Eating For Your Cycle
As women, our bodies have different micronutrient demands during different phases of our menstrual cycle. We are not the same woman every week of our cycle, so we shouldn't be eating the same every week! Eating specific foods during the different phases provides our bodies with the building blocks required for proper hormone ratios during each phase.
Follicular Phase Foods (7-10 days):
Eating fresh, vibrant, light foods rich in prebiotics, probiotics, and indole-3-carbinol will help you feel more energized during this phase of your menstrual cycle and keep your estrogen spike at a healthy level. Think plenty of prebiotic fiber and sprouted and fermented veggies such as artichoke, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, parsley, zucchini, kimchi, sauerkraut, and light protein such as sprouted mung beans, cashews, wild salmon, halibut, eggs, and quinoa.
Ovulatory Phase Foods (3-5 days):
Eating lentils, cold-pressed veggie juices, raw veggies and fruits for fiber and antioxidants (especially glutathione) will support the liver and help your body metabolize and eliminate excess estrogen, and provide more vascular support to the ovaries during this phase of your menstrual cycle. Think bell peppers, tomatoes, chives, endive, ginger, lemon, celery, red cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, chard, spinach, raspberries, apricots, amaranth, red lentils, almonds, and pecans.
Luteal Phase Foods (10-14 days):
Eating leafy greens and foods rich in B vitamins will prevent sugar cravings, boost serotonin production for more stable mood to prevent PMS, boost calcium and magnesium, and reduce fluid retention during this phase of your menstrual cycle. Root veggies rich in soluble fiber and Vitamin A will also help the liver and large intestine flush out estrogen more effectively. Think squash, sweet potatoes, watercress, radish, parsnips, leeks, daikon, mustard greens, bok choy, kale, collards, cucumber, apples, pears, and nutrient-dense amino acid sources such as grass-fed beef, pastured turkey, liver, bone broth, millet, buckwheat, and walnuts.
Menstrual Phase Foods (3-7 days):
Eating mineral rich seafood and sea veggies will help re-mineralize your body with iron and zinc which you lose during menstruation. Eating dark berries will also help restore the blood and kidneys during this phase of your menstrual cycle. Focus on cooking more soups, stews, and smoothies which are easier to digest and assimilate as energy is naturally lower during this phase. Eating more omega 3s and less omega 6s will also help prevent menstrual cramps during this time. Think kelp, nori, dulse, kombu, wakame, miso, oysters, clams, mussels, scallops, sardines, kale, nettle, beets, burdock, shiitake, adzuki, kasha, blueberries, and cranberries.
To support a woman's hormone health: Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking up. Avoid caffeine BEFORE breakfast. Consume a breakfast rich in protein and healthy fat with no more than 30g of carbohydrates to start the day.