Here's How to 'Hack' Your Nutrition to Support Your Period
Last week, we talked about how your period can be pretty cool. Even if It feels like a pain sometimes. The topic was cycle syncing, and if you missed it, you can click here.
We went over the hormonal highs and lows of your cycle. We talked about the best exercises to do as well as what to do when it comes to your workload. Now that you know you can ‘hack’ your biology to work for you, it’s important to talk about what you put into your body.
Because one thing that will help improve your cycle as well is nutrition.
Eating with your menstrual cycle doesn’t involve an unusual diet or changing your lifestyle. It’s a matter of knowing where you are in your cycle and what foods will enrich your time of the month.
Your cycle is as dynamic as you are. Let’s make it the best we can by giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive.
This is the time where you may feel like reaching for the salty or sweet snacks. Bring on the chips, ice cream and chocolate, right? While those things are amazing, your body is craving wholesome nutrients after losing a lot via your blood.
Also, drink WAY more water than you usually would. You’re also losing hydration by bleeding.
It’s a good time to cut caffeine - at least until you’re done bleeding. Caffeine is a diuretic and will further dehydrate you, making cramps even worse.
When it comes to the best foods to have during this time, focus on leafy greens like spinach, kale, and chard. Also, grab some beets that still have the tops on them. You can eat the root and the greens. Both are very rich in iron.
Red meat is also an excellent source of iron. If you’re feeling especially brave, liver is another great source. It’s an acquired taste, but your body will thank you. Mussels and oysters are iron rich as well.
If you can find a way to incorporate these foods into your diet during your time of the month - great! If the above listed foods aren’t in season or hard to get to, try to get an iron supplement.
During this time, your body is preparing to release an egg. You’re gaining energy and feeling at your best as your hormones peak. Your nutrition should focus on supporting the follicles your body is creating to release an egg. Also, eat to support how energetic you’re feeling during this time.
Think more about nuts and seeds during this time. Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, peanuts, and almonds to name a few. These are easy enough to add into any meal of the day. You could add any of these ingredients to your breakfast or lunch. Or, eat them as a delicious on-the-go snack.
For dinner, aim for cruciferous vegetables as well as any protein. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage and a whole lot more. Any meat you usually eat is fine.
It’s the peak of your hormonal cycle followed by the slow fall. Some may experience fluid retention and bloating. If you’re one of these, it’s best to avoid salty foods which will make the problem worse.
Instead, focus on fiber-rich foods. It’ll help ease bloating and constipation around this time.
Think green around this time. Green vegetables, spirulina and microgreens as well as the seeds and nuts we mentioned earlier will best support you around this time.
To combine hydration with fiber intake, grab a piece of fruit to take with you. Citrus, berries, and stone fruit (peaches, plums) are great around this time for keeping your energy high.
This is the phase where you may start feeling more tired than usual as your hormones dwindle and your energy drops. It’s the time of your cycle when you may experience mood swings and food cravings.
Aim for high iron foods as your body prepares for your period. Also, anything nutrient dense is key because of what your body is about to lose.
Think of whole grains like brown rice and quinoa as well as a nutritious bone or veggie broth.
And believe it or not, It’s an amazing time to have chocolate! Dark chocolate is a great snack to have around this time because of its magnesium content. Magnesium is a natural pain reliever. So if you’re feeling those pre-period aches and cramps, go ahead and reach for it.
If you’re not perfect with sticking to this routine, don’t worry! The goal is to support a better period, not to stress on the details.
These are only suggestions, and you’ll have plenty of time to perfect your own system.
Remember to stay hydrated, stay relaxed, and above all, have a happy period!