suppressants. They are essential for the development of tumors. PUFA breakdown products in the body include aldehydes, prostaglandins, isoprostanes, and free radicals. As for soy, it is estrogenic and hence I avoid it. Herbicides and pesticides are estrogenic too. The risk as we get older is that our bodies accumulate TOO MUCH estrogen, not too little.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 12th, 2016
Greetings Judi,

Thank you for raising the issue of estrogen dominance, as some people struggle with it. For the most part, a woman’s natural estrogen levels fluctuate during perimenopause and then drop significantly after she has reached menopause, raising the risk for heart disease. However, some women’s progesterone levels drop, throwing off the ratio of progesterone and estrogen and causing estrogen dominance. Estrogen levels also may rise as a result of taking birth control pills. Americans are also exposed to xenoestrogens, estrogen-like substances, through plastics, exhaust fumes, dairy products, red meat, pesticides, etc. Because xenoestrogens mimic estrogen, men and women who are over-exposed to xenoestrogens can experience estrogen dominance symptoms that can lead conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cysts, allergies, infertility and increased blood clotting. As mentioned in the blog, foods that may help raise estrogen levels include foods high in monounsaturated fats like flaxseeds and sesame seeds, as well as oranges, celery and kale. These foods can also help control estrogen dominance. Other helpful foods include apples, lemons, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts) and green leafy vegetables.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Florence Verlangieri
Feb 11th, 2016
Very interesting Info.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 12th, 2016
Greetings Florence,

Thank you for your feedback from our blog about how your diet can improve your health. We’re glad you found this information interesting.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Roy Pollock
Feb 11th, 2016
In the work a day world, we forget important things like having an annual checkup.Since
your computer system already has all our information; how about having it wish us a happy
birthday and reminding us it is time to set an appointment?
Walker Hays
Feb 10th, 2016
How does this affect one with prostate cancer and on hormone treatment.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 12th, 2016
Greetings Walker,

Thank you for asking a question related to your specific health conditions, as it may help others. Although our suggestions were primarily food based, it is always best to discuss a question like yours with your doctor. Some cancer patients are advised to limit or even avoid certain foods because they can raise certain hormone levels or interact with medications. Take care.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Geraldine Vatter
Feb 10th, 2016
Things I knew but have forgotten over the years. Thanks for the reminder.
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 11th, 2016
Greetings Geraldine,

We appreciate you taking the time to let us know how pleased you are with the newsletter. Glad to hear that our information has been so helpful.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


Calvin Rideau
Feb 10th, 2016
Thanks for the enlightening information. Timely!!!
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 11th, 2016
Greetings Calvin,

You’re welcome, Calvin. It’s great to know that you found the information to be useful.

In Good Health,
MDVIP


DAVIDKDANIELS
Feb 9th, 2016
GOOD INFO
1 Reply
MDVIP
Feb 11th, 2016
Greetings David,

Thank you for taking time to share a compliment about the information we provided!

In Good Health,
MDVIP


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