Nutrition + Hormones

Nourishing Each Phase of Your Cycle: The Menstrual Phase

November 12, 2021

What’s happening during the menstrual phase of your cycle + Nourishment for this phase

Did you know that your body requires different nutrients during each phase of your monthly cycle?

The first step in supporting hormone balance is learning about your 28-day hormone cycle. Once you understand what happens in your body during each phase of your cycle, you can better understand how to nourish and support your hormones.

So, what are the 4 phases of your monthly cycle?

  • The menstrual phase
  • The follicular phase
  • The ovulatory phase
  • The luteal phase

WHEN DOES THIS PHASE OCCUR?

The menstrual phase of your cycle occurs 3 to 7 days during your bleed. The first day of your monthly cycle is the first day of your bleed.

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR BODY?

  • The corpus luteum gets reabsorbed by the body
  • Progesterone levels decline
  • Your uterus sheds the thick endometrial lining that it has built up in the luteal phase
  • Estrogen hits its lowest point just before your bleed
  • Hormones are at their lowest levels during this time

When I’m working with my clients, the first place I always start is with nutrition. Nutrition is the foundation that we build upon and no supplement or self care routine is going to work without it! Below is a list of my top food recommendations to help nourish your body through the menstrual phase of your cycle + which foods to avoid during this time.

PERIOD NOURISHING FOODS

For women in their reproductive years, the key to optimal health and balanced hormones is to eat, move and supplement in ways that support each phase of their cycle.

  • Clean animal protein + healthy fats — Your hormone levels are at their lowest during this phase, so add extra protein and healthy fats to help keep energy and moods stable – Look for antibiotic/hormone-free protein and healthy fats such as coconut oil, avocados, olive oil and grassfed butter
  • Low glycemic index veggies and fruit — Helps to keep blood sugar steady while adding fiber and antioxidants
  • Seafood + Seaweed — Helps provide the necessary minerals that are lost during menstruation such as zinc and iron
  • Nutrient dense foods such as kidney beans + red meat — Helps to provide extra nourishment that your body needs during this phase – Just be sure to opt for pasture-raised or grass-fed beef which is less inflammatory than conventionally-farmed beef

FOODS TO AVOID DURING YOUR PERIOD

All of these can worsen PMS and period symptoms – Start avoiding these foods several days prior to your period + during your period

  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Sugar
  • Dairy
  • Caffeine — You can read more about how caffeine affects your hormones in my previous blog post, Caffeine & Your Hormones
  • Alcohol 

For more information on nutrition, supplements, products and self care for the menstrual phase of your cycle, download my FREE Better Period Checklist below!

References

Brighten, J., 2019. Beyond the pill. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

Murray, M. and Pizzorno, J., 2012. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Atria Books.

Vitti, A., 2020. In the FLO. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

+ show Comments

- Hide Comments

add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I'm Spencer,
Your Nutrition Bestie
& Hormone Advocate.

I love chips and guac, hiking with my boyfriend and our pups, I’m OBSESSED with nitro cold brew, and I enjoy cooking healthy meals for my friends and family. I have a passion for helping women have a better relationship with food and their cycle, so they can live their best (and healthiest) lives!


more about me

hey there!

Caffeine & Your Hormones

Read it

BLog post

Holiday Hormone Survival Guide

read it

blog post

Most Loved Blog Posts

Steal My Better
Period Checklist!

Ready to have your best period yet? Sign up for the Nourish Your Soul Newsletter and grab my FREE Better Period Checklist so you can learn how to reduce PMS and period symptoms!