Natures Natural Estrogen and Progesterone
Did you know that estrogen and progesterone naturally occur in the foods we eat? These natural sources of estrogen and progesterone can be used to help balance the body’s hormone levels.
Mexican wild yam is a natural sources of progesterone. Studies at the Mayo clinic involving the use of wild yam extract show benefits that include increased sex drive, exercise capacity, improved well being and improved hormone levels in people with insufficient adrenal function.sweet potato, a different vegetable, does not contain these compounds. In the United States, soft sweet potatoes are typically labeled as yams; so make sure you are buying the correct one.
Soybeans are rich in phytoestrogens (also called isoflavones), “compounds derived from plants and converted into weak estrogenic substances in the gastrointestinal tract,” according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Soy products contain the highest levels of natural estrogens. To get 1 mg of isoflavones, it takes one gram of soybeans. Beans and legumes are especially high in isoflavonoids. Other foods high in isoflavonoid phytoestrogens, as listed by the USDA, are peanuts and clover sprouts.
Flax seed, rye, cereals and some berries ( are called lignans). Lignans are natural sources of estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) studies have been done to determine if HRT has beneficial effects on bone fractures, according to the National Institutes on Health (NIH). Clinical evidence shows that phytoestrogens help maintain or improve skeletal health. This means natural HRT can be beneficial in reducing risk of osteoporosis. Lignans provide phytoestrogens and can modulate estrogen signaling. Lignans tend to be found in foods that are also high in fiber. Researchers at Cornell University report that the highest amount of lignans are found in flaxseeds. Other seed sources of lignans are sesame seeds, poppy seeds and sunflower seeds. Products made with wheat and rye flours, whole grain and white rice are also lignan sources. Fruits such as strawberries, peaches, pears, raisins, cherries, grapefruit, mandarin, kiwi, plums, oranges and apricots have lignans, with apricots having the highest amount. Vegetable sources of lignans include broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, leeks, French beans, red and green peppers, carrots, spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes and kale, with kale being the richest source of lignans.
Foods with Vitamin B-6
Walnuts, whole grains, fortified cereals, and soy milk all contain large amounts of vitamin B-6, which may be essential for maintaining ideal estrogen-progesterone balance.
Foods Containing Zinc
Zinc is thought to be essential to producing adequate levels of progesterone, so high-zinc foods like red meat, shellfish, chicken and turkey can all increase progesterone levels.
Turmeric, found in curry, can increase the body’s progesterone levels, as can thyme and oregano. Including one of these in every meal may help to maintain good hormone balance.
Natural sources of estrogen and progesterone may have some health risks. It is important to talk with a doctor or health care professional to determine whether dietary phytoestrogens and lignans are right for you. The estrogen-like effects from isoflavones may be a cancer risk, especially for people who have had breast cancer or are at risk of breast cancer. While clinical studies show some benefits with natural HRT, further studies are necessary before firm conclusions can be drawn.
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