Want to know some tips on how you can support your body throughout your menstrual cycle? Our bodies can be put through a lot while we are menstruating, therefore it is important to be able to find ways to support it and our overall health in the best way possible. Check out this blog post to find out more!
To help you feel more optimum and healthier throughout your menstrual cycle, you can actually tailor the foods that you eat to the specific stage of the menstrual cycle that you are in. Our body is experiencing something different at each stage, so we can choose foods that support the body at each particular stage.
During the menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle, your uterus is shedding its thickened lining in the form of a period, and this is an inflammatory process. Therefore, it can be helpful to eat foods that have anti-inflammatory properties during this time. Examples of such foods include tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna or sardines, and fruits. While you are losing blood on your period, you are also losing iron as iron is transported in the blood. Foods that are rich in iron include shellfish, spinach, legumes, red meat, quinoa, broccoli, tofu and dark chocolate.
Throughout the follicular phase of your menstrual cycle, you are unable to get pregnant as your ovaries are in the process of producing eggs. At this time, you can focus on a balanced healthy diet. Your body produces a lot of hormones during the follicular phase and these need to be metabolized, therefore foods that will help with this metabolization process may be beneficial, such as broccoli, kimchi and sauerkraut.
Estrogen levels are very high during the ovulation phase of your menstrual cycle and you should try to eat foods that are beneficial for your liver and have strong anti-inflammatory effects, such as whole fruits and vegetables and almonds.
The luteal phase is the final stage of your menstrual cycle and is defined as when the corpus luteum forms and the levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone increase and then decline before the start of the next period. During this time, it can be helpful to focus on foods that can produce serotonin, such as green leafy vegetables and quinoa, and also foods that are rich in magnesium, such as pumpkin seeds, spinach and dark chocolate. Magnesium helps to mitigate fatigue and boosts libido.
Exercising throughout your menstrual cycle can help you to manage your mental health and may also relieve pain from cramps during PMS and menstruation. It is also possible to tailor your workouts depending on which phase of your menstrual cycle you are experiencing, similarly to how you can tailor what foods you eat.
For example, during the menstruation phase, light exercise may be more productive whereas higher intensity workout can be more beneficial during the ovulation phase of the cycle. Cardio is suited to the follicular phase while self-care may be best towards the end of the luteal phase. There is a fantastic interview with expert Africa Rubio Pastor here where she discusses the details and the best exercises to do at different stages of your menstrual cycle. Definitely check it out!
Many women may experience pain leading up to their periods and/or during menstruation. There are some ways that pain, such as cramps, can be managed. Using heat on your abdomen can help to alleviate pain, so you might want to try taking a warm bath or applying a hot water bottle to the area. Other useful tips to managing period cramps are taking pain medication or getting a massage. Exercise may also be useful to help relieve period cramps, and the exercise can be light.
Some natural ingredients also have properties that help to relieve pain during PMS and periods, such as vitex, wild yam root and primrose oil.
Mental health management
Some women may experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety and irritability throughout their menstrual cycle, so it is important to find ways to manage your mental health. There are a number of practices that have the potential to help manage mental health, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and finding stress-releasing activities that work for you. Such activities can include yoga, taking a bath, going for a walk or meditating.