Reproductive health in both men and women require maintaining balanced levels of hormones. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is made in the pituitary gland in the brain. In women this hormone helps to regulate ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs when an egg (ova) is released by the ovaries and is important in fertility. Though hormone levels naturally fluctuate, too little FSH can disrupt ovulation. Certain foods can help to promote the production of FSH.
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The hypothalamus is the part of the brain that controls the pituitary gland; essential fatty acids are necessary for hypothalamus function. Additionally, as the body produces FSH and other hormones from fats, it is important to get an adequate amount in your diet. According to a study published in the journal “Biology of Reproduction,” body fat helps to regulate ovulation in women. Healthy dietary sources of essential fatty acids include fish, olive oil, safflower oil, flax seeds and flax seed oil. Evening primrose oil is another good source of fatty acids and is available as a supplement.
Dr. Marilyn Glenville PhD, a fertility expert recommends eating deeply colored green vegetables, which contain antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients that the body uses to produces follicle-stimulating hormone. Nutrient-rich choices of green vegetables to add to your diet include kale, spinach, wheat grass and broccoli.
Eating sushi may help increase production of follicle-stimulating hormone by the body. This is because sushi is wrapped in a seaweed called nori that is rich in essential minerals for endocrine health. Other seaweed foods include kelp and wakimi which are often sold as dried pieces that you can add to a salad or soup. Spirulina is a small blue-green algae that can also be added to drinks and foods.
Royal jelly is produced by bees and is known as one of the most nutrient rich foods. Royal jelly is what makes the queen bee fertile and it is very beneficial in humans too. Royal jelly can be purchased as a food or in supplement form.
Antioxidants help to promote balanced functioning of the endocrine (hormonal) system by cleansing and removing toxins in the body and liver. As the liver helps to metabolize hormones, over all body health is important in healthy FSH production. Dr. Glenville recommends eating foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, strawberries, grapes, citrus fruits, green tea, black tea and deeply colored vegetables. Spices such as cinnamon and turmeric are also rich in antioxidants.
Foods to Avoid
A study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” advises that certain foods can decrease the production of follicle-stimulating hormone in the body. Avoid foods such as soy milk, soy protein and other soy products. Soy contains estrogen-like compounds called isoflavones that are converted to estrogen hormones in the body. These hormones counteract and decrease the production of FSH in the body.