Estrogen Dominance Diet: How to Balance Hormones With Food

Learn the types of foods that can reduce estrogen levels and which ones to avoid.

This article was reviewed by Dr. Priscila Barbosa, nutritionist 

Whether you’re dealing with mood swings, fatigue, or bloating, estrogen dominance is no fun.

 As someone who's lived with estrogen dominance, I know exactly how frustrating these symptoms can be. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to manage them. And one of the best natural ways is through an estrogen dominance diet.

If you steer clear of foods that spike up estrogen, eat hormone-balancing foods, and take care of your gut and liver, you can lower your estrogen levels naturally.


In this post, we'll dive deep into the estrogen dominance diet, including which foods to eat and which foods to avoid. 

How can I lower my estrogen levels quickly?

You can lower estrogen levels naturally by following a healthy diet, staying active, and managing stress. Importantly, reach out to a medical professional healthcare provider. The right treatment for you depends on your unique circumstances. For example, an underlying condition might be at the root of your estrogen dominance. 

Generally, experts recommend the following to reduce estrogen levels:


  1. Diet: A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables, flaxseeds, and omega-3 fatty acids may balance hormone levels. Avoid foods high in saturated and trans fats.
  2. Exercise: Scientific evidence shows regular exercise can help decrease estrogen levels.
  3. Stress reduction: Stress can increase cortisol levels. And that can lead to imbalances in estrogen and other hormones, like progesterone, reports Cleveland Clinic. Meditation, deep breathing, or yoga can help you better cope with stress.
  4. Hormone balance supplements: Some supplements, such as vitamin D and magnesium, have been proven to support hormone balance.


Additionally, watch out for environmental toxins lurking in everyday products, explains Magdalena Wszelaki, certified nutritionist and founder of Hormones Balance, on the Humanized podcast:


“Throw away all your skincare products that are from brands that advertise on television mass media, companies that can afford to be in top shelves in stores. They'll spend multi millions of dollars on advertising. 


“Switch to brands that are really clean. You can look it up on the website under "skincare," the listing on how clean the skincare brands are – and there are so many of them. Elimination of that is a huge thing.”


Moreover, prioritise your gut health since a healthy gut is key for getting excess estrogen out of your body. Eating foods filled with probiotics and prebiotics support a healthy gut microbiome and more regular bowel movements.

Remember that fixing estrogen dominance won’t happen overnight. Restoring hormone balance can take time and experimentation. Given that there’s no quick fix out there, you might struggle to find quality information about reducing estrogen – and estrogen dominance in general, explains Wszelaki.

“...there was no specific pill, no one pill that can solve all of that. The best we can do is put women on birth control pills, which were designed for contraception and not for medical conditions. Or they can put us on antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication when you're having that time of the month. 


“I think we've only had just those specific solutions. And as you know, allopathic medicine doesn't focus on things like balancing your gut health or supporting your liver, which is so instrumental in estrogen dominance.”


Finally, while there are plenty of natural remedies for estrogen dominance, your doctor might recommend prescription medication. Personally, I’ve had a bad experience using medication like hormonal birth control pills. The pills were a temporary fix that didn’t get to the root of my hormone issues. I spent years on birth control for my skin and irregular periods, enduring mood swings and anxiety. In my case, I have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). But my situation may be totally different.

Seek a second (or third) opinion if you’d like. You might find a combination of conventional and natural remedies could be the best fix for your hormone issues. 


What foods to avoid if you are estrogen dominant?


What you eat can improve or worsen estrogen dominance, according to the Frontiers in Endocrinology. More specifically, you'll want to cut out or limit foods known to spike estrogen levels or mess with hormonal balance.


Here are some foods to consider restricting.




Alcohol consumption may interfere with the liver's ability to metabolise estrogen. That means you may end up with excess estrogen in your body.


A review of the research published in the Frontiers in Endocrinology cites several studies that establish a link between alcohol consumption and elevated estrogen levels. Multiple older studies like this one and this found alcohol could jack up circulating estrogens and lower levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG). 


SHBG is a protein that binds to sex hormones, including estrogen, in the bloodstream. When SHBG levels are too low, it can lead to higher levels of circulating estrogen in the body.


I'm a big (huge) fan of red wine, so there's some bias here, but I found a study that suggests red wine may lower estrogen slightly. My thinking here is moderation is key.

Red meat


Evidence suggests high red meat consumption may elevate estrogen levels.


