Cycle Syncing Nutrition 

Bailey Fitzgerald R.H.N

Let’s talk about cycle syncing and how to support your body during your monthly cycle!

Cycle syncing is the practice of altering your diet and/or exercise routine (+ other lifestyle habits) around the different phases of your menstrual cycle to support and optimize how you feel. The idea is that by tracking your cycle you can tune in to the hormonal fluctuations that take place over the month and eat, drink, move, and live your life in accordance to promote overall wellness. In this blog we’ll dive deep and explore the best nutrients to support you throughout your monthly cycle. If you’re interested in which types of exercises to do to support you through your cycle, you can check out my blog on Cycle Syncing Exercises.

First I will give you a quick rundown of each phase of your menstrual cycle (for a typical 28-day cycle) + where your hormone levels fall during each phase, how your body might feel, & then we’ll talk about how to nourish your body accordingly.

Menstrual phase (Days 1-5): Lining of the uterus sheds. Estrogen & progesterone are low. Energy and mood might be low. 

Follicular phase (Days 1-13): The first half of your cycle when estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are on the rise. Energy and mood may be higher. 

Ovulation (Day 14): Hormones surge! Estrogen and testosterone levels peak & progesterone continues to rise. Libido, self-confidence, energy, and mood may be high. Take note that your entire ovulatory phase (fertile window) falls from day 11-16. 

Luteal phase (Days 15-28): The second half of your cycle when progesterone peaks. All other hormones decrease as the menstrual cycle starts again. Energy drops and metabolism increases- may experience lower energy and mood + more food cravings. Be mindful of PMS symptoms. It is normal to feel emotional and irritable. 

*Please note that every woman is different and cycle length can vary slightly. Symptoms and feelings may vary within each phase.

During each phase of your menstrual cycle, your body has different nutritional needs. By aligning your diet with these needs, you can support hormonal balance, reduce discomfort, and promote overall well-being. Here’s a guide to the types of foods that can be beneficial during each phase:

  1. Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5):
  • Iron-rich foods: Consume foods like leafy green vegetables, legumes, tofu, and lean red meat to replenish iron lost during menstruation.
  • Foods high in vitamin C: Enhance iron absorption by pairing it with foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, and strawberries.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Reduce inflammation and alleviate menstrual cramps by including foods like fatty fish (salmon, sardines), flaxseeds, and walnuts in your diet.
  1. Follicular Phase (Days 6-13):
  • Fiber-rich foods: Support estrogen metabolism and hormonal balance with foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
  • Foods high in vitamin E: Include vegetables like sweet potato and leafy greens to nourish the ovaries.
  • Protein sources: Include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and plant-based proteins like beans and lentils to support estrogen production.
  1. Ovulatory Phase (Around day 14):
  • Antioxidant-rich foods: Protect against oxidative stress and support egg health with foods like berries, cherries, dark chocolate, and leafy greens.
  • Cruciferous vegetables: Promote liver detoxification and flush out excess estrogen with foods like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
  • Healthy fats: Consume sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil to support hormone production and fertility.
  • B-vitamins: Boost energy and support hormone metabolism by including foods like whole grains, eggs, leafy greens, and legumes in your meals.
  1. Luteal Phase (Days 15-28):
  • Complex carbohydrates: Stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce mood swings by incorporating foods like whole grains, sweet potatoes, quinoa, and oats into your diet.
  • Magnesium-rich foods: Alleviate PMS symptoms and promote relaxation with foods like spinach, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate.
  • Herbal teas: Sip on calming herbal teas like chamomile, ginger, or lavender to support relaxation and reduce bloating.

Please use these suggestions as general guidelines. It is essential to listen to your own body’s needs and preferences. Experiment with different foods, and pay attention to how they make you feel during each phase of your cycle (try keeping a cycle  journal!). By nourishing yourself in harmony with your menstrual cycle, you can optimize your well-being and promote hormonal balance naturally. 

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