What is phytoestrogen?
Phyto-” is a Greek root word that means “plant.” Estrogen is a hormone that regulates both functions male and female, but more with women. Phytoestrogen represent compound that naturally occur in plants, and therefore in foods of plant origin. The soy is first highlighted, but phytoestrogen is also found in cereals, vegetables, fruits. In healthy amounts, these compounds greatly contribute to the optimum health of our body. Even if plant-related, this compound is very similar to estrogen in animals and humans. When we enter phytoestrogen through food, after the body absorbs it, it starts to behave as our own estrogen.
Why is phytoestrogen important for women’s health?
If moderate quantities, phytoestrogens can be natural hormonal therapy. They imitate the estrogen that your body should produce and takes over some of the roles of this female hormone.
Phytoestrogen and perimenopause
This is the reproductive phase in women in the late 40s. During this period, the body stops to produce enough amount of its own estrogen, as well as other female hormones. Women experience gaps in cycles, but it can cause a lot of unpleasant symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, low libido, and the like. Menopause comes after.
Phytoestrogens can significantly reduce the symptoms of hot flashes as well as other perimenopausal symptoms, as demonstrated by many studies.
Phytoestrogen and osteoporosis
These herbal compound we intake through the diet can prevent bone loss in older women due to the lack of natural estrogen, which role is to maintain healthy bone density. In aging, the estrogen level decreases with women, and osteoporosis develops.
Herbal estrogen against irregular and problematic periods
Some women use it as natural or herbal preparations for irregular and problematic cycles. The estrogen level may fall during a certain period of the menstrual cycle, causing unpleasant symptoms. If estrogen can be replaced by phytoestrogens or by some of its supplements, these symptoms can be alleviated.
Phytoestrogen has a role in cosmetics and facial care. Estrogen counts androgens (known as male hormones), which can contribute to acne in women. Because phytoestrogens act similarly to estrogen, they can confront androgens and relieve or prevent acne.
Should We Take Phytoestrogen as Dietary Supplement?
A sufficient amount of these compound provides the same effect as the synthetic estrogen, but the purpose of injecting synthetic hormones in any form carries certain risks. Supplements may have a higher level of phytoestrogen than food, so talk to your doctor before taking them.
Through several trials, and in past practice, synthetic estrogen showed certain side effects. People who take these pills show a preference for obesity, cancer, reproductive disorders, and birth defects.
Phytoestrogen may seem safer because we are aware of its origin, but it can equally lead to the following complications: hormonal cycles, poor lactation, increased risk of breast cancer, endometriosis, endometrial cancer, non-viral toxic hepatitis or fibroids of the uterus, and other threats.
So far, we only know how these potent compounds contribute to health through fresh foods. Further experiments will try to use their concentrated power in the best possible way.
Plants are rich in this compound, in less or larger quantities. These are the following: angelica, black cohosh, broccoli, carrot, coffee, dong kuai, legumes (beans, peas, peanuts), sweet root, orange, red clover, tea, and soy.
Should it be cautious when taking foods rich in this supplement?
They should be consumed with caution and moderately. This is especially the case with long-term use and high doses. They may act as a more natural choice than synthetic estrogens, but they almost have the same effect. Consult your doctor if you feel swallowed to boost your diet with phytoestrogen.
Some people believe this food causes infertility in men and that it is very harmful. Of course, estrogen is found in higher concentrations in women, but it is part of a male balanced hormonal system. In men, this food will reduce blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Studies even show that it can reduce the risk of prostate cancer and bring some other benefits for general male health. However, a large amount will lead to hormonal imbalance, so it is therefore recommended in the short term and in smaller quantities.
Eat a variety of foods rich in phytoestrogen – fruits, vegetables, cereals, nuts, seeds, and legumes to experience the benefits.