Making changes to our diet to help balance hormonal fluctuations can really help us to feel better throughout our cycle. This is especially helpful if you struggle with symptoms of hormone imbalance such as PMS, cramp or mood fluctuations. Here's how eating well can help!
Nurturing better female health from within
If during your menstrual cycle you feel different pretty much every day of the month, this is totally normal. Your hormone levels are changing and shifting constantly throughout your cycle, so no one day is the same as the next - as far as your body is concerned.
Why? Well because all the hormones in our endocrine system are influenced by multiple processes which are constantly fluctuating. Learning more about your cycle and responding to our body's unique needs can help to boost energy, balance mood and reduce symptoms such as PMS and brain fog.
You may not be able to control everything about your cycle, but what we eat has a huge impact on promoting happy hormones. Here's how to nurture better female health with your diet and nutrition.
Eating right for the different phases of your cycle
Eating right for your time of the month begins with getting to know your own individual cycle - by tracking your period. There are some fab free apps out there that could really help.
It will take the app a while to get to know your body at first. The most accurate results will come once you have three to four months of data, so it's really important to make tracking your cycle a healthy habit.
Once you have used the app to figure out where you are in your cycle, align this with the information below to help nurture happier hormones.
Menstrual Phase - begins with day 1 of your period and finishes when your period ends
During the menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus is shedding. Hormones are at an all time low meaning your energy levels are likely to be too. You are losing blood and iron - and prostaglandins (which cause cramping) are peaking. You may feel more inward, slow and restful during menstruation.
To support this, focus on nourishing and nutrient dense foods that help to build iron stores and assist in iron absorption. These are foods such as spinach, kale, broccoli, beans, lentils, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and - if you eat animal products - grass-fed beef, eggs and fish are a good source of heme iron.
To maximise iron absorption, be sure to include a source of Vitamin C alongside iron-rich foods. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes and strawberries are all rich sources of Vitamin C, which has been shown to help enhance iron absorption.
Finally, choose anti inflammatory foods to help with cramps - such as turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. Keep energy and blood sugar levels steady with protein at each meal, and carbohydrates with a low glycemic load such as wholegrains and root veg.
Superfoods which can help during the menstrual phase:
🌱 Green Plant Protein - Adequate protein intake is important for blood sugar balance which can help to curb cravings, balance mood and support optimal energy.
🌱 Balance Tonic - Rich in vitamin C which is essential for the regulation of progesterone and also helps to aid iron absorption. Balance Tonic also contains Ashwagandha and Maca which are great for boosting our mood.
Follicular phase - lasts around 13 days
Your body is now preparing for an egg to be released. Oestrogen and testosterone are peaking, and therefore so are your energy levels!
This is a great time to stay active and support your body with light but energy building foods. Think colourful foods like nutrient dense, vibrant salads.
Consume protein at each meal to support your increase in physical activity. If you're vegetarian or vegan, try to include 2 sources of protein - to get a complete amino acid profile.
Support gut health and detoxification with fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickles and kefir. This can also help to manage skin breakouts which can start to appear at this stage of your cycle.
Superfoods which can help during the follicular phase:
🌱 Cacao Plant Protein - A perfect post-workout drink and a complete source of protein. Cacao Plant Protein also contains Cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom which helps to support physical stamina and endurance.
🌱 Balance Tonic - To help support the changes in hormones and regain inner female balance. Antioxidant-rich wild blueberry also supports the body's natural detoxification mechanisms.
Ovulation phase - occurs roughly 14 days after the first day of your period.
Here an egg is being released into the fallopian tubes to prepare for fertilisation. Hormone levels are rising, particularly oestrogen as it aids in this process.
We may start off feeling outgoing and social at first, but directly after ovulation progesterone is on the rise - which can leave us feeling more introverted.
Excess oestrogen can cause symptoms such as breast tenderness and skin breakouts, so nutrients that support the liver are good to include to support detox. These are found in foods such as kale, broccoli, onions and garlic.
Make sure to stay active to encourage detoxification via the skin and sweat, but listen to your body if you feel you need to rest.
Superfoods which can help during the ovulation phase:
🌱 Clean Greens - Contains plant-based fibres to help with detoxification and also prevent constipation, which can be common around this phase.
🌱 Berry Beauty - Rich in antioxidants to support liver health and promote healthy skin.
🌱 Balance Tonic - Contains Hibiscus which supports detoxification as well as potent adaptogens to help manage stress and hormonal balance.
Luteal Phase - lasts around 14 days following the ovulation phase
At this stage, the egg is fertilised and prepares for attachment to the uterus - or if unfertilised, it disintegrates and your body prepares to cycle again.
You may notice energy and mood slowly declines over these 2 weeks as hormones peak and then take a big drop again. This is where PMS symptoms creep in.
As oestrogen drops, serotonin does too - causing you to feel a little low. At this same time progesterone is high, which may cause cravings for fatty, high carb foods as well as an increased appetite in general. Help to curb cravings by consuming foods rich in B vitamins such as brown rice, bread, legumes and meat & eggs if eaten.
However, always remember to listen to your body! Your body has these cravings for a reason—you’re preparing for menstruation. High iron, ultra-nourishing and the most nutrient-dense indulgent foods are okay here. Warm, soft, and comforting foods are key.
Be mindful of your consumption of caffeine and alcohol, which can worsen symptoms like anxiety and mood swings. Coffee and alcohol can also interfere with the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals required for optimal menstrual health.
Superfoods which can help during the luteal phase:
🌱 Magic Matcha - Includes Ashwagandha which helps balance mood and promote inner calm.
🌱 Cacao Plant Protein - Helps to balance blood sugars, stabilise mood and curb cravings.
🌱 Balance Tonic - Contains adaptogenic herbs which help to stabilise mood, promote calm in the body and support energy levels.
By getting to know your cycle, listening to your body and instilling some healthy habits - you can help to ride the wave that is your cycle as smoothly as possible. With added superfoods for a nourishing boost, get ready to unleash your inner superwoman!