Dr. Ray, ND MS

Menstrual cycles get a bad rap because of the many inconvenient symptoms a person can experience throughout the month. It may not be your cycle that is a problem, but instead the food you are eating. Here are some of the best foods to eat during your cycle so you feel well-nourished and balanced. It’s time to sync your diet with your cycle.

The menstrual cycle is divided into two main phases: 1. Follicular phase: the first 14 days of your cycle, which includes menstruation and ovulation (egg releases from ovary). 2.  Luteal phase: the second half of your cycle, which secretes hormones to either prepare your body for pregnancy or start a new menses. 

During these two phases, your body experiences a rise and fall of different hormones, which can affect how you feel and cause various changes in your body.  

For nourishment during the follicular phase, eat foods with phytoestrogens (plant-compounds similar to estrogen), high protein and fiber, and that are anti-inflammatory to support you during your period and fertile window.  

Menstruation phase:
– For pain-relief: fresh ginger in food, mild-use of cayenne pepper, red raspberry leaf tea, cacao powder, turmeric, and garlic. 
– For low appetite or nausea: veggie broths, light soups/stews with beans and veggies, and ginger or lemon tea.
– For bloating: whole-plant dandelion tea, chamomile tea; eat celery, cucumber and fennel or drink them as organic cold-pressed juices. 
– For low energy or anemia: vegan protein shakes, lightly- steamed dark leafy greens (i.e. kale, chard, collards), and alfalfa sprouts.

​Ovulation phase:
– Black beans for antioxidants and inositol.
– Whole grains including oats, bran, and millet for fiber.
– Seaweed/kelp for iodine. 
– More organic leafy greens and cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, etc.) for extra folate.​​

For nourishment during your luteal phase, consume more phytoprogestins (plant-compounds similar to progesterone), omega-3s, and fiber-rich foods to support progesterone production and reduce PMS symptoms. 

Luteal phase:
– Organic sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and evening primrose oil.
– Chickpeas, and lentils.
– Organic watercress, kale, mustard greens, watermelon, kiwi, carrots, oranges, parsley, cilantro, bell peppers, yams, and squash.​​

If many of these foods are new to you, pick two foods for each phase to try and see how you feel. Other pro tips include Rae’s Rebalance Capsules for extra support throughout your cycle, limiting caffeine and processed foods to help reduce cravings, cramping and PMS.