Although commonly occurring in pubertal and aging males, gynecomastia – the enlargement of breast in men – can also occur due to a mix of different factors. These common causes include hormonal imbalance (reduced testosterone and excessive estrogen), use of certain medications, marijuana use, and many more.
But whether it’s mild gynecomastia or severe, you can use your diet as a starting point for your treatment. They have not been scientifically proven to be beneficial as treatment for gynecomastia, but they certain foods can be the big positive change you can implement for your health.
Causes and Symptoms of Gynecomastia
Hormonal imbalances are usually the main culprit in gynecomastia, which can resolve on its own but can be extremely embarrassing for a man. These hormonal fluctuations naturally occur in infants, pubertal boys, and senior men, but there are other factors at play.
These factors include certain medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and AIDS drugs. You should also beware of the same risk from anabolic steroids, heart medications, chemotherapy, and ulcer and prostate cancer drugs.
Substance abuse, as well as several health issues like obesity, is also a suspect in the occurrence of gynecomastia. Use of certain substances, such as lavender and tea tree oil, can also cause male breast enlargement.
The Role of Food in Treating or Worsening Gynecomastia
There are some common drinks that disrupt hormonal balance in your body, including:
- Milk – This source of estrogen in your diet also constitutes as much as 80 percent of your dietary estrogen consumptions. Cows give milk while pregnant or lactating, which means their estrogen levels are higher. Factory farms also give them regular doses of hormones for increased growth and milk production.
- Alcohol – affects your liver’s ability to get rid of excess estrogen. Hops in beer and yucca, too, have phytoestrogens, which are compounds mimicking true estrogen in your body and contributes to gynecomastia.
To regain hormone balance, you can eat foods rich in fiber, which help you excrete excess estrogen, Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, can break down estrogen into an easily excreted form.
As natural gynecomastia reduction treatment, you can also increase foods that contain calcium and zinc. The former regulates estrogen uptake, while the latter can increase testosterone levels in your body. Zinc is found abundantly in oysters and red meat, but be sure to stick to organic and clean dietary sources.
Cooking with certain spices like turmeric also helps. Turmeric has anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits, and preliminary evidence shows that curcumin, its major component, may decrease hormone sensitivity to a gene implicated in prostate cancer.
Supplementation can also be the key as well. But before you take herbal remedies, consult your doctor, especially if you are currently taking prescription medications.