Have you ever felt like you don’t understand what exactly you’re feeling? Suddenly, you start to feel a burst of energy. At times, you also feel like you just want to lie in bed all day. Then, halfway through your cycle, you’re just feeling carefree and confident.
These patterns aren’t random and unusual. We, women, are constantly experiencing hormone fluctuations—including peaks and dips—throughout our menstrual cycle that cause us to feel and act differently. During our cycle, our moods, body, energy levels, and even our strength are affected.
To help you support and optimize what you feel during your cycle, let’s take you through cycle syncing and how you can sync your cycle with your diet effectively.
Cycle syncing, also known as period syncing, refers to the practice of making lifestyle choices—in your diet, habits, workout, clothing, social life, career, among others—based on your menstrual cycle’s phases. These phases include menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal (don’t worry, we’ll talk about these in a little while!)
Syncing your cycle includes altering your diet, social calendars, and other routines to provide your body the right support it needs to function better and improve your wellbeing. Some simple ways you can do this include wearing period underwear for comfortability, ensuring low-impact workout routines, and eating nutrient-rich food.
By supporting your production of hormones at different cycle stages through this practice, you get to help bring your best self to work as usual. You also become well-positioned to experience better moods, raised energy levels, improved body movement and composition, and minimized period pains.
Syncing your diet with your cycle
Your brain constantly communicates with your body via your hormones. For your body to produce hormones and fuel your system, it’s crucial to maintain a well-rounded diet to gain the energy and nutrients your body needs. This way, you prevent your body from prioritizing the production of stress hormones first, which lead to unhealthy hormone fluctuations and trigger unwanted effects such as dry and flaky skin.
Let’s help you customize your meals according to your menstrual cycle’s phases. Here are some meal prep hacks you can consider!
- Menstrual phase (days 1-7)
Known as your “bloody days,” this is the period where the shedding of the uterine lining happens. Your estrogen and progesterone levels become low. Your body’s energy levels also plummet.
- Eat warm, comforting food. Some warm meals you can prepare include soups, noodles, stews, and curries to soothe your digestion process. Pair any of these with anti-inflammatory food such as turmeric, ginger, fish oil, cinnamon, and berries to reduce any abdominal cramps.
- Increase Vitamin-C-rich food consumption. It is said that Vitamin C can elevate estrogen levels while lowering progesterone levels. These hormonal shifts support menstrual flow regulation. Try including citrus fruits like orange and lemon in your daily meals. You can also add one tablespoon of flaxseed and pumpkin seeds to rev up your meal experience. They both contain phytoestrogens which improve the estrogen metabolite ratio.
- Follicular phase (days 8-13)
Regarded as the “spring” phase, the follicular phase is the time between day one of your period and ovulation—meaning the release of the egg. During this period, you have more energy and brainpower.
- Prioritize protein and vitamin E. Keep your estrogen levels in check with more protein-rich food. Some food to consider include pasture-raised eggs and wild-caught fish. It’s also best to eat food with Vitamin E such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and leafy greens as they nourish your growing follicles.
- Go green with cruciferous vegetables. For effective estrogen detoxification, eating cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower is highly recommended.
- Ovulatory phase (days 14-21)
The release of the egg from the ovary occurs during this phase, so you’re most fertile during this time. Estrogen escalates and then drops shortly afterward. During this phase, you experience a confidence boost and high libido.
- Stay hydrated and fiber-filled. Water and fiber are essential to diminish fluid retention. So, ensure you have enough water intake every day. Consider including apples, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, corn bran, and green vegetables in your meals. You can also try pairing them with green tea.
- Add antioxidant-rich fruits to your diet. Since your estrogen is at its peak, it’s best to eat food that supports liver detoxification of excess estrogen. Opt for antioxidant-rich fruits like coconut, guava, raspberries, and strawberries.
- Luteal phase (days 22-28)
This phase is the time between ovulation and before the onset of menstruation. Progesterone is produced, and then it escalates and eventually drops. You’ll notice during this time that your attention is also turning inward, prompting self-awareness and reflection.
- Power up with Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. Help yourself boost your progesterone production so it can rise enough to enable healthy uterine lining growth. For a progesterone boost, consider food high in zinc and magnesium such as nuts, seeds, oysters, among others. Eat also food high in vitamin B6 like beef liver, chickpeas, salmon, tuna, and walnuts.
- Fill your stomach with more fiber. We all know that progesterone is also a major culprit of constipation. To help your digestion process go smoothly, up your fiber intake. Eat fiber-rich whole grains like bran cereal, oats, and quinoa.
Dishing up balance
A well-balanced and healthy diet is crucial to better sync your cycle. So, ensure that you eat various nutrient-filled food based on your cyclical needs to balance your hormones.
Hopefully, these evidence-based meal preparation tips can aid you to power through your period cycle, alleviate unwanted menstrual symptoms, and help you feel your best.