Boost your Progesterone naturally, and maintain optimal hormone balance with these 7 progesterone foods!
Getting the right nutrients and fueling your body with progesterone foods can help to balance hormones and maintain optimal progesterone levels.
Progesterone is a hormone essential for fertility, maintaining pregnancy, and having a healthy menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, many women struggle to maintain adequate progesterone levels, resulting in imbalanced hormones and the varied symptoms that follow.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a hormone released from the corpus luteum, the ‘shell’ of the egg, during ovulation. If your ovulated egg is fertilized, Progesterone will rise after ovulation to help thicken the uterine lining for pregnancy.
However, if your egg is not fertilized, the corpus luteum naturally breaks down. During this time, your progesterone levels drop, releasing the uterine lining, otherwise known as your period.
Low levels of Progesterone can put you at risk of developing estrogen dominance, contributing to even more hormone health issues.
Signs of low Progesterone include:
- Heavy periods (more than 80ml of blood)
- Night sweats
- High heart rate
- Cycle less than 23 days
- Cycle more than 34 days
- Luteal phase less than 9 days
- PMS anxiety or depression
- Mood swings
- Pre-period or mid-cycle spotting
- Irregular cycle
Click here to learn more about the signs of low Progesterone.
How is Progesterone depleted?
To boost Progesterone with food, you must first understand what causes progesterone levels to get depleted.
- Hormonal birth control prevents you from ovulating, stopping progesterone production.
- Stress prioritizes the stress hormone cortisol over reproductive hormones, including Progesterone.
- Environmental toxins, known as xenoestrogens, can disrupt hormone balance.
- Ageing can play a factor in progesterone levels. After the age of 35, progesterone levels tend to slowly decline until menopause.
- Nutrient deficiencies play a key factor, as your body requires certain nutrients to produce Progesterone. More on this later.
How to Increase Progesterone
If you deal with chronically low Progesterone, doctors and alternative practitioners will often prescribe progesterone cream or oral progesterone pills. This method works for many women. However, bioidentical hormones may suppress ovulation when not used correctly. There are ways to naturally boost the body’s progesterone production, which is always my preference.
Eating for Progesterone
One of the best ways to naturally boost Progesterone is focusing on your diet. Many nutrients are the building blocks for hormones, and some can support the health of the corpus luteum.
If you are deficient in nutrients such as zinc, vitamin A, or omega 3, your body may not be producing enough Progesterone.
Before we dive into specific foods that boost Progesterone, we need to cover the basics of nutrition – eating enough.
Menstruating women should be consuming a minimum of 2,000 calories per day to maintain proper hormone levels. Calorie restriction can lower hormone production and contribute to amenorrhea or a lack of ovulation.
If you are a chronic dieter or you don’t eat enough and deal with low Progesterone, you should start by consuming more nutrient-dense foods throughout the day.
7 Foods to Increase Progesterone
If you’re looking to boost Progesterone with food, start consuming these foods regularly.
Organic or Grass-Fed Ghee or Butter
Healthy saturated fats, such as organic ghee, are the building blocks of healthy hormones.
- A great source of healthy cholesterol
- Grass-fed dairy products offer fat-soluble vitamin A, helping to nourish the corpus luteum and increase Progesterone. Studies suggest that grass-fed butter is higher in Vitamin A than regular butter.
I recommend seeking out pasture-raised eggs from a local farmer, as they contain higher nutrient levels.
- A great source of healthy cholesterol
- Bioavailable source of carotenoids to nourish the corpus luteum
- Healthy source of choline, which helps maintain healthy estrogen and progesterone balance in the body
Pro tip – For optimal absorption of carotenoids, enjoy your eggs sunny side up or raw in a smoothie!
Yams are a food that can be enjoyed in many different ways and offers countless health benefits.
- Rich in carotenoids like other orange fruits and vegetables such as mango, carrots, and cantaloupe
- Beneficial source of vitamin B6, a building block of Progesterone
- Wild yams, specifically, contain a plant steroid that many women use to increase Progesterone naturally
Brazil nuts offer a variety of benefits, but I do not recommend consuming more than 3 brazil nuts per day to ensure you’re eating only the recommended amount of selenium.
- Rich in selenium, for healthy thyroid function, helping the liver to detox and ensuring optimal progesterone levels
- Studies suggest selenium, found in brazil nuts, is important for maintaining the function of the corpus luteum
- Rich in zinc to maintain healthy ovulation
Shellfish such as oysters, muscles, and clams are an underrated, nutrient-dense power source.
- Rich in selenium
- High in progesterone-building nutrients like zinc, vitamin A, and Omega-3
- A great source of vitamin B12
Enjoy smoked oysters on crackers as a snack, make a tasty seafood soup, or order mussels or oysters next time you’re at a restaurant.
Sunflower seeds are part of the popular seed cycle protocol. During the protocol, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds are eaten during your luteal phase to boost progesterone and balance hormones.
- High in vitamins B6 and E, helping to boost progesterone levels
- Rich in selenium
You can also enjoy sunflower seed butter as a healthy fat in your smoothies.
Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, or chard offer a variety of health benefits, including boosting Progesterone and balancing hormones.
- Excellent source of magnesium, increasing progesterone production, regulating blood sugar, and boosting energy levels
- High in calcium, which increases Progesterone
Pro tip – enjoy your leafy greens steamed or cooked to increase bioavailability.
Other Tips To Naturally Increase Progesterone
- Consider testing for another hormone imbalance; low Progesterone doesn’t usually happen on its own. I often see cortisol issues and thyroid issues in my clients with low production of Progesterone
- Support the adrenal glands and decrease stress hormones with vitamin C, stress management and getting 8 hours of sleep per night
- If you do take progesterone cream or oral progesterone pills, ask your hormone doctor about taking it after confirmed ovulation, so it doesn’t suppress your natural Progesterone
- Eat a diet rich in foods that support liver function like radishes, dandelion leaf and beets. All of your hormones need to detox through the liver, so maintaining a healthy liver is important
Cycle Syncing With Progesterone Foods
Cycle syncing is the practice of shifting your nutrition according to different phases of your menstrual cycle. Focus on eating more progesterone-boosting foods in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle when progesterone levels are high. The luteal phase is when your body produces the most of your Progesterone. It starts when you ovulate and ends when you get your period. Try making the smoothie recipe above regularly when you enter your luteal phase.
Progesterone Boosting Smoothie Recipe
Enjoying this tasty smoothie each morning of your luteal phase will help boost Progesterone.
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup ice
½ cooked yam
1 egg yolk (optional)
1 tbsp sunflower seeds or sunflower seed butter
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
Blend and enjoy!
In conclusion, eating the right progesterone foods can be an alternative to progesterone bioidentical progesterone therapy and supplementation. Low progesterone levels can cause many uncomfortable symptoms and negatively impact fertility, so it’s important to be proactive.
To learn more about boosting Progesterone, check out this blog post!
I am a nutritionist and herbalist specializing in women’s health and natural period pain relief. Reach out to me if you would like support with fertility and hormone balancing with an individualized protocol.