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Some research suggests that certain foods may be able to diminish the level of estrogen in the body. However, this research is often low-quality or has involved animals rather than humans.

According to the conclusions of these studies, the following foods may lower levels of estrogen:

Soy products

Soy-based products, including edamame and some meat substitutes, are especially rich in plant estrogens. Estrogens that occur in plants are called phytoestrogens.

Early research raised concerns that phytoestrogens could raise estrogen levels in the body. However, they may have the opposite effect.

Phytoestrogens are weaker than estrogens that the body produces. When plant estrogens enter the body’s cells, they push out the body’s own estrogens.

In this way, consuming more phytoestrogens could lower a person’s estrogen level. Plant estrogens may also reduce the risk of diseases related to estrogen levels, including prostate cancer.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables also contain high levels of phytoestrogens. This group of vegetables includes:

  • cauliflower
  • bok choy
  • broccoli
  • cabbage

Cruciferous vegetables also contain high levels of isoflavones, which are a type of estrogen. Results of several studiesTrusted Source suggest that isoflavones may prevent the body from converting testosterone to estrogen.

Mushrooms

Certain varieties of mushroomsTrusted Source, including white button and portobello, could raise a person’s testosterone levels and lower their estrogen levels.

Curcumin and turmeric

Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin.

A 2013 studyTrusted Source found that curcumin may reduce estrogen levels. However, the researchers noted this result in cells outside the body, so they are unsure whether curcumin has the same effect in people.

A 2014 studyTrusted Source found that large doses of curcumin increased levels of testosterone in rats.

Foods to avoid

According to some research, the following foods may increase people’s estrogen levels:

Dairy and meat

All animal products contain traces of estrogen because even male animals produce the hormone.

Many farms give female animals, especially cows, high doses of estrogen to increase the amount of milk they produce. Eating these products may increaseTrusted Source a person’s estrogen levels.

A person may wish to switch to alternate milks and sources of protein, or buy meat and dairy products from farms that do not give animals estrogen.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol may raise the level of estrogen in the blood, which could increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Alcohol may also heighten some effects of low testosterone. For example, alcohol is high in calories, and it can lead to weight gain.

Grains

Some grains contain a fungus called zearalenone, which can increase the production of estrogen. Researchers in Europe, where the fungus is common, found that 32 percentTrusted Source of more than 5,000 mixed-cereal samples were contaminated.

At the moment there is no way to ensure that a product is free from zearalenone. A person looking to avoid it should limit their intake of grains, including barley, wheat, rice, and maize.

Legumes

Legumes, such as lentils, peanuts, and chickpeas, benefit the health in many ways. For example, they contain relatively high amounts of protein, making them a popular meat alternative.

Legumes also contain phytoestrogens. Particularly in high doses, these foods could increase people’s estrogen levels.

Legumes may support heart health and reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome. Rather than removing them from the diet, consider eating small servings a few times a week.

Other ways to reduce estrogen levels

Anyone concerned about their levels of testosterone or estrogen should see a doctor before trying to augment these levels.

Some people benefit from hormone injections. Testosterone therapy can be especially beneficial.

Few researchers have looked into natural ways to reduce estrogen. However, results of some studies suggest that exercise may lower levels of estrogen in some women.

study from 2011Trusted Source, for example, found that regular exercise reduced levels of estrogen and progesterone in women with a high risk of developing breast cancer.

Also, certain human-made products contain chemical compounds called xenoestrogens, which imitate estrogen in the body. Exposure to these chemicals may also increase the risk of cancer and endocrine disorders.

Many plastics contain xenoestrogens. Anyone wishing to lower their exposure to these chemicals may prefer to avoid plastic products, including bottles and food storage containers, when possible.

Men who are concerned about the effects of high estrogen may benefit from making healthful lifestyle changes, such as:

  • reducing the number of calories in the diet
  • getting more sleep
  • seeing a therapist for help managing symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • going to couples counseling

Summary

Many myths surround the balance of estrogen and testosterone, especially in alternative health and bodybuilding communities.

Several diets promise to lower levels of estrogen, but these claims often lack scientific evidence.

Men concerned about changes in hormones or symptoms related to aging should not necessarily assume that high estrogen levels are to blame. See a doctor, who can test for a range of causes.

If a person has a hormone imbalance, treatment is often quick and safe. A doctor can also provide personalized diet and lifestyle recommendations.