Last week I discussed how your training can be better synced around your menstrual cycle & I had so many of you reach out & say thanks for sharing but you also asked “What about nutrition, it’s a huge struggle for me”?
I had this post ready to go ladies to answer that exact question so read on.
So, how do you synch your nutrition to your menstrual cycle?
Just like training our nutrition needs to be considered throughout our menstrual cycles. I am sure you have all felt low in energy, had insane cravings &/or hunger & noticed your body also change, holding more fluid retention, feeling bloated & puffy & even our muscles feeling more sore & fatigued.
What you eat during your menstrual cycle can play a huge part in all of these symptoms, but sadly we’ve been told over & over again to go against the way we feel, to push through dieting even when our bodies are screaming at us for more calories & nutrients, to just have better willpower around cravings & to put up with the bloating, low energy & fatigue.
Well that’s absolute BS 🚫
Changing your nutrition habits throughout your cycle can actually have amazing outcomes for you ,like improved energy, less fatigue, better moods, less bloating, less cravings, improved body composition, reduced period problems – by supporting the production (or metabolism and detoxification) of hormones at different stages of our cycle.
Day 1-7: Menstrual Phase
Hormones (oestrogen & progesterone) are at their lowest right now and iron levels are dropping so it’s normal to feel low in energy, feel more inward and slow. You’ll need lower calorie needs, higher carbs & a diet rich in omega 3’s, iron & vitamin C.
Day 8-13: Follicular Phase
Your hormone levels are starting to rise during this phase as your body is preparing an egg to be released. Oestrogen (and testosterone in smaller amounts) is on the rise so energy begins to pick up and you’ll feel more confident. We are also more insulin sensitive, so our bodies can tolerate more carbs and slight increase in calories, particularly if you’re increasing your strength training also increasing your omega 3’s.
Day 14-21: Ovulatory Phase
Oestrogen is peaking right now so you should be feeling amazing! You’ll start to feel hungrier in this phase & need higher calorie needs, increasing intake of healthy fats especially & tryptophan rich foods like eggs, nuts, salmon etc.
Day 22-28: Luteal Phase
Progesterone is on the rise – our fat burning, temperature regulating, pro-gestational hormone. You may start to feel a little more introverted & sluggish. This is because oestrogen is declining & serotonin levels drop. Progesterone increases metabolic rate, so hunger levels go up and we tend to crave salty, fatty and carb rich foods. You are less insulin sensitive in this phase, so it’s a great time to lower the carbohydrates and increase hormone loving fats. Food rich in magnesium are great like, spinach, dark chocolate (or cacao powder), legumes, avocado, banana, raspberries, salmon and tuna. Hunger levels are super high so it’s normal to crave more food, don’t feel guilty for reaching for that extra snack. Choose your favourite healthy comforting meals as hunger rises so you feel satisfied, and “bulk” out your meals with more fibrous veggies so you feel fuller on the good stuff.
Be kind to your body ladies, become more educated on it’s needs & it will start to work with you rather than against you 🙌🏻
*remember this is a guide only ladies & you all have different cycles so this information may not work for everybody.