Hormones have been a huge topic of discussion lately with my girlfriends, as well as with my naturopathic doctor. I recently had my hormones tested, and things are looking good! But this isn't the case for everyone, and I thought I would write a quick blog post on how to support your body through each phase of your cycle.
Understanding the four distinct phases—menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase—and knowing what to eat during each phase is the key to achieving balance and well-being throughout your cycle. This is just a basic outline based on a traditional cycle. If you are on birth control or don't have a regular cycle, you can literally eat based on the Moon cycle. First day of the New Moon would be Day 1.
Let's embark on a journey that empowers you to nourish your body in the most holistic and intentional way.
Phase 1: Menstruation (Days 1-5)
Menstruation marks the beginning of your menstrual cycle, a phase often accompanied by physical and emotional changes. During this time, your body has specific nutritional needs to help you feel your best:
Iron: Your body loses iron during menstruation, making it crucial to replenish your stores. Opt for iron-rich foods such as lean meats, beans, and dark leafy greens to prevent anemia and the fatigue it brings.
Magnesium: Almonds, avocados, and dark chocolate are excellent sources of magnesium, which can help reduce muscle cramps and support mood stability.
Warm and Comforting Foods: To ease cramps and fatigue, consider warm and soothing options like herbal teas, soups, and comforting dishes.
Phase 2: Follicular Phase (Days 6-14)
During the follicular phase, your body prepares for ovulation. Tailoring your diet to support this stage involves the following dietary recommendations:
Folate: To support egg maturation, focus on foods rich in folate, such as leafy greens, legumes and beans, beets and asparagus.
Antioxidants: Berries, colorful vegetables, and fruits provide a plethora of antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and support hormone balance.
Proteins: Ensure your diet includes proteins like chicken, fish, lamb beef and turkey, providing essential amino acids for hormone production.
Phase 3: Ovulation (Day 14)
The day of ovulation marks a shift in your dietary focus:
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Incorporate omega-3 rich foods such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), and ground flaxseeds to reduce inflammation and support fertility.
Hydration: Maintain proper hydration as increased blood flow to the pelvic area is essential.
Fruits and Vegetables: Continue to prioritize antioxidant-rich foods to support overall health.
Phase 4: Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
The luteal phase is when PMS symptoms like bloating, mood swings, and cravings can occur. Adapting your diet to alleviate these symptoms involves:
B Vitamins: Stabilize mood and energy levels with foods like whole grains, eggs, organ meats (or organ supplements) and dark leafy greens.
Complex Carbohydrates: Opt for complex carbs like sweet potatoes, quinoa, and rice to stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce cravings.
Calcium: Foods like quality dairy products, tofu, and leafy greens can help ease PMS symptoms.
Herbal Teas: Soothe cramps and reduce anxiety with herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, and raspberry leaf tea.
Our menstrual cycle is a unique and deeply personal journey. By embracing the transformative potential of nutrition during each phase, we can unlock the door to a more balanced and harmonious experience. Remember that individual needs vary, and it's crucial to listen to your body's cues.
This post is for menstruating women, let me know if you'd like a post on menopausal support!
I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and am a National Board-Certified Health Coach. I learned about more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Drawing on this knowledge, I will help you create a completely personalized “roadmap to health” that suits your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals. Learn more about my training and my unique approach to health coaching on my website or social platforms!
In Health and Phases,