What are some anti-estrogenic foods and herbs?
Hofmekler mentions the following foods (and their believed antiestrogenic components) that help mitigate the effects of estrogenic chemicals and estrogen mimics in the environment:
- cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts) - have natural antiestrogenic indoles
- citrus fruits - contain flavonoids (although this is disputed by studies)
- coffee - contain flavones
- tea - polyphenols
- herbs: resveratrol, passionflower, chamomile, and turmeric
- conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in grass-fed, organic milk products
- nuts, avocado and fertilized eggs - high-fat, "male" (y-chromosome) containing foods that nourish the hormone system
What are some estrogenic foods?
These foods should be avoided in an estrogenic diet:
- conventionally raised meat - Hofmekler says they are "chemically castrated" using hormones, in order to build bulk and be more tender. This is not a "macho" food anymore. Pay more for organic versions that haven't been pumped up with feminizing hormones.
- soy - contains genistein and daidzein, both which have hormone-disrupting activity. I've read that Japanese women have traditionally fed their husbands soy products when they suspected they were cheating on them, and monks eat soy to diminish their libido..
- beer - Hops, the bitter herb that gives beer its bite, has estrogenic and libido-reducing effects. This is apparently why heavy beer drinkers develop "man boobs".
What is the Anti-Estrogenic Diet?
The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, a book by Ori Hofmekler (who also wrote The Warrior Diet), is a diet program that helps the body resist the effects of a high prevalence of estrogenic and estrogen-like chemicals in the environment that many researchers believe leads to health problems and weight gain.
Hofmekler says that the world is becoming feminized through chemicals such as atrazine (a common crop herbicide). He mentions that sperm counts are dropping worldwide, with a 20% drop seen in just one generation, and the highest level of infertility, despite the growing number of fertility drugs.
The diet consists of three phases:
- Detox - Allowing the liver (and kidneys) to recuperate and clean itself. The liver is the body's detoxification organ, and is the organ under the most stress from chemical attack. When it is under duress and begins to fail, diseases such as diabetes and cirrhosis can take root. This diet allows for two weeks of herbal and nutritional therapy to allow the liver to "bounce back into shape" and assume its important role in regulating the body's metabolism with renewed vigor.
- High-fat stage. Mimics diet from 10,000 years ago, before the agricultural era. Higher calorie than most diets, but still can lose weight. More than anything, it nourishes the hormone system to create sex hormones to counteract
- Reintroduction of foods. Since none of us are monks, methodically and gradually reintroducing foods "in the real world". But it requires a lot of trial and error to see what agrees with your body, and what doesn't.
The effect of estrogen mimics and endocrine disrupters is well documented and researched. There are plenty of ways to avoid exposure to these kinds of chemicals (these are not from the book, but rather what I've read about recently):
- avoiding heating food in flexible plastic containers (which contain phthalates)
- choosing organic food when possible (does not contain the herbicides and pesticides which contain hormone disrupters such as atrazine and dieldrin)
- avoiding "antibacterial" products with triclosan. They are no better than regular soaps and detergents at getting rid of dangerous bacteria, and triclosan, which has a chemical structure similar to estrogen, has recently been found to be a hormone disrupter in the bullfrog
Avoiding estrogenic foods and eating more of the anti-estrogenic foods is a good idea. There's no harm in eating more broccoli and less hormone-laden beef, right?
However, I'm not sure I agree with Hofmekler's hypothesis that eating "Y-chromosome foods", like fertilized eggs, helps. Eating more Y-chromosomes does not make us more male, especially considering almost all foreign chromosomes are digested in our stomachs before assimilation, or else vigorously attacked by our immune system as antigens. I think Hofmekler was reaching a bit here, and since he is not a medical professional or even trained in medicine or biology (he is an artist and a former health & fitness editor at Penthouse), I'd say this is the part of the book worth casting a skeptical eye on.
However, more attention should be paid to this growing problem. Even Al Gore, who was prescient about the problem of global warming back in the late 1980s, wrote an introduction to Our Stolen Future, that warned about the problem of endocrine disruption a decade ago. You have to wonder when the general public will pay attention to the problem of endocrine disruption as well.
