You may believe your food choices caused your gynecomastia, which is the enlargement of breast tissue in men. However, there's no association between any food and breast enlargement in men, and no special food you need to eat or avoid when you have the condition. But making certain food choices may help decrease breast size and manage symptoms by controlling overall body weight. Consult your doctor to discuss diet and your gynecomastia.
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Phytoestrogens and Gynecomastia
A change in hormone levels, including androgen and estrogen levels, is a common cause of gynecomastia. Some foods, including soy foods such as tofu and soy milk, contain a plant form of estrogen called phytoestrogen. You may worry that these natural sources of estrogen have an impact on your estrogen levels and may be responsible for your enlarged breasts. However, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the estrogen in the foods does not increase your estrogen levels and likely has nothing to do with your gynecomastia. In fact, phytoestrogens in your diet may help reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Overweight and obesity are other potential causes of gynecomastia, and the excess fat actually increases estrogen levels. Making better food choices to help reduce your body weight may help decrease breast size. Fill your diet with low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods to help reduce your calorie intake and promote weight loss. Good choices include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy foods and lean sources of protein such as poultry, lean red meat, seafood and beans.
Gynecomastia may cause swelling and tenderness in your breasts; pain relievers and ice packs may help. Certain foods also have anti-inflammatory properties that may relieve some of the pain you feel, although no studies have been done on the effects of these anti-inflammatory foods on gynecomastia specifically. These foods include fatty fish such as salmon and tuna and foods rich in antioxidants such as leafy greens, sweet potatoes, berries, citrus fruits and beans.
Other Tips and Suggestions
To help with weight management to reduce breast size, eat regularly at least three meals and one to two snacks a day. Eating regularly helps control hunger so you'll be less likely to make unhealthy food choices. Unhealthy foods, such as processed foods high in trans fat and oils high in omega-6 fats -- such as corn, soy and peanut -- increase inflammation and may make you feel worse. Also, try to fit in exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Gynecomastia
- NHS Choices: What Is Gynaecomastia?
- Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine: Ask the Expert: Soy
- University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health: The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Back to Basics for Healthy Weight Loss