How to Eat for Your Menstrual Cycle

Sara B
Sara B

IBS Expert | 6D Energy Healer

One of the best ways to support your menstrual cycle is learning to switch your diet with the needs of your hormones!

When it comes to our menstrual cycle, there are numerous ways to support it. Due to all of the hormone disruptors in our environment, is learning how to eat for your menstrual cycle.

By exercising and eating for our menstrual cycle, we can provide our bodies with the support it needs. The recommendations below are based on a normal hormonal cycle. 

I recommend tracking your physical to understand what phase you’re in. I use a Daysy (you can get $15 off with code “DaysyUS+465) & the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility, is beneficial to have!

how to exercise for your menstrual cycle sara b wellness

THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE PHASES

As women, we go through four phases: menstruation, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal. Typically our cycle lasts for 28-days, but it ranges between 23-36 days. Ideally, you track while you’re not on birth control as birth control disrupts our brains and ovaries’ communication.

Here is a brief overview of our hormonal phases:

Menstruation

This is when our period start, in which we shed the uterine lining. On average, your period can last anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Hormonal, this is when Estrogen and Progesterone are very low.

Follicular

The follicular begins the day you start your period and continues until you ovulate. The follicular phase is when Estrogen is increasing to grow a follicle to become an egg. Progesterone also begins to slowly increase, preparing for ovulation. This phase usually lasts 7-10 days.

Ovulatory

This is when your ovaries release an egg. It is a very short phase, 3-4 days, in which you can get pregnant, but sperm can last up to 5 in the body. 

Estrogen has peaked and begins to decline. At the same time, Progesterone starts to increase rapidly.

Luteal

The final phase begins right after ovulation and lasts for 10-14 days. Hormonally we see a little rise in Estrogen only to drop off again. However, Progesterone will peak at the midway point (5th or 7th day) of this phase. 

Then it will drop off like Estrogen if the egg was not fertilized. Then we start all over again with our period.

HOW TO EAT FOR YOUR MENSTRUAL CYCLE

Each phase has specific foods and supplements you can incorporate to help your hormones. However, having a whole foods-based diet is the foundation you want. Aim for high-quality animal meats, free-range eggs, organic vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and nuts/seeds.

Aim to reduce processed foods, gluten/wheat, grains (if you can’t tolerate them), conventional dairy, and refined sugar. 

Menstruation

The major concern during our periods is the dip in energy levels. This is due to both Estrogen and Progesterone levels being so low. We also have the matter of the loss of Iron. This is when we want to provide our bodies with as many nutrients as possible.

Nutrition

  • Increase your protein intake for iron and Vitamin B12 (salmon, red meat, almonds, liver)
  • Limit the processed foods and high-sugar foods as it can make your PMS worse
  • Snack on nuts/seeds, 75-100% dark chocolate, and fruit for those sugar cravings
  • Increase Vitamin C to help with iron absorption (bell peppers, tomatoes, and leafy greens)
  • Eat warm foods to warm the body and ease the digestive process

Follicular

This phase begins on the first day of your period. So for the first week of this phase, you’ll follow the menstruation recommendations. However, as your period ends, the more energy you’ll have. 

This is when Estrogen is starting to rise, and we become insulin sensitive (bring on the carbs!) 

Nutrition

  • Eat a tbsp of flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds per day
  • Eat enough calories in animal proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats to support hormone changes.
  • Focus on the protein as this is when we can workout harder
  • Eat carbohydrates around your workouts for energy and recovery.
  • Boost your calcium to help reduce PMS in the luteal phase organic/raw dairy, leafy greens)

Ovulatory

During this period, we are very fertile. This is when Estrogen levels peak and begins to decline. The goal here is to support the change in hormones and energy.

Nutrition

  • Focus on digestion as we need to detox the extra Estrogen
  • Manipulate your fiber (do a combination of soluble and insoluble sources)
  • Eat all the healthy fats for proper hormone changes.

Luteal

You will still follow the recommendations for the ovulatory phase for the first 3-4 days. However, the primary goal here is to prepare for our period and detox the excess Estrogen.

Nutrition

  • Aim for good sources of Zinc (shellfish, red meat, cashews, almonds, chickpeas)
  • Aim for good sources of Vitamin E (almonds, peanuts, leafy greens)
  • Support the liver for detoxing (cruciferous vegetables, drinking plenty of water)
  • Increase the carbohydrates (sweet potatoes, yams, apples, berries, honey)
  • Add a tbsp of sesame seeds and sunflower seeds per day.
  • Be aware of food cravings as they can point to nutrients your body needs.
how to eat for your menstrual cycle sara b wellness

HOW TO ADD THESE NUTRIENTS INTO EACH PHASE

With all of the recommendations above, you can pick and choose what works best for you. If you have any form of gut dysbiosis, you can manipulate it to the protocol you’re on. 

The cause will help balance your hormones and ensure your body is working efficiently! Here are some simple ways to make eating for your menstrual cycle effortless. 

Menstruation

  • Add a 4oz serving of iron-rich foods such as meat/seafood to every meal
  • Create little trail mixes of almonds, cashews, coconut, dark chocolate, etc
  • Make salads, burrito bowls, stir-fries, etc., with bell peppers and tomatoes.
  • Have bone broth soups in the freezer for easy warm meals

Follicular

  • Add flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds to salads, yogurt bowls, smoothie bowls, etc.
  • Have sweet potatoes and nut butter as an easy post-workout meal
  • Have a plate of a 4oz serving of animal protein, a fist-sized amount of starchy-vegetables, and then fill the rest of your plate with non-starchy vegetables and healthy fats
  • Include organ meats, dairy alternatives, leafy greens, and so on for a Calcium boost

Ovulatory

  • Include a minimum of 1-2 tbsps of fat per meal (EVOO for salads, avocados in smoothies/bowls, nut butter, etc.)
  • Include a variety of vegetables for both soluble and insoluble fibers
  • Spore-based probiotics for a healthy gut (I love the Just Thrive & get 15% off with “SBW”)
  • Cruciferous vegetables, bitter greens, turmeric, healthy fats to support the Liver

Luteal

  • Add tbsp sesame seeds and sunflower seeds to smoothies, toasts, salads, and more.
  • Include seafood at least 3x a week (especially shellfish for Zinc)
  • Other Zinc boosters are ground beef with vegetables, 75%-100% dark chocolate, etc
  • Make salads or scrambles with leafy greens for Vitamin E support.
  • Include starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, etc. at dinner

I  hope this helps you find foods to support how you can eat to support your menstrual cycle! Pick and choose a couple of things that make you feel good and have a happy period. I also recommend a paleo lifestyle but modified to your needs.

Thank youu so much for reading!

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email