Nourishing a Healthy Menstrual Cycle

Dec 3, 2023 | Womens Health

Like many modern women, I spent a a significant number of years on the birth control pill and didn’t fully experience the magic of being part of the divine feminine. One has to question why this isn’t taught to us as we grow up. It is the norm for women to spend time dealing with their period, fighting against nature, trying to control, suppress, and even eliminate their cycle altogether. After 14 years of allowing my body to find its own rhythm, I can’t help but wonder how much easier and enjoyable life would have been if I had simply allowed myself to go with the flow.

Nature is however a formidable force, and despite how much we have separated ourselves from its natural rhythms, the female cycle is still very much linked with the moon. Studies show that conception rates peak on or just before the full moon, indicating that ovulation commonly occurs just before the full moon. It is widely believed that the ‘ideal’ cycle would have you bleeding around dark moon (just before the new moon) and ovulating just before the full moon.

Research has shown that one of the most effective ways to treat irregular periods is to synch your body with the moon. To do this reduce exposure to artificial light at night – dim lighting, lamps, even red light globes can help. Then sleep in total darkness for a month. On the next full moon you should “moon bathe”, which involves spending 15 mins outside in the full moonlight for 3 nights, the night before, the night of and the night after the full moon.

Simply sleeping with a dim night light on in your room for those three days has been shown to be effective at regulating cycles in over 50% of women. Even if you don’t have a cycle, for example if you are already in menopause, many women report that synching with the moon, as described above, helps them to move through life with more ease, grace and flow.

Full moon silhouetting trees

Eating to support your natural rhythm

In addition to synching yourself with the moon, eating to support the body through the different stages of the cycle will also help you go with the flow. We have different nutritional needs in the different phases as our bodies are producing different hormones.

If you don’t have a cycle, use the full moon as day one – the menstrual phase.

Menstrual phase

The main priority in this phase is blood sugar balance. Mineral rich foods, such as bone broth or veggie broth are ideal. Iron rich foods are also really important in this phase. Soups and stews are a great way to get these nutrients and are comforting and easy to digest. This can help ease the constipation that often occurs at the start of your period.

Vitamin rich smoothies are also a great option. Plenty of vitamin C and estrogen balancing foods such as green cruciferous vegetables and flaxseed are great.

A focus on antioxidant and anti inflammatory can help release the fluid retention that many people experience at the start of the cycle.

Things to avoid at this time include alcohol, fried foods, and vigorous exercise. Yoga and light resistance training will be better suited in this phase.

Follicular phase

The priority in this phase is estrogen building.
Estrogen building foods such as pumpkin and flax seeds support your body for ovulation. High quality proteins, sprouted beans, and foods high in B12 and zinc are also vital. It is recommended that you increase vitamin D through exposure to the sun. You will have good energy during this phase and can partake in more challenging workouts such as HIIT and
strength training.

Ovulatory phase

The priority in this phase is detoxification .
Foods high in omega three such as wild cough salmon, flaxseed and walnuts High selenium foods such as mushrooms and brazil nuts are excellent around this time as they are particularly
important for reproduction and cell division.

Foods high in folate which also support liver detoxification are dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Folate is also really important during and prior to pregnancy.

Drinking lots of water in this phase is especially important if you are trying to get pregnant as to will help with metabolising oestrogen and excreting bi-products from the detoxification, and well as ensuring your cervical mucus is in optimal consistency for carrying sperm to the egg.

Luteal phase

The main priority in this phase is building progesterone.
Foods that support this include your cruciferous vegetable, pumpkin, spinach and whole grains. Vitamin B6, vitamin C and zinc are super important at this time too, as is a good dose of healthy protein from wild caught low mercury fish, grass fed and grass finished meats, legumes nuts and seeds.

Many people experience a drop in energy at this stage their cycle last the progesterone levels rise – listen to your body, don’t push too hard at the gym.

Foods high in magnesium such as sunflower seeds and almonds, dark leaf greens and legumes can help balance your mood and support good sleep in this phase.

If you do become pregnant, supporting progesterone production will remain a priority.

Cycle Syncing Ebook

For more information on cycle synching download my free ebook.

Nature is however a formidable force, and despite how much we have separated ourselves from its natural rhythms, the female cycle is still very much linked with the moon.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash