Estrogen-like compounds found in foods. When you eat these foods, they act like the estrogens produced in the body. Phytoestrogens are weaker than the estrogen your body produces.
After reading a definition such as this, it can still be difficult to fully wrap your head around what phytoestrogens are; how can something from a plant mimic human hormones? Well, there are a number of conflicting studies about what phytoestrogens really are. I will try to untangle the fact from fiction so that you can make your own decision about what phytoestrogens are and how they work with your body.
Where Phytoestrogens Come From
You may have only recently learned about the existence of phytoestrogens, and you may be asking yourself what foods contain phytoestrogens. Here is a quick list of common foods and supplements that are said to contain phytoestrogens:
- Soy products
- Meat Products
- Other processed foods
As you can see, phytoestrogens can be found in a number of foods and supplements that you are eating everyday already.
Phytoestrogens and Menopause
You might be asking yourself what do phytoestrogens have to do with me and my menopause? The answer is this: during menopause your estrogen levels drop, and these lower estrogen levels are what cause the 34 symptoms of menopause. These can include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, vaginal dryness and a whole host of other frustrating symptoms. But what phytoestrogens can do is help boost falling estrogen levels and, in turn, combat menopausal symptoms. Many view phytoestrogens as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).
Will Phytoestrogens Help Me?
It is difficult to know what effect phytoestrogens will have on each individual, but, if you are looking to combat your menopausal symptoms, you should try to slowly add phytoestrogens into your daily diet. First, you can try using soy milk instead of dairy in your cereal, or eating legumes with dinner instead of potatoes. Then you will begin to feel the effects of phytoestrogens and you will know if it is helping you.
However, there are studies that claim phytoestrogens can cause an increase in cancer rates, so before adding phytoestrogens to your diet you should consult your doctor. It is important to know about phytoestrogens, and how they can affect your body, but it is also important to know about other ways to treat menopause.