The best aromatase-inhibiting foods and herbs
by Dr. David Jockers
Aging and high levels of physical, chemical and emotional stress are associated with the loss of progesterone in women and testosterone in men. This process of converting androgenic hormones into estrogens is called aromatization. Aromatization leads to a state of estrogen dominance that is a major factor in many common health problems. Certain foods and herbs help the body reverse the process of aromatization.
Estrogen is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle mass and leads to an increase in body fat and aromatase. Testosterone, and to a slight degree progesterone, are anabolic hormones that promote lean body mass. Aromatase is an enzyme that is found in estrogen-producing cells located in the adrenal glands, ovaries, placenta, testicles, brain and fat tissue. Higher levels of aromatase in the body convert more testosterone and progesterone into estrogen.
Elevated aromatase activity and estrogen dominance are some of the most common factors associated with breast, uterine and ovarian cancers in women. Prostate, colon and breast cancer in men are associated with estrogen dominance. Other symptoms include PMS symptoms, cervical dysplasia, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, decreased libido, fatigue, fibrocystic breasts, headaches, infertility and weight gain.
Anti-estrogenic foods and herbs:
- Cruciferous veggies: Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower Brussel sprouts and cabbage contain several powerful nutrients that detoxify bad estrogenic molecules. These nutrients include Indole-3 Acetate, Indole-3 Carbonyl and Diindolylmethane. These cruciferous veggies also contain sulfur containing nutrients such as Sulfuraphane and Phenyl Isothiocyanates that enhance liver detoxification processes and destroy cancer cell formation.
- Healthy fat-rich foods: These are foods that are rich in saturated and omega-3 fatty acids. It includes plant based fats such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and avocados. Raw nuts (other than peanuts) and seeds contain anti-estrogenic plant sterols. Organic poultry, wild-caught salmon, wild game and 100% grass-fed beef are great for healthy hormone function.
- Alium family: The aliums include garlic, onions, scallions, chives and leeks. These are all rich in sulfur-containing amino acids and the powerful flavone anti-oxidant quercetin that both help the liver detoxify at a higher level and reduce the production of estrogen.
- Flavone rich herbs: Dietary flavones and flavonones have been demonstrated to be the most potent aromatase-inhibitory flavonoids. The most powerful flavones include chrysin which is found in passionflower and apignine which is found in chamomile. Several brands of herbal tea can be purchased that feature both organic passionflower and chamomile. These teas are typically marketed for healthy sleep but they are also powerful anti-estrogenic activity.
- Flavonones: These are found in citrus fruits and in particular lemons and limes. They are classically called citrus bioflavonoids and they include diosmin, hesperidin, rutin, naringin, tangeretin, diosmetin, narirutin, neohesperidin, nobiletin and quercetin.
- Antioxidant-rich herbs: Herbs such as oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage and turmeric are loaded with volatile oils that promote liver detoxification. Turmeric has a potent ability to destroy estrogen receptor positive cancer cells which are the most commonly found cells in breast, uterine, ovarian and prostate cancer.
- Chlorophyll: One of the most powerful life-giving substances on the planet is chlorophyll. This is the pigment that gives green foods their color. Chlorophyll-rich foods have a very deep green color and they are extraordinarily useful in purifying the body of toxins.
- Fermented foods: These contain organic acids, anti-oxidants, enzymes and probiotics that enhance gut function and eliminatory channels. Fermented veggies include sauerkraut, kimchi and fermented soy. Fermented raw dairy from 100% grass-fed cows is amazing for the body. Fermented drinks such as apple cider vinegar, kombucha and herbal botanicals are great estrogen detoxifiers.
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