We all know those days where we would be laughing one minute and throwing a fit the next. We often forget the crucial role our period hormones play in our everyday life. For example, in a study, women reported higher levels of anxiety, hostility, and depression before there period. On the other hand, they experience increased feelings of well-being & self-esteem during the middle of the cycle.
Interested now? Let’s get to know our menstrual cycle!
- The Menstrual Phase – Bleeding
This is the phase where you bleed, which is what we typically refer to when we say ‘period’. In this phase, our uterus lining sheds, lasting for an average of 5 to 6 days. During this phase, our hormones are at an all-time low because they’re working hard to shed the lining. We can support the body and its low energy levels by drinking plenty of water and eating nutrient rich foods such as lean proteins, healthy fats, and low GI carbohydrates (wink wink). We also lose plenty of iron due to the blood loss, so make sure to combat that with iron-rich foods such as lentils, spinach, and red meat (if you eat them). Try your best to limit things like alcohol, caffeine and sugar as they can trigger hormone imbalances.
- The Follicular Phase – Preparation for egg release
This is the phase where estrogen levels rise again to prepare eggs for exit. You will feel much more energetic, so this is the perfect time for activities like strength training. This brings us to carbohydrates! Make sure you lean towards healthy low GI carbohydrates that don’t spike your blood pressure. In this phase, we want to continue to replenish our iron storage as well. Continue eating iron-rich foods such as lentils and incorporate more healthy carbs such as oatmeal and our VeggiPasta.
- The Ovulation Phase – Egg release
This is the phase where the egg is released from the ovary (usually 12-14 after the start of your period). Many women experience increased energy (and libido, woohoo) and start craving junk food during this time. Do yourself a favor and stock up on healthy snacks such as hummus and veggie sticks beforehand.
- The Luteal Phase – Preparation for (potential) pregnancy
In this phase, your hormone levels start increasing again to thicken the womb lining to prepare the egg for implantation. Many women experience PMS around this time, so it’s a good time to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, as they are stimulants that can aggravate PMS symptoms such as anxiety and mood shifts. Eating more omega-3 rich food could also decrease period cramps, so try to eat more oily fish during this period. You may also start craving more carbohydrate-rich food, so aim for complex slow carbs such as brown rice and VeggiPasta.
Aaaand guess what happens after this? Yup, we start all over again.