Few women are lucky enough to breeze through their cycle without any discomfort. If you don’t find yourself quite so fortunate, this post is for you. There is so much you can do to optimize your cycle with food! So often, we just live with the cramps, the mood swings, the bloating and assume that is just how it has to be.
Nutrition is one of the keys to balancing hormones and creating a little relief from some of the discomfort we experience each month. Food as medicine isn’t our first thought. Typically, we head for the bottle of pain reliever before grabbing a handful of berries.
The first five days of your cycle, a woman’s body enters an inflammatory phase, or the Menstrual phase. During this time, one of the best things you can do for yourself is indulge in a diet of non-inflammatory foods. Nutrient dense foods such as whole grains, lean meats and plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids. This is not the time for a run through your favorite fast food joint, unless it’s for a dark, leafy green salad full of fresh veggies.
The follicular phase is next, days 7-16. This is likely when you are feeling your very best and a well rounded diet is your best choice. Continue with nutrient dense foods, plenty of fruits, vegetables and protein. Eggs are a great option as well. Hormones are high during this phase so be sure to stay well hydrated. Sometimes, you can become easily dehydrated during this time.
After the follicular phase your body will start eliminating the used hormones. Berries and cruciferous vegetables are amazing for clearing out the liver during this detox phase. Eat foods that easily digested like soups and plenty of cooked vegetables. Foods that feed the microbiome are especially important. Include lots of Greek yogurt, and fermented foods.
Finally, the last phase of your cycle is when you want to be nourishing your body with foods rich in vitamins and minerals, think avocado, dark chocolate, brazil nuts, (these are amazing to help relieve cramping), and seeds like pumpkin, flax and chia.
Food is one of the best ways we can heal the body. A healthy gut can most certainly decrease the symptoms associated with your monthly cycle. Try it and let us know how it changes you for good.