Cheri on April 12, 2013:
Am EXTREMELY interested, in scientific proof re this situation, both for self, and for the transgender community, as I am trans, and recently lost half of my breast-mass, after a week of 1-2 ounces of pomegranite juice per day; my email, is firstname.lastname@example.org, PLEASE, NO spam, ONLY hard data:)
thenewyou on March 10, 2013:
I've read some scientific articles on estrogen & found this amazing articles that analyzed foods (mostly plants) that contain phytoestrogens (isoflavins & lignans). I'm trying to eat an anti-estrogenic diet so I've printed out the 7-page results and consult it to decide what to eat. Basically stay away from soy and soy-based products (highly estrogenic) and stick with certain fruits (green vegetables). Red wine and red grapes are also great lignan-rich foods. The scientific article is by Lilian Thompson (2006): Phytoestrogen Content of Foods Consumed in Canada, Including
Isoflavones, Lignans, and Coumestan
The researchers are based in Canada but the concepts apply everywhere. Good luck to all.
BitterBetty on May 18, 2012:
You all have adult picky eating disorder
To Rob on May 08, 2012:
This is to ROB who posted two years ago and I hope you read this . Thank you for that link . I am much inclined to believe YOU and the National Library of Medicine site over some crank who says she drank gallons of grapefruit juice a day when she had cancer .( She never states why or what for .) These are the people who are dangerous on the internet .
I read about Naringenin on the article and looked it up on Wikipedia. Thank you.
health and healing on April 11, 2012:
I do agree that diet is everything. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to know that organic fruits and vegetables are best for you. I think that when you digest meat, you are ingesting all the hormones that were put into the animal to make him market-ready. Fish, venison and wild game are actually better for you, in my opinion.
kim on November 07, 2011:
For those concerned with estrogen levels, cancer and shrinking tumors or preventing please start looking up this supplement called IP6 & Inositol. It is a miracle supplement for cancer. I was so distraught a few years ago when I learned that I had highly abnormal precancerous cells in my cervix. The IP6 & Inositol actually returned the abnormal cells back to normal. Ever since then I recommend this to anyone I know who will listen. I even use from time to time when I don't feel right. And I've just learned that is anti estrogenic as well. It's expensive but this stuff really works. Do research read what others have experienced then decide for yourself. I wish I could tell everyone.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on August 29, 2011:
Yes, and Hofmekler states in his book and in this podcast I've listened to that he believes phytoestrogens might have contributed to the cancer that struck his mother. I don't think too much soy is good for anyone (although it does taste awfully good). Thanks for your comment!
Camille Harris from SF Bay Area on August 29, 2011:
Soy is always being touted as an acceptable substitute for meat, but I'm slowly learning the "dangers" of it. Particularly the link between it and early sexual maturation in girls. My good friend's daughter was raised on a diet consisting of a lot of soy, and she's been exhibiting secondary sexual characteristics since age 9. Not to imply that correlation is causation in this case, but the link is definitely there.
Anyway, great concise Hub. 158 more to go :)
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on August 26, 2011:
Hi "Erin": Hofmekler's qualifications should be questioned since he does not have a medical background. If you think that is an ad hominem or a logical fallacy, then I strongly suggest you read a dictionary and learn what these terms mean.
Erin Tyler on August 26, 2011:
Nice Ad Hominem. Logical fallacies aside, medical researchers know about isoflavones, goitrogens, faux hormones, pesticides, etc., they just don't give a crap about your health.
Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on February 27, 2011:
Very well written and helpful hubs. I love hubs like these. You learn a lot. I love the taste of soy milk and tofu but I have learned that I have to limit consumption...sometimes avoid it altogether..for this very reason. Glad to know that cabbage is so good. I just bought some to make soup! :) I wonder if cabbage soup with tofu would balance out? LOL
Pamela N Red from Oklahoma on January 20, 2011:
It should be noted that while estrogen is bad for men it is essential to a woman's health especially later in life.
Men and women have different hormonal needs.
JM on January 09, 2011:
By the way - grapefruit inhibits the enzyme that breaks down cortisol. Cortisol is another very important hormone which does many things. Too much or too little can be a bad thing. Perhaps this is the link to keeping estrogen in line. Not sure on this one though. ??
JM on January 09, 2011:
This is an interesting article but some question the eggs and soy. As you may or may not be aware, all hormones are manufactured from cholesterol in the human body. Egg yolks contain cholesterol - and therefore would assist with manufacturing progesterone - which helps keep the effects of estrogen in line. Also, soy which contains plant based estrogen - and not synthetic - is a bit different. Soy also contains progesterone. Hormones are a complex thing and if we end up with them out of balance all hell can break loose - often without us being aware.
pat p on January 04, 2011:
OAT MEAL FOR BREAKFASTTTTTTTTTTTT AND ONLY ORGANIC Fruit>>>THAT'S ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!NO SOY NO DAIRY !!!!I been eating oatmeal twice a day.. stay away from MEAT>>>BAD
Jim on August 06, 2010:
You use the word feminizing like it's a bad thing. Probably the proper term would be estrogenic.
CommonSense on August 01, 2010:
I disagree with much of this in terms of any kind of revelations. Plastic and microwaves are bad and have been bad from day one. The simple fact that most juice, for example, natural apple juice by Motts is hot filled at 160 degrees in plastic (as well as the whole food industry) is something most people don't consider.
Staying clear of plastic, microwaves, etc at all costs is just common sense and I've tried that for 30 years or so.
The food thing I'm also very skeptical about. Again he states to eat organic dairy but meat sparingly or on alternate days. All organic dairy guaranteed is organic by being fed "organic" grain and they're probably feed lot raised cows not seeing much pasture. It's still crap dairy but he recommends eating it. Cows need grass not grain. Same with meat, meat is great on this kind of diet, just not hormone raised beef (standard food industry fare).
So again seek out the purest sources, not just "low" on the food chain.
Also I do not believe in this hair splitting regarding seeking anti vs pro-estrogenic foods. Un-processed pure foods, no chemicals, no horomones, no plastic, no cans, etc is a no-brainer. Changing your diet to reflect that is the tricky part.
And the killer for most people is coffee, very bad for you and very estrogenic in your system.
But anyway, doing liver cleanses and fasting is great advice, but also really old advice too.
I'll bet if most of you stuffed your faces with really good food you'd eliminate most if not all supplements, lose weight, save money and be healthier to boot.
sandra on July 03, 2010:
An herb called sage is high in estrogen, garlic is high in estrogen and i've heard pears are good for the uterus , in what means i have no idea , i dunno about the soy issue being beneficial in cancer, i heard it's good and i really don't know if it's with or against cancer with all this dilemma,,,
Linda on June 11, 2010:
I3C vs DIM DIM has been proven to be the saftest by far. Read this article from Annie Appleseed Project :http://www.annieappleseedproject.org/dimsafin.html
fucsia on May 21, 2010:
very interesting info!
rdelp on January 15, 2010:
This is interesting...I never heard of this before.
Rob on January 12, 2010:
Regarding the comments about grapefruit - since the original study by Monroe et al in 2007 that suggested there may be a link between grapefruit and breast cancer, several follow up investigations have failed to confirm this association. Here is a good rebuttal to the conclusions of the original study http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v98/n1/pdf/66041... Here you can see that not only was no association found, but in women that have not had HRT and were concsuming grapefruit there was a DECREASED risk of breast cancer.
Grapefruit is also one of our best bioavailable sources of naringenine, which is anti estrogenic http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7503800.
I think overall Ori was right in suggesting grapefruit is anti-estrogenic. However, to be on the safe side i would lmit consumption to half a grapefruit on the Detox days.
joeleighton on January 06, 2010:
The answer to most health issues is diet.
Stay off the processed foods.
Load up on fruits, veggies and whole grains.
Steer clear of meat & dairy.
nikki1 on January 02, 2010:
WOW, great hub/ loved reading this..
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on December 20, 2009:
Maylin: I think the reason you get mixed messages about some foods is that estrogen mimics can conceivably do two things: they can cause estrogenic activity in the body, or they can bind estrogen receptors to *minimize* the effects of estrogen. I think the science isn't 100% clear which of these **opposite** effects it can have on your body.
Most people do not want to have any hormonal intrusion on our bodies: not enhanced, not mitigated estrogenic effects either. So we want to minimize these foods' role in our diets.
Since you have *cancer*, though, the reason no one wants to answer is that we are not medical professionals and none of us would dare give you medical advice that might either not help you or even make your condition worse. Maybe you can talk to an endocrinologist who is familiar with estrogenic foods who could advise you properly with respect to your tumor.
maylin on December 20, 2009:
I came across this site searching for Anti Estrogen foods.
I have a 13 CM uterine tumor and have been on a long journey to hear from anyone out there if they found anything that works for them naturallyt to shrink their uterine tumor close to my size or bigger. If anyone ready this can help or knows anyone that can help me...please email me at email@example.com
I have read so much and gotten to the point of WHO to BELIEVE and then when I try to email for answers as to where the facts are derived from..I never get any answers back.
For example: I get mixed answers on these...
where it is both Anti Estrogen and Estrogen
Peppers (what kind...hot peppers, bell peppers)
Does anyone know for sure?
I want to shrink my uterine fibroid and not have to go under the knife if time allows. right now I am running out of time due to I think it is growing faster these past week.
I am begging for someone to please respond if you hav any concrete facts what can work naturally.
I have been eating heavy on all fruits but then I see a list of fruits that are natural estrogens!
I eat Heavey garlic because I read it was good for cancer and tumors!
