How to increase progesterone naturally
While progesterone is a hormone found in both men and women, it is an important female sex hormone, which is key in regulating and stimulating significant functions within the body. It’s role lies in regulating a woman’s menstrual cycle and more importantly, preparing the uterus and body for pregnancy.
Low progesterone levels can be caused by numerous things; such as weight gain and increased cortisol levels (to name a couple). Ageing can also play a part in hormonal balances; which can happen during perimenopause and menopause. Although it is particularly important during childbearing years, it is worth noting that a decrease in progesterone can also impact one’s overall wellbeing.
Symptoms of low progesterone
Recognising a hormonal imbalance can often be overlooked or mistaken for other conditions. Here, we share the top tell-tale symptoms associated with low progesterone levels.
- Pain in the abdomen
- Irregular periods / spotting
- Vaginal dryness
- Depression, anxiety, or mood fluctuations
- Low sex drive
- Migraines or headaches
- Hot flashes
- Thyroid issues
Knowing the symptoms is important in identifying a potential chemical imbalance in the body, however if you’re suffering from infertility or miscarriages, then this could also be an indication of low progesterone levels.
How to increase progesterone
There are many ways to increase progesterone levels, some of which can be easily implemented into your daily routine.
1. Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI)
Oestrogen and progesterone are two female sex hormones that work together to ensure all bodily functions are working efficiently. When a woman gains weight, her body produces more oestrogen – this causes a progesterone imbalance. Maintaining a healthy weight does not guarantee that a woman will produce more progesterone, but it does ensure that her hormones are more balanced.
2. Minimise stress levels
Stress causes the kidneys to convert hormones like progesterone to cortisol; resulting in the creation of stress hormones. Meditation, reading, listening to music and yoga are all examples of stress-relieving activities that you can participate in to remove tension.
3. Don’t overwork yourself
Physical activity can help you manage your stress levels and keep a healthy weight. Excessive activity, on the other hand, can have the opposite impact. It can cause stress hormones to take precedence over progesterone in the body.
4. Consume foods that help your body produce progesterone
It goes without saying that having a nutritious and well-balanced diet is good for any individual, however if you suffer from hormonal imbalances, you should certainly be more mindful. There are foods that can help raise progesterone levels naturally, which leads us nicely on to the next section…
While there are typically no foods that actively contain progesterone, this isn’t to suggest that you can’t add certain foods to your diet, to help your body produce more of the hormone. These foods include:
As previously stated, oestrogen and progesterone act in tandem – fibre can help lower oestrogen levels, allowing progesterone to function more efficiently. Examples of foods containing fibre are (however not limited to), oat, flaxseed, quinoa, berries and avocados.
Zinc has an effect on a number of organs in the body that are involved in progesterone production; including the ovaries and pituitary gland. Zinc stimulates the production of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which leads to ovulation and progesterone production. Foods high in zinc are seafood, pumpkin seeds and nuts.
Vitamin B6 is known to help boost progesterone levels, making it a popular supplement for women who are attempting to conceive. Fish, turkey, dried fruit (to name a few) all contain this handy vitamin!
Magnesium is one of the nutrients that boosts progesterone levels, since it plays such a vital function in hormone balance. This is because it aids in the regulation of the pituitary gland, which generates FSH, Luteinizing Hormone (LH), and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH); all of which contribute to the generation of oestrogen and progesterone. Magnesium-rich foods include dark chocolate, fish and spinach.