Nationwide, women are struggling with high levels of cholesterol, according to pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. With that in mind, researchers at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles have looked for a non-medical way to prevent an overabundance of bad cholesterol. In an observational study – meaning the subjects were simply observed and not asked to change their routine – Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz found that those who ate ample amounts of foods containing phytoestrogens had lower levels of LDL.
What are phytoestrogens?
According to Marla Ahlgrimm, phytoestrogens are simply weak plant estrogens that occur naturally in many foods. They are grouped into five categories: Isoflavones, Flavonols, Flavones, Flavanones, and Lignans. Isoflavones are found in foods such as soybeans and tofu; Flavenols are sourced from onions, lettuce, and red wine; Flavones are ample in apples and green tea; Flavanones are derived from citrus peels; and Lignans are abundant in flax, garlic, and squash.
If the foods listed above aren’t exactly to one’s personal taste, there are several supplements available that can fill the need. Marla Ahlgrimm says that red clover and angelica are both herbal supplements that contain phytoestrogens. She cautions, however, to carefully read the labels and ensure that the manufacturer is reputable. Marla Ahlgrimm also recommends reading the book The Menopause Cookbook, How to Eat Now and for The Rest of Your Life by Dr. Hope Ricciotto. She explains that Dr. Ricciotto and husband chef Vincent Connelly collaborated on the book, which incorporates phytoestrogens and other beneficial nutrients for women.
Ahlgrimm cautions against over-supplementing and states that too much estrogenic stimulation may be harmful to the breast and/or uterus.