What is gynecomastia?
This is a condition where breast tissue in males enlarges or overdevelops. The breast becomes enlarged and might grow unevenly. In most cases, gynecomastia occurs in boys going through puberty. However, older men and children might get affected by this condition too.
What causes gynecomastia?
Gynecomastia is a benign condition linked to many different causes. In which, might cause fluctuation in hormones. It is often caused by changing levels of the female hormone (estrogen) and the male hormone (testosterone) in the body.
There might be a lot of causes for gynecomastia due to hormonal imbalance in the individual.
Some of the reasons are:
- Thyroid, liver, or kidney disorders
- Some forms of cancers
- Medications such as anti-androgens steroids, antidepressants, antibiotics, antianxiety medicines
- Alcohol and drug
- Liver cirrhosis
- Foods rich in estrogen
How can we manage gynecomastia?
The first step in managing this condition is to understand what caused the condition in the first place. For example, all men have some estrogen in the form of estradiol which plays a vital role in male sexual function. However, as they get older, testosterone production declines, while estrogen levels rise. Hence, this can cause more pronounced breasts in older men.
However, diet is another crucial factor that plays a vital role in developing gynecomastia. Eating a diet high in fat, carbs, sugar is not healthy. Still, excessive weight gain can cause bulges all over your body, especially in the breast tissue. Men who pack on the pounds may find themselves developing gynecomastia.
Whatever the reason, the root cause of this condition is a hormonal imbalance that lowers that level of testosterone and increases estrogen level in the blood. So, managing this balance and restoring the hormones to their original levels help manage this condition. This can be done very effectively through dietary modifications.
Foods to avoid
Some foods also contain hormones and other chemicals that mimic the effects of estrogen. If you are suffering from gynecomastia, you should avoid these estrogen-rich foods that fuel gynecomastia. Such as:
- Processed Food
Processed meals are convenient, but these foods are full of empty calories. They are usually loaded with sodium, sugars, and preservatives. In addition, a large number of processed foods contain testosterone-stunting chemicals like polycarbonate or bisphenol-A. That causes testosterone levels to fall in the body. In contrast, estrogen level rises and might result in pronounced breast tissue manifesting as gynecomastia.
- Soy Products
Edamame, tofu, tempeh, and soy dairy substitutes are all high-protein alternatives to animal products. Soy is high in phytoestrogens, which are a kind of plant estrogen. According to many studies, they are molecularly similar and mimic the effect of human estrogen when you consume them. This increases the chances of developing breast tissue in males.
Beetroot is considered a great natural supplement for females, lacking sufficient estrogen levels in their bodies. However, beetroot worsens this condition for males already experiencing a hormonal imbalance by boosting the body’s estrogen level.
- Eggs and Dairy Products
Eggs, milk, and cheese are all high in chicken and cow estrogen, identical to the human version of the hormone. The feed given to farmed animals contains high amounts of estrogen to speed up their growth. This estrogen and other chemicals in the animals can have lasting effects on disturbing human hormone levels.
What are the symptoms?
Men may have gynecomastia in one or both breasts. It starts as a lump of fatty tissue beneath the nipple that is sore in most cases. The breasts often get larger unevenly.
How to diagnosed gynecomastia
Your doctor will take your past health and medicine history and conduct a physical exam.
To make sure there are no other underlying diseases or conditions, you may also have to get some tests done.
These test may include:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- A low-dose X-ray of your breast (mammogram)
- A biopsy of the breast tissue may be done, and it may be checked for cancer cells
Are there foods that manage gynecomastia?
As mentioned above, gynecomastia occurs as a result of hormonal imbalance. It can be a case of excess estrogen or reduced testosterone. However, a fall in the level of testosterone may also lead to an imbalance in the estrogen levels, which will also result in the enlargement of the breasts. One can manage this situation by increasing testosterone levels to help in maintaining a hormonal balance.
Eating foods that produce high testosterone levels, can be effective. Inculcating a good diet and exercise regime in your daily life can restore your hormonal balance.
Consuming foods that help add testosterone to your diet can reduce the effects of gynecomastia. Foods high in cholesterol play a vital role in producing the male hormone testosterone. Ingredients rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are also helpful in giving the body a testosterone boost.
Vegetables helpful in managing gynecomastia
These vegetables contain components like anti-estrogen molecules, vitamins, and certain testosterone-enhancing factors that, when taken regularly, help reduce breast enlargement. The high fibre content in these vegetables helps the affected person maintain a healthy lifestyle and lose weight, which might also contribute to managing gynecomastia. These vegetables are:
Cauliflower is rich in vitamins such as C, E, and K, folate, and a chemical called indole-3-carbinol. Its anti-estrogen properties can be good for men struggling to reduce estrogen. They are rich in fibre and low in calories. They can be significant even for diet loss, hence managing gynecomastia due to obesity.
Mushrooms reduce estrogen levels in the body by blocking an enzyme called aromatase. These enzymes aid in converting testosterone to estrogen. By blocking its production, estrogen levels are lowered in the person. The most effective mushrooms in this regard are Oyster mushrooms.