Red meat contains a type of fat called saturated fat. And consuming foods high in saturated fat has been tied to higher estrogen levels in the body. 


One animal study found a connection between a high-fat diet and increased estrogen. In a very well-designed review, additional research showed that meat consumption was linked with lower levels of SHBG in postmenopausal women.




Dairy products may drive up your estrogen levels, according to research.


One theory is that dairy products may increase estrogen levels because pregnant cows' milk contains elevated estrogen levels. However, authors note that research is mixed: some studies found an association between dairy and higher levels of estrogens, while others have not.


What foods help balance estrogen dominance?


An estrogen dominance diet is rich in foods that can naturally lower estrogen levels. This way of eating focuses on foods that can help balance your hormones and support your liver and gut health. 


Here, the Mediterranean Diet is especially effective for a couple of reasons.

According to a review study following a Mediterranean diet supports lower estrogen levels. Not only that, but researchers also noted a rise in SHBG.  Study participants reduced dairy, saturated fats, and meat. On the other hand, they upped their intake of whole grains and cruciferous vegetables.


Beyond a direct influence on hormones, the Mediterranean diet is also good for gut health, according to research.


Below are specific foods and nutrients you can incorporate.


Omega-3 fatty acids


In fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, as well as in walnuts and flaxseeds, omega-3 fatty acids can positively affect hormone balance.


Per, omega-3 fatty acids supply a compound called lignans. Lignans can act as anti-estrogen.


Green tea polyphenols 


Green tea may help metabolise estrogen, according to the Nutrition Journal.


“Intake of green tea may reduce the risk of breast cancer; polyphenols in this drink can influence enzymes that metabolize estrogens, known causal factors in breast cancer etiology.”


Consider replacing one of your daily cups of coffee with green tea.


Cruciferous vegetables


According to the University of Wisconsin Integrative Health, cruciferous vegetables and broccoli derivatives can regulate estrogen. 


Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and other cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol. Decades of research show indole-3-carbinol can balance estrogen levels in the body.


Fiber-rich foods


Eating a fiber-rich diet can help your body get rid of extra estrogen. 

Here’s how it works: our bodies can’t break down fiber. So, it’s great for adding bulk to our waste and moving it through our digestive system smoothly. As a result, you’ll have more regular bowel movements and less constipation.

Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.


Prebiotic and probiotic foods


Both prebiotic and probiotic foods are good for estrogen metabolism because they keep gut bacteria in balance.

Think fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir for probiotics. Examples of prebiotic foods include blueberries, strawberries, apples, and extra olive virgin oil.

A one-day estrogen dominance diet meal plan

Go for  gut-friendly and anti-inflammatory foods to keep your estrogen levels in check. Here’s an example of what you might eat in a day:


Snacks: almonds, apples   


Frequently asked questions

Below, we answer common questions about estrogen dominance. 

What are the signs of estrogen dominance?


Estrogen dominance is a condition where estrogen levels in the body are higher than normal.


One of our primary sex hormones, estrogen, helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, support bone health, maintain brain function, and regulate mood. But too much of this hormone can lead to estrogen dominance. 


Doctor’s Data explains that estrogen dominance occurs when you have too much estrogen in relation to progesterone.


“The term “estrogen dominance” can be misleading at times because it does not relate solely to the amount of circulating estrogen in the body, but rather to the relationship between estrogen and progesterone.

"Contrary to popular belief, many symptoms experienced during menopause or with PMS are not due to estrogen deficiency, but rather are due to estrogen dominance.”


Some signs of estrogen dominance include:


  1. Irregular menstrual periods
  2. Heavy periods
  3. Breast tenderness or swelling
  4. Mood swings or anxiety
  5. Fatigue 
  6. Headaches
  7. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

A couple of factors can contribute to estrogen dominance. These include exposure to environmental toxins, poor liver function, stress, hormonal disorders (like polycystic ovary syndrome), and a diet high in estrogenic foods. 


How to calculate estrogen dominance?


To check for estrogen dominance, you’ll have to measure the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body. Have your doctor run a blood test or saliva test. These tests will provide you with a value for each hormone.

Once you have the estrogen and progesterone values, calculate each hormone’s ratio. A normal ratio of estrogen to progesterone is around 1:1, but this ratio may be higher in cases of estrogen dominance.

Use food to fix estrogen dominance

Estrogen dominance can lead to a ton of uncomfortable symptoms. The good news is that you can take charge of your hormonal health using the estrogen dominance diet.


Featured image credit: Photo by Karolina Grabowska