A healthy female body produces and processes estrogen and progesterone in balance which at certain times in a woman’s life when she would benefit from knowing how to increase progesterone naturally.
Because when that balance slips so estrogen is produced in greater quantity the progesterone, the symptom is called estrogen dominance and has a laundry list of symptoms from annoying to scary:
• Bloating, swelling and tenderness especially in the breasts
• Mood swings, energy loss and decreased sex drive
• Irregular or more painful menstrual cycles
• Weight gain and hair loss
• Memory loss and sleeping disorders
• Fibrocystititis in the breasts
Estrogen dominance can happen naturally (and often does as a part of menopause), but can also develop early as a result of wellness, behavioral or environmental factors. Perhaps unfairly, you can suffer from estrogen dominance even if you have low estrogen because many of the factors that reduce estrogen production also lower your body’s production of progesterone.
The good news is that wellness, behavioral and environmental factors can also help you increase your body’s progesterone production and balance the scales. If you are one of the many women between the ages of 40 and 50 suffering from estrogen dominance, try a few of these all-natural solutions on for size.
Watch Your Vitamin Intake To Increase Progesterone Naturally
You should already be taking a good multivitamin for optimal health, but try cycling in foods rich in Vitamins C and B6. Both have been shown repeatedly to increase progesterone production without also increasing estrogen levels. B6 particularly also improves liver health, which enables your body to break down estrogen more efficiently.
It’s likely you already know the foods rich in vitamin C (citrus, pineapple, many berries). Add tuna fish, rice bran, garlic, wheat germ and nuts to your diet to increase your intake of B6.
While you’re at it, put foods rich in zinc on the menu because zinc is essential to health in your pituitary gland, which regulates hormonal production and keeps everything in balance. Some good sources of zinc include seeds, dark chocolate (yay!), pumpkin and squash, red meats and most shellfish. You can achieve the same results with a daily supplement of all three, but that’s not nearly as delicious or fun.
Stress does a real number on many parts of wellness, but it’s especially rough on hormonal balance.
When you’re under stress, your adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol, which helps your body get ready to fight off (or flee from) saber tooth tigers.
If you are chronically stressed, your adrenal glands can’t produce enough cortisol. Want to guess what it does in that situation? Yep…it converts progesterone into cortisol, thus lowing progesterone levels in an otherwise healthy body.
A full treatment of stress reduction techniques would take up an article of its own, but here’s the short version:
• Exercise more
• Spend time with close friends
• Consider meditation or other relaxation techniques
• End major stressors in your life like toxic friends or a crushing job
• Get at least 7 hours of sleep
• Engage meaningfully with your hobbies
Watch Your Sugar Intake
A little sugar now and again is a well-deserved treat for anybody, but too much sugar can lead to (among other things) insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is like building up a tolerance for alcohol: as you eat more sugar, your body develops a tolerance for the substance which helps it process sugars…so your body must produce more and more insulin to deal with the sugars you take in.
When the sugar levels in your blood are too high, your cells can’t properly take in progesterone even if you produce it in sufficient supply. Likewise, insulin spikes (as experienced in otherwise healthy bodies suffering from insulin resistance) has been shown to reduce progesterone levels.
Avoid Increasing Your Estrogen
The estrogen dominance equation works much like your bank balance. You can increase your savings and live to your budget by (a) spending less, (b) making more money or (c) a combination of the two.
If you’re following all the other advice in this article while still engaging in activities that increase your estrogen, it’s like making plenty of money without watching where it goes. You might turn out okay, but it’s not very likely.
Instead, combine your progesterone-producing decisions with watching how much estrogen your body produces. A few dos and don’ts that can help with that include:
Do reduce your alcohol consumption.
Drinking too much can reduce your liver’s efficiency. Since your liver metabolized estrogen, reduced efficiency can lead to higher levels of estrogen in your blood. Also, generally speaking, the less often you get drunk the more likely you are to observe the other items on this list.
Don’t eat too much dairy.
Dairy cows get milked when their estrogen levels are highest (which makes them produce more milk). Some of that estrogen ends up in your milk, which then ends up in your body. Try some soy, almond or rice milk instead.
Do eat organic meats.
Much like the milk mentioned above, livestock for meat are often pumped full of hormones, including estrogen. Go for certified organic, preferably local, meats.
Don’t eat too much fat or sugar, and avoid caffeine. All of these substances have been shown in laboratory tests to increase estrogen levels by as much as 70%.
Do exercise. Moderate to high intesnity exercise on a regular basis (3-4 times per week for 20+ minutes) directly reduces serum estrogen levels. It also helps with general wellness and self-confidence while lowering your risk of a variety of diseases.
Estrogen is like water: it’s necessary for a healthy life, but too much in the wrong context can be a recipe for disaster. To increase progesterone naturally in your body it helps to regulate the estrogen levels and keep your hormones at a healthy balance.
Naturally your body maintains that balance. Sometimes — especially living life in our increasingly unbalanced world — your body needs some help. Following the steps above can give it the help it needs.