Nutrition during your Cycle: Which foods for which phase?

Cycle knowledgeUncategorized Jul 2022

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All the important information about the needs of the body during the cycle and the right nutrition during the different phases of the cycle.

Even though the female cycle is a recurring monthly physical ritual for most menstruating people, few are aware of how important it is to support the phases of the cycle with the right food choices. In this article we explain which phases there are, what effects nutrition has during these phases and what you should pay attention to in each case.

Feminine Food – The optimal diet for every phase of the cycle

Menstruation is one of the most complex hormonally controlled processes in our female body, a process during which the body and mind recreate themselves, mood swings, water retention, cramps, fatigue and migraines are provoked by the fluctuations in hormonal balance and our mood sinks. A phase in which our health is the focus and we should also indulge our needs and cravings. This is exactly the time to support our body with the right food choices and counteract menstrual cramps, dysmenorrhoea and premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A healthy, balanced and above all vitamin-rich diet helps us to alleviate discomfort and increase well-being during the individual phases of the period.

The phases of a woman’s cycle differ not only in their hormonal and anatomical processes, but each of the four phases also requires an adapted diet. In general, the focus here is also on a vitamin-rich diet and a renunciation of empty calories, as we find them predominantly in fast food dishes. A diet adapted to the hormonal balance is not only good for well-being and health, but also helps the female body to achieve or maintain balance in each individual phase. Roughly speaking, we can divide menstruation – without going into more detail or the four individual cycle phases in this article – into two periods – the period of blossoming “spring and summer” and the period of letting go “autumn and winter”.

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“Eat Like a Woman: Rezepte für einen harmonischen Zyklus”, Andrea Haselmayr, Denise Rosenberger, Verena Haselmayr

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“Is Female Health Clinical?”, Alexandra Alvergne, Verena Högqvist Tabor, Trends Ecol Evol. 2018 Jun; 33(6):399-414.

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Nutritional modulation of blood pressure and vascular changes during severe menstrual cramps Uche C. Njoku, MSc a , Peter U. Amadi, PhD b,* and Joy A. Amadi, PhD.

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“High dose vitamin D supplementation can improve menstrual problems, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome in adolescents”, Bahrami A, Avan A, Sadeghnia HR, Esmaeili H, Tayefi M, Ghasemi F, Nejati Salehkhani F, Arabpour-Dahoue M, Rastgar-Moghadam A, Ferns GA, Bahrami-Taghanaki H, Ghayour-Mobarhan M.; Gynecol Endocrinol. 2018 Aug;34(8):659-663.

The blossoming phase

The phase of blossoming and reinventing oneself; from the last day of menstruation including the next ovulation (follicle and ovulation phase):

Here, the supply of vitamins A, C, E as well as iron, folic acid, selenium and zinc is particularly important. Phytoestrogens are also beneficial because they influence regular ovulation. Phytoestrogen-providing foods include various vegetables such as beans, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as fruits such as pomegranates, berries, stone fruits and citrus fruits, and pulses, seeds and olives. Important grains for the spring and summer phase are light types such as quinoa, amaranth, spelt and oats.

Due to the build-up of the uterine lining, it is also important to ensure a sufficient supply of protein to support this build-up phase. Middle pains during ovulation as well as migraine, nausea and menstrual bleeding can be curbed by coordinated prescriptions.

The phase of letting go

The phase after ovulation until the end of menstruation (luteal phase and menstrual phase):

Especially in these phases, due to the loss of blood during menstruation, it is important to take in iron naturally through seeds and nuts, oatmeal, legumes and various iron-rich vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, broccoli and fennel. A simultaneous intake of vitamin C or fruit acids also helps your body to increase iron absorption. It is best to reduce your consumption of coffee or tea during this phase, as this in turn impedes the absorption of iron.

For an optimal vitamin A intake to support the liver, you can generally reach for all red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
A sufficient supply of magnesium and calcium as well as vitamin B for the production of positive messenger substances such as serotonin and dopamine also prepare your body optimally for the menstrual phase. In addition to dairy products, various types of cereals and pulses, nuts, seeds and kernels – especially sesame and poppy seeds – provide you with optimal nutrition.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which, in addition to the main sources such as eggs and fish, are found in abundance in all the legumes and wholemeal products mentioned, also improve your mood during these phases and counteract the occurrence of dysmenorrhoea and PMS by stimulating prostaglandins.

You should also try to make sure you take enough vitamin D supplements. This vitamin also reduces the occurrence of various PMS symptoms such as back pain and the tendency to feel depressed as well as reduced pain intensity. Vitamin D thus also has a positive influence on the physical and psychological symptoms of PMS.

It also becomes interesting for fans of dark chocolate during this phase. Not only does it satisfy our craving for sweets, but due to its high potassium content it also supports muscle function when cramps occur during menstruation. Cocoa beans also contain valuable antioxidants that have a cell-protecting effect.

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“Adverse Effects of Dietary Habits on Menstrual Disorders in Young Women”, Tomoko Fujiwara, Natsuyo Sato , Hiroyo Awaji and Rieko Nakata; The Open Food Science Journal, 2007, 1, 24-30

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Role of Food and Exercise in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Dr. Anuja Choudhary Asst. Prof. Dept. of Physiotherapy, MVGU; 2022 International Journal of Innovative Science and Research Technology ISSN No:-2456-2165; Volume 7, Issue 5, May

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Premenstrual Syndrome Is Associated with Dietary and Lifestyle Behaviors among University Students: A Cross-Sectional Study from Sharjah, UAE; A Hashim, Mona S., A Obaideen, Asma A., A Jahrami, Haitham A. et al., D 2019; J Nutrients, 2072-6643.

Nutrition tips for your entire cycle

Overall, recipes with high proportions of valuable protein sources, fresh vegetables, herbs and antioxidants are to be preferred in these phases. As a supplement, the necessary minerals and vitamins can be provided by well-coordinated food supplements during the individual phases. In general, it is important not to overload your body with convenience foods and fast food, alcohol, unnecessary amounts of sugar, too much salt and caffeine.

Our products are specially designed to meet the needs of women during the different phases of their cycle. They can help you get the vitamins, nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids you need for each phase of your cycle. Take a look around our range and take your cycle health into your own hands.