Progesterone is the next hormone that goes out of balance in perimenopause. We always think of this as the essential hormone for fertility and the name itself means 'promoting gestation'. In perimenopause these levels start to decline and can be responsible for weight gain, bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, irritability and depression. It's role in our bodies goes even further and we now know it is very important for brain function and hence the name 'neurosteroid' . Being so important to the brain it comes from two different places to reach it, firstly cells in the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system all make progesterone from cholesterol. Secondly, progesterone that is moving around in our bloodstream has direct access to the brain and nerves.
The good news is you can balance and promote progesterone levels through food.
The best food sources are :
Vitamin C (fruit & veg),
Zinc (cashew, pumpkin seeds),
Magnesium (Cashews, leafy greens such as kale, pumpkin seeds, black beans, lentils and other legumes, cacao, mackerel fish and whole grain brown rice),
Vitamin E (Sunflower seeds, almonds, and hazelnuts and in smaller amounts: avocado, sunflower seeds, red peppers, pumpkin, asparagus, butternut squash, broccoli and mango),
Vitamin B6 (salmon, tuna, bananas, spinach, walnuts, beef, chicken, sweet potato, beans and prunes.),
Fiber (Flaxseed, quinoa, millet, amaranth, teff, gluten-free oats)
and finally the amino acid L-Arginine (Lentils and chickpeas, fish, such as salmon, tuna and trout, turkey, chicken, pork, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and dairy foods (if well tolerated).
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