Estrogen and Cancer (And How Diet Reduces Risk)
Estrogen is considered the primary female sex hormone. There are three forms of estrogen that occur naturally in the body: estradiol, estriol and estrone.
While estrogens are present in both women and men, they’re typically most concentrated in females of reproductive age. Although estrogen plays a necessary role in the development of the female sex characteristics (like breasts) and the regulation of the menstrual cycle, it is a sex steroid that can promote the proliferation of cells, which can spur the growth or spread of cancer.
Estrogen and Cancer: How Female Hormones Fuel Cancer Growth
Research shows estrogens act as growth factors breast cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer. With simple lifestyle changes, we can reduce our exposure to this cancer-fueling factor.
Here are the ways we increase our exposure to estrogen:
- Drinking alcohol
- Gaining weight gain after menopause. (Remember: fat is a repository for hormones including estrogen)
- Using postmenopausal hormones
- Eating animal products that contain growth hormones (choose organic meats, poultry and eggs)
- Being exposed to environomental estrogens including pesticides and dioxins often found in conventionally-grown foods or farm-raised fish (choose wild caught fish)
The factors that may decrease estrogen exposure include:
- Physical activity
- Reduction the estrogens and estrogen-mimics we take in from our food and the environment
Balance your estrogen levels naturally by eating an organic, whole foods diet that excludes hormones, pesticides and other environmental estreogens, being moderate with your alcohol intake and exercising regularly.