Low Progesterone? Here Are 14 Foods to Boost It Naturally, Says RD

Medically Reviewed by Felicia Newell, M.S., RDN

August 2, 2023

Hormone balance and hormone health have become buzzy topics lately, and rightfully so! Since our hormones can impact so many factors of our health and well-being, it makes sense that people want to ensure that their bodies have the correct balance of estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones. 

For females, among the hormones that our bodies produce, progesterone may be one of the most important ones to maintain healthy levels (1). As a women’s health registered dietitian, I have worked with countless women to help them boost their progesterone via their dietary choices, ultimately helping them support their hormone health naturally. 

If you are focused on boosting your progesterone via your diet, this article is for you. After reading this, you will understand why progesterone is so important for our health, what happens if we have low progesterone, and how to help increase progesterone via the foods we eat.

What Is Progesterone?

The word progesterone gets thrown around when discussions of menstrual cycles or fertility occur. But even though many of us generally know that having a healthy progesterone level is important, you may not be clear on what it actually does. 

It is true that progesterone is a hormone that plays an important role in many bodily processes, including the menstrual cycle and fertility. Specifically, it helps regulate the balance of other hormones like estrogen, and it’s also involved in preparing the uterus for pregnancy and maintaining a healthy pregnancy (2).

But having balanced progesterone isn’t just important for reproductive health. A balanced level of progesterone can positively affect mood, energy levels, libido, menopause symptoms, and bone health as well (3, 4, 5). Low progesterone can cause various symptoms, such as irregular or absent menstrual periods, mood swings, insomnia, headaches, and fatigue (6).

It is important to have regular check-ups with your doctor in order to ensure proper progesterone levels. If necessary, your doctor may recommend dietary interventions, supplements, or medications to help regulate your hormones.

Foods to Help Boost Progesterone

Maintaining balanced progesterone is incredibly important for your overall health. If your healthcare provider has told you that you have low progesterone, there may be some steps you can take to help bring your levels back up. 

Along with adopting some simple lifestyle habits, like ensuring that you are getting adequate quality sleep, including proper exercise in your day, and managing stress, including certain foods in your diet may help you on your quest (5).

In my practice, here are 16 foods that I generally recommend women include in their diet when they are focused on balancing their progesterone:


Cashews, macadamia, and walnuts are a great source of zinc which helps to regulate progesterone levels in the body (6).

Lean Beef

Eating lean beef can provide your body with zinc, selenium, and vitamin B6. All of these impact the production of progesterone (6, 7, 8). Flank steak, sirloin, top round, and lean ground beef are all examples of lean beef.

Dark Chocolate

An ounce or two of dark chocolate can provide your body with iron and zinc, both of which are essential for progesterone production.

Oily Fish

Salmon, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids that help to increase progesterone levels in the body (9).

If you are not a fish eater, including a supplement like krill oil can help you include these important omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.

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This delicious fruit is high in healthy fats, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium—all which help to increase progesterone production.


Rich in potassium and vitamin B6, bananas can help boost progesterone levels in the body.

Leafy Greens

Greens like spinach, kale, chard, and arugula are great sources of magnesium which is important for progesterone production.

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Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds are examples of seeds that are also good sources of healthy fats, which help boost progesterone levels.


Rich in B vitamins, including vitamin B6, eggs can also be a great way to boost your progesterone levels naturally. 

Citrus Fruit

Citrus options like lemons and oranges contain vitamin C, which is important for progesterone production.

Herbs & Spices

Parsley, oregano, basil, thyme, cinnamon, and ginger can all help to support healthy progesterone levels.

Maca Root

Maca root powder is a source of progesterone-supporting minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and iodine. Additionally, maca is an adaptogen, meaning it can help the body better handle stress and adapt to changing hormones, which is another factor that supports hormone balance (10). My favorite way to include maca in a diet is by adding it to smoothies. It is available in supplement form as well.


Certain types of mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle (with the exception of fortified juices). Mushrooms exposed to sunlight can produce vitamin D through a process similar to that in humans. When exposed to UV light, mushrooms can convert a precursor molecule—ergosterol—into vitamin D2, a form of vitamin D that is commonly found in plants and fungi.

That said, there’s some evidence that vitamin D can help to boost progesterone levels in women (11). 

If you struggle to get enough time outdoors or live in a colder climate (above the equator), you can also include a vitamin D supplement in your diet. In fact, most people living in colder climates are recommended to take a vitamin D supplement in the colder months when sun exposure is lower.

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Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are nutrient powerhouses, including essential fatty acids, magnesium, zinc, and protein, making them a great addition to any diet. Eating hemp seeds can help keep progesterone levels balanced by providing the body with these essential nutrients. These tiny edible seeds also contain lignans, which have been shown to help balance hormones.


Experiencing low progesterone can be due to several factors, including some that are completely out of your control, like illness, taking certain medications, and entering menopause or being postpartum. 

And while including certain foods in your diet won’t be a magic bullet to experiencing balanced progesterone, it may help in certain situations.

If your health care provider told you that you have low progesterone, including foods that contain healthy progesterone-supporting nutrients like vitamin B6, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids may be a low-risk step to help you achieve your health goal naturally.

Lauren Manaker, RDN
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Lauren Manaker, RDN

Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian (RDN), certified lactation educator (CLE), author, and speaker with over 20 years of experience. She earned her BS in Food Science and Human Nutrition from the University of Florida (go Gators!) and an MS in Clinical Nutrition from Rush University in Chicago.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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