Fun fact: women actually require different amounts and types of nutrients at each different phase in their cycle. It's true, certain foods actually help improve (or hinder) our vitality at different times of the month. Crazy right! As if we ladies didn't have enough to deal with on a monthly basis now we have to eat a specific diet too. Don't fear though I'm going to break it down for you the simplest way that I know how.
As you know from my last post, your menstrual cycle has four phases; follicular, ovulation, luteal and menstrual. During each phase your hormonal levels change to prepare the body for the possibility of pregnancy and with them our nutritional requirements, food cravings, energy levels, communication skills and overall state of being changes as well.
Understanding the four menstrual phases and how to properly care for and nourish our bodies during them is crucial to our overall well being and mentality. When our hormones are out of balance everything is out of balance.
That is why it's so important to know what your body needs and when it needs it throughout the month, so let's jump into it.
During menstruation we are (obviously) losing blood so this is also a good time to up your intake of foods containing Iron and increase your consumption of fatty omega containing foods to help keep your mood stable while your hormones balance out. It is also a good time to increase foods with Vitamin A to help your liver while it is processing all of the estrogen that is leaving your body.
Fun fact: In Traditional Chinese medicine they talk about the importance of warming foods during this phase to prevent the uterus from becoming cold which causes cramps.
- Root vegetables - sweet potato, carrot, beets, etc.
- Warming spices - curry, ginger, cardamon, cloves, turmeric.
- Soups and stews
- Chia Seeds
- Adzuki Bean
- Kidney Bean
- Sea salt
- Liquid Aminos
Our estrogen is rising during this phase so it's important to eat foods with probiotics and prebiotics which help your body break down and metabolize the powerful hormone. It's also important to eat foods that are high in antioxidants to support the maturation of the egg.
- Sour cherry
- Black eyed peas and split peas
- Green lentils
- Mung Beans
- Brazil nut
- Flax Seeds
- Soft shell crab
- Nut butter
Estrogen is still very high during this phase which can cause noticeable signs like PMS, eat estrogen detoxing foods like cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts and foods high in fibre as well as raw whole sulfur-rich vegetables so your liver gets enough glutathione which is a powerhouse detoxifying molecule.
- Bell Pepper
- Red Lentils
- Sunflower seeds
During this phase progesterone and estrogen levels start to surge and then drop which can cause mood swings. It's important to eat blood sugar stabilizing foods as well as foods that are rich in B Vitamins to help our brain produce serotonin (the please producing hormone) and combat the highs and lows. During this time your body also craves magnesium rich foods (hello chocolate cravings) and your basal metabolic rate increases which means more calories are required.
- Brown Rice
- Daikon Radish
- Sweet Potato
- Navy Beans
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
Now before you all go crazy and think that if you aren't following these guidelines right now you're messing up your body, let me bring you back down to earth and say that you're not by any means. It's important to eat a wide variety of foods all the time to keep your nutrient levels normal and your body functioning and THRIVING at its highest level. I'm also not telling you to completely write off your current way of eating or deprive yourself if you're craving something other than these foods during different phases of your cycle. I'd never do that, as you all know I am a forever member of Team NO Restriction and I don't believe in stressing yourself out over food or nutrition, ever.
That being said if you do think that you could be living a little more of a HIGH VIBE life than making small changes to your diet during your menstrual phases could do you a world of good! It's also important not to get obsessive over this way of eating either, just because you are in one phase doesn't mean you have to stress yourself out or turn down certain foods to stay on track, your body will regulate and be perfectly fine if you eat something not recommended for a certain phase. Just like any diet change it's important to implement changes slowly and pay attention to how your body reacts and how you feel mentally and physically!