What Is Coumestrol and What Bearing Does It Have on Health?

Coumestrol is a phytochemical that belongs to the group called coumestans and is a natural organic compound. There is much interest that researchers have in this compound, due to his touted cancer fighting properties and its estrogenic activity.Red-clover

Coumestrol is a phytoestrogen that is seen to be present in soybeans, legumes, (particularly green peas) spinach, Brussels sprouts and so on and is seen to mimic the activity of estrogens in the body.

A Mexican study had shown that the regular consumption of green peas and other legumes is thought to decrease risk of stomach cancer.

Though coumestrol occurs naturally in plants and is known to have beneficial impacts on the body, it is not considered to be necessary for us; this is not a vitamin in that sense of the word.

In 1957, coumestrol was indentified in alfalfa by E M Bickoff as a unique flavonoid.

A study conducted by the Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, found that coumestrol could help reduce risk of prostate and breast cancer by preventing estradiol binding to estrogen receptors.

There is no recommended daily intake of coumestrol since it is not a nutrient that is essential to the body’s functioning, even though it is known to have beneficial effects. Insufficient consumption of coumestrol is not known to cause any kind of deficiency and nor is there any adverse effect known to occur from an ‘overdose’ of this nutrient.

However there is adequate evidence to show that coumestrol is good for us and so enough reason to try and include it in our diet. Good sources of coumestrol are –

Alfalfa

This has been a medicinal herb since ancient times and is known to be high in protein and other nutrients such as Vitamins. In Chinese medicine alfalfa is used to resolve digestive and kidney disorders. In Ayurveda as well, it is used for curing digestive problems.

Red clover

Red clover and the isoflavones that it contains are well known for reliving menopausal symptoms and is a good source of coumestrol.

Food sources of coumestrol

Soybeans are known to have high rates of this nutrient and are even otherwise good for health since they are known to contain several healthy compounds. In addition spinach, Brussels sprouts and peas can be added to the diet to help increase coumestrol intake.

These food items are very good for health even otherwise and an increase in their proportion in one’s diet can only be of benefit.

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