Progesterone is an important female reproductive hormone. It performs various functions in the female body. It is required to regulate menstrual cycle along with estrogen, another important female reproductive system hormone. Progesterone is also required to initiate and maintain pregnancy. Insufficient amount of progesterone may lead to several issues regarding the reproductive health of a woman. Infertility is a common problem amongst women who cannot produce sufficient amount of progesterone. These women are often prescribed progesterone supplements to regulate the menstrual cycle or as a treatment for infertility. Such women can benefit from eating foods with natural progesterone.
Progesterone is naturally secreted by the woman’s ovaries. Every month, it signals the uterus to thicken its lining so that a fertilized egg can implant there. In the absence of fertilization, the uterus sheds its lining, leading to menstrual flow. Progesterone regulates the menstrual cycle by reducing the dominance of estrogen in the body. It also increases the body’s immunity. Women suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome benefit from progesterone treatment. Progestin or synthetic progesterone is used to treat menstrual problems such as amenorrhea, abnormal uterine bleeding etc. It is also used for treating endometriosis, loss of appetite and weight loss related to AIDS and cancer. However, synthetic progesterone has numerous side effects, which may hamper your health in the long run. Hence, natural progesterone is preferred over synthetic one for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
Progesterone is essentially an animal hormone. The only food source of progesterone is placenta! Certain animals eat their placenta after birth which gives them the required progesterone surge. Earlier, attempts were made to derive natural progesterone from the placenta of pig. However, this method proved to be very expensive and tedious. Eventually, a progesterone like substance was found in certain plant sources. Although, this is not progesterone similar to natural one found in humans, it certainly mimics the properties of progesterone inside the body. The following food sources of progesterone given below contain both animal and plant progesterone.
Eggs contain progesterone in abundant amounts. Egg yolk especially is very rich source of progesterone. Women with progesterone deficiency should definitely eat eggs.
Dairy products such as milk, cheese made from cow’s milk contain high amounts of progesterone. Cow’s milk is especially rich in progesterone.
White meats such as chicken also contain progesterone hormone in small quantity. However, these days, poultry are artificially impregnated with hormones. Consuming such meat may not be the best idea to increase your progesterone levels.
Note: Be sure that the chicken is free-ranged organic!
Zinc Rich Foods
Red meat, shellfish, turkey can contribute to increasing the levels of progesterone in the body. However, beware of hormone impregnated beef or pork.
Foods With Phyto Progesterone
Phyto progesterone can overcome progesterone deficiency in the body and maintain progesterone-estrogen balance. It is found in some of the following plant sources.
Yam or wild yam contains certain phytochemicals which act like progesterone when inside the body. However, these yams are not to be confused with sweet potatoes, which are also called yams in some areas. FDA requires you to mention both names yam and sweet potato on the packaging. Hence, make sure you read the label carefully while buying yams.
Vitamin B6 Rich Foods
Foods rich in vitamin B6 such as walnuts, whole grains, fortified cereals and soy milk are good sources of phyto progesterone.
The above foods with progesterone in them must be consumed in moderate amounts only. Excess levels of progesterone may disrupt hormonal balance in the body. Menopausal women, women on HRT must eat these foods only after consulting their doctor.
Although it’s often lauded as a healthy, cholesterol-free, cheap, low-fat protein alternative to meat, soy is NOT a health food. Any foods that list soy in any form as an ingredient should be avoided. Soy protein, soy isolate, and soy oil are present in about 60 percent of the foods on the market and have been shown to impair fertility and affect estrogen in women, lower sex drive, and trigger puberty early in children. Soy can also add to the imbalance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.
The only soy products fit for human consumption are fermented and organic and I can guarantee you will never find this type of soy in any processed foods. The majority of soy is GMO and you can’t get around this. Regardless of who I am speaking with, soy is one of those foods I use to gauge the nutritional IQ of others. You would not believe how many health practitioners and even Naturopathic Doctors still think soy is a health food. Please don’t touch this stuff.
Be sure that all your food source are GMO Free/Organic and free-ranged to ensure positive health benefits.