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 luteal phase of your cycle occurs the 10-14 days after your ovulatory phase ends and before the menstrual phase.
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR BODY?
- Estrogen levels remain high and the lining of the uterus continues to thicken.
- Progesterone levels begin to rise.
- During the second half of the luteal phase, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone peak and then begin to drop, hitting their lowest levels just before your period.
- During this phase, PMS may be caused by too much estrogen in the body relative to progesterone or estrogen dominance.
- Your metabolism increases during this phase and your body needs more calories in order to stabilize blood sugar levels (Stabilizing blood sugar levels helps balance insulin — This is a key hormone that affects the degree of PMS you will experience).
- You may feel more focused and more task-oriented during this phase, making it a great time to complete projects and get things done.
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 luteal phase of your cycle + which foods to avoid during this time in order to help reduce PMS and period symptoms.
LUTEAL PHASE 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. The nourishment you consume during the luteal phase will help to set you up for a better period.
- Slow burning carbohydrates — Think brown rice, sweet potatoes and other root veggies.
- Foods rich in B vitamins, calcium, magnesium and fiber — Think collard greens, mustard greens, water cress, chickpeas, pears, apples and walnuts.
- Healthy fats and clean protein — Help to stabilize blood sugar levels and provide the extra calories your body needs as you enter into the menstrual phase.
FOODS TO AVOID DURING THE 2ND HALF OF THE LUTEAL PHASE
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
- Caffeine — You can read more about how caffeine affects your hormones in my previous blog post, Caffeine & Your Hormones
For more information on nutrition, supplements, products and self care for the menstrual phase of your cycle, download my FREE Better Period Checklist below!
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.