There are three main sex hormones in the human body; Estrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone. In the female body, we have higher levels of Estrogen and Progesterone, and lower levels of Testosterone.
Endometriosis is a condition where sufferers are hormonally imbalanced with Estrogen being the dominant hormone (called Estrogen Dominance). This can lead to a number of symptoms including breast or ovarian fibroids, weight gain, painful periods, bloating and mood swings.
Progesterone is a hormone produced in the corpus luteum and the ovaries, and in smaller amounts in the adrenal glands. It is synthesized from cholesterol and its production and regulation are under the control of the endocrine and reproductive systems.
Progesterone is extremely important, especially for women suffering from Endometriosis. Estrogen stimulates Endo and Progesterone inhibits it.
Although there are no foods that contain Progesterone, there are foods that provide the environment needed to support your body to boost Progesterone levels.
Fatty fish contain omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. These are considered essential as the body cannot produce it, and can only be obtained through food. These fatty acids are crucial during the ovulation phase and can help fertility by improving blood flow to the uterus and enhance the quality of egg cells. Fatty fish is also rich in proteins and magnesium which are key minerals in Progesterone production and maintenance. Fish high in omegas 3 and 6 include salmon and sardines.
Zinc is another mineral which is essential for hormonal health by triggering the release of follicle stimulating hormones, which promotes ovulation and stimulates the ovaries to produce Estrogen and Progesterone. They can be found in shellfish, especially oysters, lean red meats, pumpkin and cashew nuts.
Vitamin B is extremely important in maintaining optimum levels of Progesterone, a lack of Vitamin B may decrease the production of Progesterone. Vitamin B also helps the liver break down Estrogen levels to control its amount and maintain hormonal imbalance, thereby reducing Estrogen Dominance. You can find Vitamin B in lean red meats, seafood, poultry, whole grains, beans, prunes and walnuts.
Vitamin C is found in the follicle upon release of the egg which indicates it plays a role in Progesterone function. You can find Vitamin C in citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, kale and Brussel sprouts.
Vitamin E has been shown to improve luteal blood flow and raise Progesterone levels in some women. They can be found in sunflower seeds, in nuts such as hazelnuts and almonds, asparagus and avocado.
Iron is extremely important for women who have Endometriosis or experience heavy bleeding. Iron is an important component of red blood cells and which is shed through bleeding. Beans, seeds, green leafy vegetables, meat and fish are high in Iron.
Magnesium is important for helping maintain healthy hormonal balance in the body by regulating your cortisol (stress) levels to reduce Estrogen Dominance. When you are faced with high levels of stress, Progesterone is converted into cortisol, which leaves you with lower levels of Progesterone. You can find magnesium in cashews, leafy green vegetables such as kale and swiss chard, lentils and legumes, okra, and dark chocolate.
Sulfer reduces Estrogen Dominance by preventing Estrogen byproducts from circulating for too long. They can be found in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale.
Although fiber doesn’t affect progesterone production in the body, it can affect your Estrogen levels. The longer the food in your body takes to digest, the more Estrogen your body is likely to absorb from the food. You can find fiber in quinoa, oatmeal, celery, apples, raspberries and nuts.
L-Arginine is an amino acid that is important for the body in order to make proteins and helps your body increase circulation, ensuring your corpus luteum and other organs (such as your ovaries) have improved blood flow to produce more Progesterone. Lentils, fish, turkey, chicken, and nuts such as peanuts and walnuts contain this important amino acid.
Herbs have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. They can be extremely helpful in naturally encouraging the body to balance its hormones. Herbs that help the body’s ability to increase progesterone include turmeric, thyme, dill oregano and chasteberry.
And finally, as mentioned earlier, Progesterone is synthesized by cholesterol, so your coconut oils and butter, turkey, eggs, and olives and olive oil are important to maintain Progesterone levels.
So there you have it. Food can play a massive role in boosting your Progesterone levels, in reducing Estrogen Dominance and in helping some of the symptoms commonly associated with Endometriosis.