Phytoestrogens are naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds with structures and effects similar to those of estrogen hormone.
Subclasses of phytoestrogens are lignans, coumestans, and isoflavones.
Lignans: flaxseed (the highest amount), sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews and hazelnuts), oatmeal, rye, barley, wheat, legumes (lentils, navy beans, kidney beans, pinto and fava beans), soybean, alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, asparagus, green pepper, broccoli, cucumber, apricots, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, and dried prunes.
Coumestans: alfalfa sprouts, lima beans, pinto beans and split peas.
Isoflavones: soybeans (the most common food source), soy products (tofu, tempeh, and miso), alfalfa sprouts, green beans, chick peas and peanuts.
- Show antioxidant activities.
- May have protective effects against breast and prostate cancers (lignans).
- May improve bone density in osteoporosis (isoflavones).
- May improve production of hyaluronic acid in the skin followed by slowing down sun-related skin aging.