Nutrition has been in the center spotlight of health for many years now. What we eat can often lead to reactions in the body.  We can enhance or minimize effects of dietary plans, Athletic Achievement, Sleep, and many other areas of functioning within the human experience. One such area includes hormone levels.  Various foods we eat can have an influence on our abilities to create or suppress hormonal reactions throughout the body. As a diagnostic tool, I will often suggest young people and their parents to add small portions of certain foods to their diets and report back how they feel. Relatively little change (if any) will be achieved through specific diet changes alone, but in conjunction with Hormone Replacement Therapy, diet may act as an enhancer to the treatment.  I am NOT a licensed nutritionist and I strongly urge everyone to consult a doctor before making any major changes in one’s diet. With that being said, lets explore some foods that may raise/lower Estrogen and Testosterone levels.

Lowering Testosterone (goal of MtF)

Many foods can assist male-to-female clients in fighting off increased levels of testosterone. Since males cannot produce Estrogen in significant quantities, efforts to reduce levels of Free Testosterone will enhance the impact of estrogen supplements taken during HRT. Foods that reduce testosterone levels include:


  • Avoiding meats will lower testosterone levels in the body. According to 4-Mens Health, evidence suggests that consumption of meat boosts testosterone levels. One reason is the cholesterol meat contains, which is a “precursor” to hormones such as testosterone, according to B-Net. Vegetarian diets, on the other hand, cause a decrease in testosterone levels.


  • According to The Hormone Shop, studies prove that low-fat diets  will yield lower testosterone levels. Furthermore, The Hormone Shop states that essential fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids and saturated fats, are essential for normal testosterone production and by avoiding such fats you will decrease the natural production of testosterone.


  • The “Journal of Endocrinology” has determined that soy (which contains phytoestrogens) will decrease testosterone levels. Phytoestrogens, a word closely related to estrogen, has been the basis for many men avoiding soy milk and other soy products.

The fear that consuming soy products, and therefore the consumption of phytoestrogens, would cause a change in testosterone was proven in a study done by Gifu University School  of Medicine located in Japan. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the study revealed that testosterone concentrations were inversely related with the intake of soy products, after controlling all other factors.

Carbohydrates and Simple Sugars

  • According to The Hormone Shop, diets which are high in complex carbohydrates, simple sugars and fiber will result in lower testosterone levels. Consuming an excessive amount of carbohydrates will cause blood sugar to elevate and therefore release elevated levels of insulin and cortisol. According to The Hormone Shop, once these two hormones are in the body, they work to decrease production of testosterone and oppose the action of the testosterone which is released into the body.

Additional Tips and Warnings

  • Remember to avoid consumption of too much protein. Protein stimulates hormones in the body which regulate the release of proper levels of testosterone, according to The Hormone Shop.

Remember…Attempting to decrease hormone levels without a doctor can be dangerous. Please consult a doctor before beginning any large dietary changes.

Read more: Types of Food That Lower Testosterone |

Foods That Decrease Estrogen levels (part of goal for FtM )

Estrogen dominance occurs when estrogen is in the body at a much higher level than other sex hormones, mainly progesterone. The increased level can be the result of excess estrogen production or storage, or a drop in the level of progesterone. Symptoms of estrogen dominance are obesity (with fat accumulating in the mid-section), fibrocystic breasts and ovaries, menstrual irregularity, headaches and often breast cancer. With these unwanted side effects of estrogen dominance, many look for natural ways to combat it. One way to help control the level of estrogen in the body is through the diet.


One of the first nutritional changes you should make to fight estrogen dominance is to up your fiber intake. Dr. Ronald Hoffman of New York states that a high fiber diet will decrease blood estrogen levels. Since excess estrogen leaves the body by way of the bowel, if stool remains in the colon the estrogen will be reabsorbed. Some foods  that are high in fiber and make great additions to the diet are celery, apples, berries, oatmeal, nuts and seeds and any kind of bean.


Add flax seed to your diet. Flax seeds contain compounds called “lignans.” According to the Linus Pauling Institute, a health research center at Oregon State University, lignans have an “anti-estrogenic” effect, in which they interfere with the enzymes that are involved with the production of estrogen. While flax seeds have anti-estrogenic properties, they are also very high in phyto-estrogens, which are estrogens from a plant source, so you want to consume them from a food  source no more than once a day. The highest food source of lignans is flax seed. Flax seed can be added to baked goods such as breads and muffins, or sprinkled on top of salads or lean stir-fry dishes. It can also be purchased already ground.


The liver works as a filter that cleans harmful substances from the blood stream and sends them for elimination, including excess estrogen. When the liver works too hard and can not function properly, toxins build up in the system, including estrogen says Dr. Hoffman. Eating foods that keep the liver healthy can help the liver reduce the estrogen dominance within the body. Foods such as onions, garlic and egg yolks are good for the liver because they contain sulfur. The George Metaljan Foundation, (“World’s Healthiest Foods”), states that it is sulfur compounds that give the liver the ability to get rid of toxins such as pesticides and liver damaging medications. Other foods that aid in liver detox are lemons, limes, spinach, leafy greens and Brussel sprouts. While the cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts and broccoli help with liver function, they also contain higher amounts of phyto-estrogens, so vary your vegetable intake and have cruciferous vegetables every other day.


When selecting fruits, vegetables and even lean meats, seek out organic sources. Organic foods are not grown or raised with pesticides or added hormones, so they give the liver a break by not adding extra toxins or estrogens into the system. Xenoestrogens, estrogens from environmental sources, are found in pesticides, plastics, detergents and even perfumes. If you purchase food that you are not certain is organic, be sure to wash it first to rinse any pesticide residue from it. When purchasing meat or milk, make sure it states that it is organic and “hormone free.”


To reduce estrogen levels, certain foods should be limited or omitted altogether. Foods and drinks that contain caffeine should be removed from the diet. Dr. Michael Lam, who specializes in natural healing, reports on a study that involved measuring caffeine consumption and estrogen levels. The result of the study was that even only one cup of coffee per day could increase estrogen levels, and more than four cups of coffee  raised the level 70 percent higher than the one cup level. Dr. Lam also states a study that showed a reduction in estrogen levels of women who gave up a diet full of high carb and high fat foods in exchange for a plant centered diet that was low in fat. Avoiding sugars, fatty and processed foods and opting for fresh, whole fruits and vegetables and nuts is one way to reduce estrogen dominance.

Read more:

These are just some suggestions to discuss with your doctor or nutritionist. Diet alone will not lead to a miraculous feminine or masculine figure, but when paired with exercise and hormone replacement therapy, one might see enhanced effects.  Again…Consult your doctor first!

Cameron Duvall, MS
MFT registered intern (IMF#65656)
30 N. San Pedro Rd, Suite 160
San Rafael, California 94903
(415) 968-9591