I eat kale, spinach, avocadoes, carrots and tomatoes daily and found out that tomatoes carrots , cucumbers sweet potatoes, sunflower seeds are estrogen base.
Wheat pasta weekly and found out that was estrogen base!
I am going nuts, can someone please help me. PLEASE.
with much peace
Carol on September 26, 2009:
Mark says that he was disturbed by Hofmekler's claim that grapefruit is anti-estrogenic. Mark is absolutely right to be sceptical of Hofmekler who is neither a doctor nor a nutritionist. Around three months ago, I started drinking fresh grapefruit juice daily. This went on for almost six weeks. I have estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer which has manifested as solid tumors on my breast. During those six weeks of daily grapefruit-juice consumption, the tumors grew at least three times in size, to the size of golf balls and lemons.
Alarmed, I thought carefully about what was different in my diet / lifestyle in those six weeks. Grapefruit was the major change. My own research on the effects of grapefruit on breast cancer showed that grapefruit contains a compound which inhibits an enzyme in our bodies which breaks down and metabolises estrogen. This results in estrogen accumulating in the body. You can find details of various studies on the grapefruit effect on breast cancer in my blog post "Breast Cancer Risk From Grapefruit" at http:www.healingpastures.com
My oncologist confirmed my suspicions about grapefruit. He said that the grapefruit also prevented Tamoxifen from working. Anyway, since I stopped consuming grapefruit completely, the tumors have been shrinking.
So Hofmekler's information is not reliable. Be careful.
Solomon157 on September 25, 2009:
A great eye opener. I really prefer organic foods to junks. This has given a better insight.
Aj Athwal on August 04, 2009:
Great hub, very insightful. Am always looking out for new ways to be healthier.
Toronto12 from Toronto on May 14, 2009:
Apparently brocoli, cabbage and brussel sprouts block estrogen as well...
Judy Cullins on March 04, 2009:
Great information in this hub. My partner and I are health authors and have been tuned into this feminizing problem for years. No more water in plastic bottles even. No more microwave for cooking food, and we both use a form of progesterone cream to balance our hormones. Needless to say we are pretty peppy and past 65!
perfectweight on February 12, 2009:
Great information! I have been hearing more about this subject matter and thank you for bringing this information to our attention.
jeanius on December 10, 2008:
Great Hub! Soy is getting press in lots of articles and books and news stories- I never got on the soy bandwagon but I did do a couple of years of regularly eating protein bars, which I later learned were a protein blend- with soy of course. You really have to check the ingredients in things- as you should if you're going to buy anything packaged because manufacturers sneak all sorts of stuff in them.
AntNel on October 16, 2008:
Here are some videos with Ori Hofmekler talking about the diet.
Ann Martin on May 26, 2008:
Great article. I had actually gone to a health voodoo a few years ago, and she warned me about taking soy and too much estrogen in the atmosphere, but i had never heard anything about it again until now.
I saw you wrote about avoiding healthfoods in plastic containers. I know she also warned me about drinking water botteled in plastic, and suggested that i purchase water held in glass bottles instead.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on May 20, 2008:
@Rhym: Good point!
@ninaredza: I personally do not believe in colonics. They just take out of you what would come out naturally in a day or two, unless you're having serious colon issues.
ninaredza from Malaysia on May 19, 2008:
I've never connected detox with sperm count. Has anyone ever tried colon hydrotheraphy cleansing? Please share it with us if you have. I'm considering Colonix.
Rhym O'Reison from Crowley, Tx on March 20, 2008:
This is great information and I wish everyone took it seriously. The good thing is that our livers will filter out 70-80% of what we take in orally, but we still put estrogen-imitating chemicals on our skin, which does not get filtered out. You will be hard-pressed to find any cosmetic or skin care product that does not have alkyl hydroxy benzoate preservatives (namely methyl-, ethyl-, propyl- and butylparaben).
Terry on March 14, 2008:
"Good Calories, Bad Calories" is an excellent book. It's hard to put down once you get started reading it.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on March 14, 2008:
Thanks, Mark. You're right; there is plenty to be skeptical about. I probably wouldn't have given the grapefruit issue a second thought until you said research you've found suggests the exact opposite.
Especially odd since I think his mother had breast cancer and has been hyperaware of the issue.
