Hormonal fluctuations are more severe in women between the ages of 35 and 50, and this is associated with some symptoms. Some foods, such as chickpeas and legumes, contain estrogen-like elements.
Estrogen dominance occurs when the ratio of estrogen to progesterone becomes unbalanced. Usually, progesterone decreases rapidly as a woman reaches middle age, resulting in a relative increase in estrogen.
Estrogen dominance often occurs during menopause, but excessive stress, impaired immune function, liver disease, and exposure to many estrogen compounds from food or environmental sources can cause an estrogen imbalance in both females and males at nearly any age.
Significant decreased libido, breast enlargement and sensitivity to touch, headache, fatigue, depression, weight gain, mood swings, and insomnia are common symptoms of estrogen dominance. In severe cases, the excess in women leads to fibroids, ovarian cysts, and breast cancer.
Chickpea and estrogen
Chickpeas contain phytoestrogens, which weakly mimic the properties of estrogen.
There is some evidence that this phytoestrogen helps balance hormones. But there are also concerns that excessive consumption of these foods leads to imbalances. Phytoestrogens provide some health benefits as they are antimicrobial, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Therefore, people with estrogen dominance, or who are taking hormone replacement therapy, are advised to reduce the consumption of foods rich in phytoestrogen.
Other sources of phytoestrogen
Chickpeas are classified as legumes, a food group known for their phytoestrogen content. Other legumes include beans, black-eyed beans, peas, and soybeans.
On the other hand, some other foods that are anti-estrogenic are recommended to be eaten to adjust the balance, such as: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, citrus fruits, berries, some raw nuts and seeds, and fresh dairy products.
This does not mean that chickpeas should not be eaten, as they are rich in health benefits, and contain soluble fibers that lower cholesterol levels. But it is advised to consult a doctor in case of estrogen predominance.