What is Estrogen?
Estrogen is a female reproductive hormone. It plays an essential role in the development of both male and female sexual characteristics.
Estrogen is a natural substance found in all living organisms. It functions as a chemical messenger between cells, which regulates cell growth and differentiation.
The main function of estrogen is to regulate the menstrual cycle. During menstruation, progesterone levels increase in women and decrease in men. But if estrogen falls drastically, then men can suffer from infertility or erectile dysfunction.
In men, estrogen plays a major role in fat distribution. It converts “bad” fat to “good” fat. Estrogen also increases bone strength and density.
In women, it is involved in the formation of female genitalia during fetal development.
Estrogen hormones can be found in various foods and supplements. In this article, we focus on the most important sources of estrogen in the American diet.
Where is Estrogen?
There are certain foods that contain natural estrogen. Commonly known as phytoestrogens, these are plant-based substances with weak estrogenic activity.
Phytoestrogens have a structural similarity to estrogen and can bind to the same receptors as estrogen in the body. But they are often too weak to produce any substantial effects.
These weak estrogenic substances occur quite frequently in nature. There are certain foods that contain phytoestrogens such as soya, flaxseeds and even alfalfa sprouts.
There are certain herbs that also contain phytoestrogenic substances. These herbs are popular in traditional medicine and can be found in some herbal supplements. The most important of these herbs are black cohosh, red clover, and licorice.
Phytoestrogens have a strong estrogen-like activity and reduce the effects of testosterone. They can act as a weak estrogen and cause side effects such as:
Reduced sexual desire
Enlarged and tender prostate
Testosterone falls as estrogen rises
What are Estrogen Sources?
Now that you know where to find natural sources of this substance, let’s see the most important food groups that contain them.
EDIBLE ESTROGEN SOURCES – Main Food Sources Where to Find: Phytoestrogens Soya beans
Black and green tea
Nuts, seeds, and whole grains contain phytoestrogens. It is believed that these are the main reason why people who eat a lot of nuts, whole grains, and other plant-based foods have reduced risk of developing hormone-related diseases.
What Are Estrogen Sources?
Meat and fish do not contain estrogen. However, they can be converted into estrogen. This process is called covalent binding, and it is done by a chemical process called glucuronidation.
Glucuronidation is the process of adding glucuronic acid,a water-soluble molecule, to a molecule. This makes the molecule soluble in water and not able to bind to DNA or RNA.
When the meat or fish is exposed to heat during cooking, it undergoes a process called acylation. This process makes the molecule act as a fatty acid and become soluble in fat.
This process increases the fat-soluble content of meat and fish. The more heat and exposure to open fire, the more fat soluble content the meat or fish will have.
This means that the more you cook your meat, the more fat soluble content it will have and the more covalently bound substance it will create.
Meat and fish that are left for some time before consumption will also cause more covalently bound substances, as there will be more time for glucoronidation and acylation to take place.
When meat and fish are consumed, the estrogen-like substances that have been created can be absorbed through the stomach and intestines. These substances can also be absorbed through the lungs if the food is smoked.
Besides the covalently bound substances, charred meat and fish can also contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAH. These are chemical substances that are known to cause cancer.
Foods that are burned contain PAH, and these substances can be absorbed into the body when they are ingested.
It is not known whether these substances can cause cancer or have some other adverse effect on the body, as there have not been many studies done on this.
The effect of covalently bound substances and PAH in charred meat and fish has not been researched.
However, it is known that the combination of these factors increases the risk of various diseases.
1. Meat and fish don’t contain estrogen.
These substances are created when they are cooked.
2. Acylating and glucuronidation are the processes that turn meat and fish into estrogen sources.
3. These substances can be absorbed by the stomach and intestines or through the lungs if the food is smoked.
4. It is unknown what effect, if any, these substances have on the body.
Now let’s briefly go over some of the hormonal symptoms that occur when you have excess estrogen in your body. The following symptoms are commonly experienced by men as well as women.
Excess body fat, especially around the waist.
Poor memory and difficulty in thinking.
Water retention and puffiness
Abnormal growth of body hair, particularly on the face.
Loss of muscle mass
Lower testosterone levels
Infertility and impotence in men, and
Irregular menstrual cycles in women.
How Can You Reduce Your Intake Of Hormones From Meat And Fish?
1. Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains.
2. Limit your intake of meat and fish, especially those that come from animals that have been treated with hormones or steroids, such as beef and pork.
Poultry and fish are better alternatives.
3. Avoid processed foods, such as fast foods and canned soups and vegetables, as these may contain additives and ingredients that were cooked in oil, which can increase the fat soluble content of the food.
4. Choose foods that have not been cooked for long periods of time at high temperatures.
5. Drink plenty of water.
6. Get regular exercise.
These are just some dietary tips that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help avoid consuming too much fat soluble content or hormonal additives in your food.
Now let’s briefly mention saturated fats and heart health.
There has been a lot of talk lately about saturated fats and how they affect the body. The truth is, there has been a lot said about saturated fats and some of it is true; however, other information that has been presented is inaccurate or just
not backed by scientific research.
As a result, many people have avoided saturated fats altogether because they believe it is bad for their health.
You should know that there is actually no scientific proof that saturated fat intake alone causes heart disease.
While many studies have claimed such a link, when they are thoroughly reviewed they have major flaws.
Most of these studies involved animals or humans that had other risk factors, such as obesity, high blood pressure, or diabetes.
There was also a problem with the type of fat that was being consumed in these studies.
Saturated fat has been blamed for the increased amount of cholesterol in the blood, but this isn’t accurate.
Saturated fat does not raise cholesterol; any food that contains cholesterol will do that.
Saturated fat actually reduces the cholesterol in your blood, which is why a low-cholesterol diet should not include restrictions on saturated fat, because it actually helps to LOWER cholesterol levels in the blood.
So contrary to popular belief, saturated fats, such as those found in butter, coconut oil, red meat and other animal products do not cause heart disease.
There is actually no research that can prove such a link.
What about the risk of having a heart attack while eating a high saturated fat meal?
This has been known as the “Spanish Effect” where hundreds of people died from having a massive heart attack soon after eating a large meal of mostly pork products.
This was believed to be due to the high saturated fat content in the food.
However, several years later, it was discovered that the food served that day was not just high in saturated fat but also contained a very high concentration of toxic metals, such as mercury and lead.
It turns out that the combination of high saturated fat food and toxic metals caused a chemical reaction in the blood, which led to fatal heart attacks in many people who ate the meal.
In fact, studies that have been done which actually monitor the effect of saturated fat on the blood consistently show that there is no link to an increased risk of heart disease.
While it is always a good idea to avoid toxic substances, such as lead and mercury, you don’t have to worry about saturated fat being bad for your health.
Even if you still choose to limit your saturated fat intake, make sure you don’t eliminate it from your diet completely, because it is an essential nutrient that the body needs.
And now you can enjoy butter, coconut oil, red meat, and eggs without a worry!
Okay folks, we are done with this topic.
We are moving on to carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are one of the three main macronutrients found in food and play a vital role in human nutrition.
Also known as saccharides, carbohydrates are organic compounds consisting of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen atoms.
The main function of carbohydrates is to serve as energy for the body.
They are broken down into the bloodstream and then transported to the cells in your body where they can be used as fuel.
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