I strongly suggest reading, "Good Calories, Bad Calories", which, despite its cheesy-sounding title, actually debunks a lot of myths about obesity, heart disease, cancer and diet, because scientists chose to ignore findings that went against their own hypotheses, and they used too much "common sense" without testing it. (Like "grapefruits are good for you, so they must ward off the effects of estrogenic foods", which is what might have been going through Hofmekler's head, for all we know)
I'll check out the Fuhrman book - thanks for the tip, and your comment!
mark on March 13, 2008:
I recently purchased his book, along with his other "Warrior Diet" book. One thing though that disturbed me was that he claims grapefruit is anti-estrogenic. He basically lists different plants which he claims are estrogenic (they contain phytoestrogens or promote its activity) and antiestrogenic ones. Grapefruit and other citrus fruits, according to him, are anti-estrogenic. However a quick internet search shows that grapefruits actually will boost estrogen levels, and in women at risk raise the risk of breast cancer. Like the whole thing about eating "X chromosome" foods, this really shows that he isn't a nutritionist or medical professional but like many self-promoting diet authors he isn't above making scientifically incorrect statements. His book does seem to have some good recommendations but I'd take what he says with a grain of salt. Because of the low quality of the standard american diet, anyone can create a diet plan that will be far superior to what most people eat. For a more medically sound diet I'd look into the book "Eat to Live" by Joel Furhman.
1234-mom on February 03, 2008:
I started the antiestrogenic diet 5 days. I have lost 6 lbs and have so much energy? I really am amazed how simple it has been to follow and i haven't been hungry. I really look forward to the fish dinner at night.
I haven't bought the book yet. I have been following the diet from a copy my friend made of a mag article. All this money I have spent losing weight and the free plan is working!
Getting back to the energy, I really don't even know what to do at night. I used to pass out after putting the kids down. Now I am laying there wide awake? I have to get used to this, more than the food.
I can't wait to get the book to read more about the toxins we are all putting in our bodies daily. I do feel a little guilty feeding my kids all this junk though.
This is a good plan, and I have tried them all!
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on November 27, 2007:
It appears that isoflavones don't appear to affect women like they do men, so if your doctor is recommending them to you for hot flashes, they might be ok. The greater issue is testosterone levels in men.
Terri Likes on November 27, 2007:
I have been taking Isoflavones for 3 or 4 years now to help my
hot flashes.... I wonder what that can do??? any comments?
TL on November 12, 2007:
Nice to read the comments. As som eone who has tried the anti-estrogenic diet for 2 weeks I am extremely satisfied. Not only have I lost weight, my energy level has incresed tremendously. The biggest surprise was after 2 weeks of wild catch fish, organic dairy, and lots of fruits and vegetables (many not organic) that my arthritis pain and inflamation has decreased dramatically.
Lisa Barger on September 25, 2007:
Great hub, livelonger. This issue is of special interest to me due to my family history of "female" cancers. And I had no idea triclosan had been identified as a hormone disrupter.
Larry R Miller on August 06, 2007:
Interesting article. I'll investigate this one further. I was off Hub Pages for awhile but have some new postings at Larry R. Miller.
elias on July 04, 2007:
if you're just worried about losing the anti-estrogenic material out of your broccoli , then why not just eat it up all raw ? its more than worh it i think
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on May 23, 2007:
You're 100% right about soy, Angela, and I suspect that once information starts to get out, despite the soy lobby's best efforts, we'll realize that soy is not the dietary panacea it's been made out to be in recent years.
Angela Harris from Around the USA on May 20, 2007:
This is very interesting. I'm always interested in health articles. I remember reading something about this awhile back, although I don't believe it was from this book. You know a listed ingredient in the list that I believe needs more attention? Soy. It's always promoted as so healthy and soy is present in virtually everything now, whether people realize it or not. Kinda scary. Thanks for this informative hub.
vic on May 17, 2007:
That is a good question. I don't have an answer to it. I did some search and still came up with nothing. I take I3C from PURE. The manufacturer recommends that the product is kept in the refrigerator.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on May 17, 2007:
I remember I3C mentioned in Kurzweil's fantastic Voyage. Are the indoles in cruciferous vegetables sensitive to heat too? I.e. will steamed broccoli or cooked cabbage not be healthy?
vic on May 17, 2007:
Very interesting Hub. Indole-3-Carbinol has also been known to be very effective in balancing the estrogen levels in the body. It is a pretty potent phytochemical with cancer fighting properties. People on hormone replacement therapy are usually advised to supplement with Indole-3-Carbinol. Indole-3-Carbinol is very heat sensitive. Therefore, one should source it properly and store it in the refrigerator.
Jason Menayan (author) from San Francisco on May 17, 2007:
Thank you! I put up some links to the podcast where Ori mentions how these estrogenic chemicals are harmful to women as well as men.
Lorna Lorraine from Croydon on May 17, 2007:
Very insightful and interesting I give this three thumbs up! Thanks for sharing.