Progesterone – Balancing Through Nutritional Changes

While progesterone replacement therapy (even bio-identical or natural hormones) is certainly an option for balancing progesterone levels that are really out of whack, I highly recommend that you take a more natural approach first.

What we eat has a profound effect on our health and many of us tend to forget this.  We either think of food as simply calories for sustenance or as a source of enjoyment and pleasure.
The following foods help to reduce estrogen levels, which helps to balance the ratio of progesterone to estrogen.
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
As I mentioned last week, these two hormones are involved in a delicate dance and when estrogen levels are too high, progesterone levels can become very low.  If you missed that post, you can find it here.
Foods that are rich in vitamin B6 which help to detoxify the liver of estrogen … another way of keeping the dance moving … are as follows:
  • Walnuts
  • Beans
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Lean red meat
Zinc helps to stimulate progesterone production and can be found in the following foods:
  • Shellfish
  • Beef
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Chickpeas
  • Wheatgerm
Magnesium, which supports adrenal glands, helps relax muscles and your digestive system and is used in every enzyme reaction in the body, which therefore helps produce hormones, including progesterone.  Eat more:
  • Beans
  • Pumpkin
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Spinach
Foods high in Vitamin C help to reduce high levels of free radicals which damage cells and disrupt bodily functions.  Foods high in vitamin C are:
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomato juice
  • Broccoli
  • Guava
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet peppers
Now that you have the list of foods that help boost progesterone levels, the key ones are:
  • Broccoli
  • Red meat
  • Pumpkins seeds
  • Spinach
  • Nuts
A word of caution when it comes to food choices.  When it comes to meat, chicken, eggs and pork, organic is best but I know it’s a little expensive.  The next best foods would be raised free from the use of hormones and antibiotics.  Hormones that are present in our food supply system are a large part of the reason why people are having so many hormone imbalance issues (think PCOS in women and man boobs in well … men).  Clean sources of fish and shellfish are becoming more and more difficult to find.  Wild caught is best.  Farmed fish, and especially genetically modified fish, should be avoided.  Another option is to reduce the amount of these foods that you eat so the hormone free/organic meats are more affordable.
Plant-based nutrition has been gaining a lot of popularity in recent years.  Again, I would encourage you to use caution when selecting your produce.  I’ve included a list below that sets out the Dirty Dozen (the foods you definitely want to buy organic) and the Clean 15 (the foods with the fewest chemicals and the safest to eat if not organic) for those of us who are on a budget.
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I know genetically modified foods are a hot topic these days.  Some people are adamant about not wanting to eat GMO foods and others don’t see the harm.  As with all things, we are human beings who each have the right to put what we want into our bodies. There is a radical difference between hybridizing and genetically modifying.  I won’t get on my soapbox today about this issue but suffice it to say that I highly recommend that you stay away from GMO foods and encourage you to eat foods in their most natural state.
There seems to be two schools of thought with respect to nutrition.  Some people promote a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle while others promote paleo or primal.  I am a firm believer that not everyone should eat the same way.  Some people thrive on a plant-based diet and meat makes them nauseous.  Others become weak and lethargic if they don’t obtain animal protein.  The trick (and sometimes it’s very tricky) is to find out what works for you.  I don’t mean just for weight loss, I mean life in general.

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