June 13, 2022 | By: Dr. Patti Haebe, NMD
Progesterone is a big buzzword when it comes to both trying to conceive and especially in early pregnancy. It’s a vital sex hormone produced both from the ovaries and your two adrenal glands. It helps us to feel calm, supports the pregnancy in the early weeks, and protects your endometrial lining in the second half of your menstrual cycle, called the luteal phase.
Let’s talk about some foods that increase progesterone naturally to support pregnancy and boost fertility.
Foods and Nutrients to Support Progesterone Levels:
1. Seeds: Say ‘yes’ to Sesame and Sunflower
Seeds are powerhouses, packed with so much goodness in one tiny little shell. They have all the nutrients a plant needs to grow so it’s only natural that they’d be packed with supportive vitamins and minerals for your body! If you’ve heard the term ‘seed cycling’, you may be familiar with consuming different seeds during different times of your menstrual cycle to support the dominant hormones in that phase, this is the same concept.
Sesame and sunflower seeds can help support progesterone production as they are an abundant source of zinc, selenium, and vitamin E. These vitamins are necessary to producing a healthy supply of progesterone!
2. Colorful Fruits & Veggies chock full of Vitamin C
Foods loaded with vitamin C: guavas, lemons, strawberries, bell peppers to name the top contenders are a great way to pack your body with the nutrient it needs just before ovulation to support healthy progesterone production. Vitamin C, being a powerful antioxidant, is actually associated with higher progesterone levels in women during their childbearing years.
3. Wild Caught Fish
Wild caught fish are jam packed with inflammation-reducing omega 3 fatty acids, especially DHA, which you’ll want for your brain and baby’s. Fish is also a great source of lean protein and magnesium which help to support the production of progesterone. Maintaining healthy blood glucose levels supports healthy hormonal cycling in the body as well.
4. Leafy greens packed with B Vitamins
B vitamins, often found in leafy greens, mostly all work together to support healthy progesterone production. B6 specifically has been shown to support the balance of estrogen and progesterone. Try adding a handful of baby kale, baby chard and spinach to your morning smoothie or consider grabbing a greens powder to pack in the extra nutrients that leafy greens provide!
5. Eggs- especially that yolk!
Egg yolks, we love them! Cholesterol is the backbone for all hormone production so without adequate amounts of cholesterol, your body doesn’t have sufficient precursors to produce hormones. Don’t toss out that golden egg yolk, it’s packed with cholesterol to build your sex hormones, including progesterone, and choline to support DNA synthesis, you’ll definitely want this nutrient around when you get pregnant.
By incorporating specific seeds, oils and nutrients into the diet we support the body in modulating hormones and maintaining a natural hormonal rhythm. The various nutrients listed above contain lignans, which help bind excess hormones, they also contain essential fatty acids that provide building blocks for hormones, as well as vitamins and minerals needed for hormone production, release, and metabolism.
Anyone with signs of hormonal imbalance such as PMS, irregular cycle, PCOS, heavy or light bleeding, acne, menopausal symptoms, abdominal cramping, infertility, mood swings, fatigue, low libido, can benefit from focusing on these foods to support progesterone naturally.