In our bodies, hormones are chemical messengers that are secreted into the blood. Having balanced hormones is essential to keeping the endocrine system functioning properly. With hormones that are balanced, everything is functioning well. When hormones are not balanced, you can expect to experience a wide variety of symptoms that can affect everyday life.
Estrogen and progesterone and the two primary sex hormones involved in everyday biological functions in our body. They rely on each other to function as needed.
WHAT IS ESTROGEN?
Estrogen is a hormone with main functions to regulate the menstrual cycle and is essential to fertility. When estrogen levels rise in the body, puberty signs start occurring. After this role, estrogen controls the menstrual cycle while also protecting bones and regulating cholesterol levels in the body. Estrogen is a factor in the growth of the uterus over time as it prepares to carry an egg.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone keeps the lining of the uterus thick, making it essential for the fertilized egg to survive, as well as the embryo and fetus. When the uterine lining sheds, this is a sign of a drop in progesterone which can result in miscarriage.
HORMONES IN THE BODY
Progesterone works to keep estrogen levels balanced and when levels become unbalanced, typically estrogen dominance occurs.
During the first part of a woman’s cycle, days 1-15, or the follicular phase, we need more estrogen to build the uterine lining. Estrogen levels are low during this time.
Foods that help naturally increase estrogen levels:
flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, dates, prunes, chickpeas, tempeh, alfalfa sprouts
During the second half of a woman’s cycle, days 15-30, or the luteal phase, the uterine lining thickens and progesterone is released to prepare for implantation. Estrogen levels are highest during this time.
Foods that help naturally stimulate progesterone production:
sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, bananas, spinach.
Supplements: Vitamin C, evening primrose oil.
Symptoms that you may be high in ESTROGEN
Reproductive issues, sleep pattern changes, higher perceived stress levels, stubborn weight gain, PMS, depression, irritability.
Health concerns: fibroids, endometriosis, breast cancer
Environmental exposures and endocrine disruptors contribute to estrogen dominance by mimicking estrogen in the body. Some of these exposures are canned foods (BPA), plastics, Teflon pans, styrofoam cups, personal care products and cosmetics, fragrances, pesticides, birth control pills, and artificial scents
FOODS TO AVOID: soy, sugar, conventional meat, conventional dairy
FOODS TO EAT: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collard greens).
SYMPTOMS THAT YOU MAY BE LOW IN ESTROGEN
Hot flashes, mood swings, low sex drive, reproductive problems, dryness, less mental focus and enthusiasm.
You can get your hormone levels checked by a blood test through your doctor.
In the meantime, CHECK OUT THIS QUIZ to see where you stand.
Very informative and interesting!