As women, we tend to talk a lot about and focus on estrogen. While keeping your estrogen levels in check is quite important to maintaining a healthy body, we often forget to talk about progesterone.
Here is the “scientific” explanation: Progesterone is a female sex hormone. It is produced mainly in the ovaries following ovulation each month. It is a crucial part of the menstrual cycle and maintenance of pregnancy. Progesterone helps to regulate your cycle. But its main job is to get your uterus ready for pregnancy. After you ovulate each month, progesterone helps thicken the lining of the uterus to prepare for a fertilised egg. If there is no fertilised egg, progesterone levels drop and menstruation begins.
With that being said, what happens if your progesterone is low?
Low progesterone may cause abnormal uterine bleeding in women who are not pregnant. Irregular or absent periods may indicate poorly functioning ovaries and low progesterone.
If you are pregnant and your progesterone levels are too low, your uterus may not be able to carry the baby to term. During pregnancy, symptoms of low progesterone include spotting and miscarriage.
Symptoms of low progesterone include:
Headaches or migraines
Mood changes, including anxiety or depression
Irregularities in your menstrual cycle
Decreased sex drive, mood swings, and depression
PMS, irregular menstrual cycle, heavy bleeding
Breast tenderness, fibrocystic breasts
Progesterone is incredibly important for women of child bearing age. It is what will get a woman through a safe and healthy pregnancy, but without enough of it there can be many difficulties getting and staying pregnant.
If you are low in progesterone, there are some natural ways to increase it.
Dark chocolate: You can have chocolate and improve your magnesium levels! You can get 64 milligrams within a single 1oz serving. Make sure it is real dark chocolate and not something with needlessly added sugar or other sweeteners. It also provides you with a nice dose of antioxidants to help you fight off disease.
Nuts: almonds, brazil nuts, and cashews are particularly good sources of magnesium at around 82mg per ounce. Eat them as a snack or add them to your smoothies or salads for a healthy boost. Nuts are also a great source of fibre.
Avocados: You do not need to serve it on a slice of toast to benefit from the 58 mg of magnesium gained from one medium avocado. They are also a good way of getting a nice dose of B vitamins, potassium, and monounsaturated fats helpful to the Heart.
Legumes: This covers a variety of plant-based foods, from lentils to peas to your favourite beans. Serve them in soup or include them as a side with your lunch or dinner. It is possible to get 120mg of magnesium from one serving of steamed black beans.
Fish: six ounces of salmon provides you with 1.6 mg of Vitamin B6, 94% of the amount recommended each day. Other fish high in concentrations of B6 include tuna, snapper, and mahi-mahi.
Carrots: try crunching on these as a snack instead of something high in sugar and calories. You get as much as you would from drinking a glass of milk no matter how you prepare them.