Hey lady! If you are like many women, your period is your least favorite time of the month. The PMS, the cramps, bloating and everything else that seems to come with dreaded aunt flo.
Did you know that 90% of women deal with painful and earth shattering periods each month? 90%!!!! That is crazy.
Did you also know that your period is your bodies report card. It tells you what is working and what is not. The reason balancing hormones with food is so important is because if your hormones are balanced then all these terrible symptoms you experience every month will go away and you will be able to look forward to your period and all the good things that come with it. More on that in a minute.
But first, let’s talk hormones. What are hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers to the body. These chemicals are made by the body and tell every cell in the body what to do, how to act, and how to make you look and feel. They literally control EVERYTHING. That is why it is so important to have them balanced and working for us instead of against.
All the hormones in our endocrine system work together to carry out vital functions and promote homeostasis (the state of equilibrium) and are influenced by many factors including what we eat. In particular the balance of progesterone and estrogen (the primary cycle hormones that fluctuate throughout our monthly cycles) is imperative not only for hormone health, but overall physical, mental and emotional well being.
Certain nutrients help support hormone detoxification, influence hormone activity or promote their production. It’s fascinating when we look at the symptoms food can help with.
For example protein provides amino acids- the raw materials needed for making hormones while foods such as kale and broccoli and can help support detoxification processes including the removal of estrogen.
Vitamin C found in foods such as dark leafy greens, citrus, and parsley is a key to help the production of cortisol which influences our stress response.
Magnesium-rich foods such as tofu, dark greens and nuts may help to support PMS associated water retention and menstrual pain.
Keeping our blood sugar levels stable also contributes to overall hormones balance, helping to reduce mood swings and better manage weight, sleep and cravings.
To do this, try eating balanced meals filled with fiber and protein at regular intervals, and being mindful of the type of sugars and carbs you are eating. One easy way to make sure you are getting balanced nutrition during this time is by following my magic plate formula-
1/3 protein, 1/3 leafy greens, 1/3 slow burning carbs, and 1-2 tablespoons healthy fats.
Then incorporate some of the suggested foods for menstruation to make sure your cycle is optimized, and you are looking and feeling your best.
This is a huge act of self-care. Not only can it reduce frustrating period symptoms but it also optimizes your energy levels and balances your mood so you don’t have to dread this time of the month, but you can actually appreciate it and thrive during it.
Phase 1 menstruation- Day 1-5 The bleed
This phase is all about warmth and comfort
Your hormone levels go down during your period and are at their lowest, and foods with fatty acids, like salmon and avocado, help keep your mood stable amid this shift. In the meantime, root veggies like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and beets provide vitamin A to help your liver process estrogen and detox.
You will also notice your energy dip during this time. Drinking plenty of filtered water will help support your body and your energy levels. Also eating unprocessed, nutrient rich foods that keep your blood sugar steady and stable are key.
Your menstruation shopping list-
Black bean soup is a great period food and has everything you need to support your hormones during this time in your cycle. Anything warming so think warm tea, soups, etc.
Some other foods for this time are –
- Sweet Potato
- Activated brown rice
- Pumpkin seeds
- Wheat germ
- Protein- beef, chicken, lentils, fish, eggs
Exercise– This time of the month you might be lower on energy so exercises that are gentle and restorative are going to be your best options.
Business: Right and left brains are fully aligned so let’s get our creative juices flowing and meditate on your goals for the month and what tasks you need to do and map those out on your schedule. Tap into that quiet serene energy and focus on you and your self-care.
Clothing:your senses are on high alert during this time so avoid any scratchy or tight clothing and go for super comfortable. Soft fabrics that flow and move with the body. Also choose items that have a little more room. Think flowy dress or leggings and an oversized cashmere sweater. Anything that makes you feel amazing and is comfortable.
This is a great time for bonding with friends as well. In the old days there was something called red tents. This would be a place for all the women in the tribe to gather during their periods and be together as a community and bond. Start your own red tent club. Invite your girls over, drink Kombucha, rent a chick flick knowing all your tasks are planned for later in your cycle when you will be most productive.
If you want some period supporting recipes check out my latest cookbook. The complete hormone puzzle cookbook. These recipes were written for you so you can balance your hormones naturally and they are delicious from creamy smoothie bowls to warming soups there is literally something for everyone.
Hope you liked reading my first in a series of cycle optimizing blogs . All month I will be focusing on a different phase of your cycle. Tune in next week when we talk about the follicular phase
Love and Health,