Can a healthy diet really help you get through menopause easier?

It’s possible, so let’s look at some reasons why this might happen. Let’s refine our discussion to estrogen because it’s closely linked to everything from fat retention to cancer.

Estrogen and fat retention

All the hormones in your body, whether they are considered primarily male or female, are present to varying degrees. If a hormone has a high concentration, it will produce one effect, if it has a low concentration, it will have another effect.

And while it may come as a surprise, both estrogen and testosterone, the so-called “male” hormone, are present to varying degrees in both men and women.

Hormone levels are constantly adjusted by competing hormones in a very, very intricate system of balance and counterbalance. Thus begins our discussion of excess estrogen in our bodies.

Why should we even be discussing estrogen?

We are discussing it because increased estrogen suppresses fat burning and is implicated in cancer formation.

One of the reasons women have higher concentrations of body fat is that estrogen naturally stimulates the body to store fat. Estrogen may be one of the reasons menopausal women can’t lose weight even on diets that used to work well for them.

But doesn’t menopause mean less estrogen is produced? Isn’t that why women are often prescribed estrogen in the form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT)?

That makes sense, except when you factor in estrogen dominance.

estrogen dominance

In the book titled What your doctor may not tell you about premenopause by John R. Lee, MD, Jesse Hanley, MD, and Virginia Hopkins.

For readers seeking additional material on the nature of hormonal fluctuations and how to avoid symptoms such as “hot flashes”, this book is highly recommended.

Dr. Lee speaks of a state called “estrogen dominance” in which the amount of estrogen is much greater than the amount of progesterone in your body. When the natural ratio of estrogen to progesterone is skewed, unwanted side effects occur.

But where does this extra estrogen come from?

It comes from pollution in your environment, birth control pills, HRT, and many other sources.

Estrogen dominance causes slow metabolism and thyroid dysfunction, simulating a hypothyroid condition. Both of these situations work against your attempts to lose weight and stay healthy.

Excessive caloric intake (also known as overeating!) and lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in the contemporary American diet, as well as the prevalence of refined sugars and starches, can lead to estrogen dominance.

good eating habits

A research paper describes the process by which the breakdown of estrogen results in the formation of a cancer-causing chemical.

The good news is that a proper diet that contains the correct essential fatty acids, such as omega-3 fatty acids, and fresh vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and beans, reduces the production of this cancer-causing chemical.

Is it really worth the effort to reduce this cancer-causing chemical?

Two studies have shown that women with lower levels of this chemical were 30-40% less likely to develop breast cancer. It seems that eating right can pay big dividends in reducing the occurrence of this common cancer.

Most laboratory researchers and oncologists agree that a combination of factors (behavioral, dietary, genetic, and hormonal) is involved in the formation of conditions such as breast cancer.

The risk of breast cancer is known to increase with early onset of the first menstrual period, late onset of menopause (both of which increase the amount of time estrogen is actively produced and circulated in the body), long-term use Estrogen-based oral contraceptives and HRT.

good vegetables

Eating fresh fruits, raw vegetables, and whole grains (particularly flaxseed) increases the amount of estrogen metabolized through a pathway that has the lowest risk of developing breast cancer.

Specifically, what types of fruits and vegetables are best for avoiding breast cancer and other related problems?

Well, the Brassica family of vegetables is a good place to start. These include the vegetables broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, rutabaga, rutabaga, mustard greens, turnip greens, and bok choy.

Remember to eat your vegetables and fruits raw to get the enzymes and nutrients that nature puts in them. Cooking destroys all enzymes and most nutrients.

Whole grains and flaxseed

Flaxseed and whole grains have a great effect in influencing estrogen production and metabolism.

Lignans, the source of phytochemicals in grains and flaxseed, have been shown to be effective in inhibiting the spread of breast cancer cells when tested in cell culture.

While cell cultures are not directly related to living breast tissue in the body, it may be advantageous to eat more lignan-rich grains and flaxseeds just to be safe until more testing can be done.

It certainly won’t hurt you and has a number of other beneficial effects.

Why wait for a bad situation to arise when you can take simple, inexpensive steps to prevent problems in the first place?

The World Health Organization has recently reported that breast cancer has become the most common cancer among women worldwide.

Avoiding it by eating the foods that may be most capable of stopping its formation will certainly make menopause easier to go through. You do not agree?

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