Our body has different needs during each phase of our cycle. The foods that we eat during each phase can have an impact on our menstrual health and severity of PMS symptoms you may experience throughout the month.
We have four key phases throughout our monthly menstrual cycle. Understanding the different phases and tracking when you’re in each phase is the first key to learning what to eat during your menstrual cycle.
The menstrual phase typically takes place from day 1 to about day 7. Day 1 is marked by the arrival of our period and shedding of our uterine lining. We experience a rise in estrogen levels during this time.
The follicular phase follows the menstrual phase and takes place from day 7 to about day 13. During this phase our estrogen levels start to drop post menstruation.
Ovulation typically takes place between days 14-16, and is marked by the release of our egg. Luteinizing and Follicle Stimulating Hormones both peak and then decrease during this phase.
The luteal phase is the phase following ovulation before menstruation. This typically lasts from days 17 to 28. Our body sees and increase in progesterone during this phase.
What to Eat During Your Menstrual Cycle Phases
During the menstrual phase, we want to nourish the body. Focus on adding in iron-rich foods such as cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, beans and legumes, and dark leafy greens. Sea veggies like dulse and spirulina can be added, as well as warming foods like nourishing soups, broths, stews, and warmed legumes.
The follicular phase focuses on an increase in energy and strength post mensuration. Focus on adding in fresh, light, and raw foods like fruits and veggies. Add sprouts or fermented foods as a garnish.
During ovulation, the focus is on detoxification of excess estrogen. Focus on liver-supporting foods such as dandelion tea, milk thistle tea, turmeric, and cruciferous veggies like kale, swiss chard, collard greens, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, bok choy, and cabbage. You can also incorporate fresh lemon water into your mornings to stimulate your liver.
During the luteal phase, your body has completed ovulation and is preparing for mensuration. Focus on grounding foods and root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, as well as foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium, and calcium like dark leafy greens, nuts, and seeds.
Laura Brining is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist specializing in digestion, immunity, and hormone health. She offers online individual nutrition consulting and shares free plant-based recipes on her website, www.livesimplyhealthy.com
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