Broccoli contains indoles and DIM, which helps to reduce estrogen in the body naturally. This helps in managing gynecomastia in males. Broccoli is a plant from the Cabbage family, Brassicaceae. Broccoli possesses abundant fleshy green flower heads sprouting from a thick, edible stalk. The vitamins and molecules present in it help reduce gynecomastia. High fibre content makes it ideal for people trying to lose weight.
Brussels sprouts also contain anti-estrogen constituents like indole-3-carbinol. Hence it is ideal for men at risk or struggling with gynecomastia. Along with that, high fibre content and vitamins make it super healthy and beneficial in general.
You can make testosterone work more effectively by consuming cabbage. This will cut down the amount of estrogen in the body. The reason is that cabbage contains high amounts of indole-3-carbinol. This chemical works by reducing estrogen levels in males, which aids testosterone in performing its job more efficiently by dominating. Cabbage is also a rich source of calcium, potassium, magnesium. As well as, vitamins C, K, and B, folate, protein, fibre, and manganese. Moreover, when paired with lots of insoluble fibre, it manages the effects of gynecomastia very effectively.
The abundant compound found in garlic is allicin. This compound lowers the amount of cortisol hormone in the body. Testosterone is released in more significant amounts, when there is low production of cortisol. Hence, it helps by indirectly managing the root cause in many cases of gynecomastia patients.
Spinach, along with high fibre, also contains an abundance of zinc. The mineral zinc helps in testosterone production in the body. Foods rich in zinc tend to stabilize testosterone levels in men and prevent testosterone loss. Thus, hormonal imbalance can be prevented. Therefore, gynecomastia can be managed efficiently.
Sweet potatoes, among other nutrients, are rich in antioxidants. When you include it in your daily diet, you get relief from the swelling and tenderness caused due to gynecomastia. Plus, the breast inflammation due to gynecomastia can also subsides after eating foods rich in antioxidants like sweet potatoes.
Herbs are use to manage gynecomastia.
Certain herbs are known to boost the production of testosterone in males. These herbs increase the testosterone level and curb the effects of estrogen, one of which is gynecomastia in males. Hence these herbs restore balance to the hormones and eliminate the problem that men face due to hormonal fluctuation. These herbs are:
The molecules of curcumin in turmeric help reduce estrogen levels and increase testosterone production in males. There is more study needed on this to confirm the impact of curcumin. However, larger doses of curcumin are said to increase testosterone levels and counter the breast enlarging effects of estrogen in men.
Red Clover contains components known as flavonoids that help metabolize estrogen levels faster. Hence, consuming red clover can bring the testosterone and estrogen levels in the body back to normalcy and restore balance. This helps in treating gynecomastia in a large number of males.
This herb does not contain the hormone testosterone itself. Still, it has proven to be effective in raising the levels of luteinizing hormone released by the pituitary gland. As a result, it encourages your gonads to increase their testosterone production. Increased testosterone production means less estrogen and hence no gynecomastia.
This herb comes from the mushroom family and is touted for its ability to stimulate testosterone production. Many common asthma medications are a huge cause of the development of male breasts. Therefore, cordyceps is an excellent alternative medicine for asthma. Hence, making this a great treatment for asthma and prevention of gynecomastia from occurring.
Passionflower is said to have testosterone-boosting action. Moreover, studies have shown its practical results in increased testosterone production in older men. It can be used to treat gynecomastia among older men struggling with this issue.
Other herbs reported having testosterone-boosting properties include Yellow Vine (aka Tribulus Terrestris).
Fruits can treat gynecomastia.
Like vegetables and herbs, certain fruits can also aid in the management of gynecomastia. Containing a large amount of vitamin c and antioxidant properties, these fruits help men get rid of this issue when used with lifestyle change. These fruits include:
Fruits such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime are citrus fruits. Vitamin c, hesperidin, and quercetin found in these fruits help regulate estrogen levels. They help manage gynecomastia by keeping estrogen levels in the body in check.
- 1 Lime ~ unpeeled
- 1 Lemon ~ unpeeled
- 2 cups Blackberries
- 2 cups Raspberries
Avocado contains a high amount of fats in them. Healthy fats like polyunsaturated fats and saturated fats actually boost testosterone levels in the bloodstream and curb the effects of estrogen in males. Along with fats, avocado contains minerals like boron and magnesium that increase the level of testosterone in the body due to high testosterone levels and low estrogen levels.
This is another fruit rich in fats that help boost testosterone production. This help reduces estrogen’s effects in males and manages its harmful effects like gynecomastia.
Pomegranates & Berries
These are high in flavonoid antioxidants that help to protect the cells that produce testosterone and, in turn, increase testosterone production. These also help fight obesity-induced inflammation, reducing the effects of breast enlargement in males.
Grapes contain a component known as resveratrol that boosts testosterone production and positively affects overall hormonal balance. This high level of potassium also helps manage gynecomastia. It is also known to fight cancerous elements, especially in breast cancer patients.
All these vegetables, fruits, and herbs contain constituents that help the body produce more testosterone and lower the level of estrogen in one way or another in males. This helps impart balance to the hormones, which is the cause in almost all cases of gynecomastia. Treating the root cause treats the condition. Hence incorporating these herbs and fruits in your diet and other measures ensure estrogen level is low. These include limiting the intake of animal products and ensuring regular exercise and lifestyle changes. Avoiding foods that promote gynecomastia and taking foods that help manage it and exercise can show great results for most people.