The Four Seasons of Your Menstrual Cycle

June 2024 - Health & Wellness

You may have heard of seasonal eating: highlighting foods in your diet that are locally grown and freshly harvested. But are you familiar with eating foods to support each stage of your menstrual cycle? Controlled by your hypothalamus, the menstrual cycle has four phases: menstruation, follicular, ovulation and luteal, and follows a similar pattern to the four seasons in the natural world. Let this be an invitation to connect your body to Mother Nature.

Inner Winter

A time to ground. Menstruation begins your cycle, lasting approximately 1–7 days. You may notice fatigue, muscle aches and an inner desire to rest during this time.

Diet Recommendations
Consuming iron-rich foods such as beef liver, red meat, nuts, seeds, beans and dark leafy greens is important as iron levels decrease during menstruation due to blood loss. Warm, cooked foods like soups, stews and bone broth can be comforting and offer a grounding element if they contain animal protein, beans and root vegetables.

Supplement Recommendations
When combined, calcium and magnesium relieve muscle tension; supplementation is suggested in the form of a drink powder. In addition, a liquid iron supplement paired with vitamin C to maximize absorption is also encouraged. The recommended intake for iron in women is 18 mg/day.

Movement Recommendations
Gentle movements such as stretching and yoga as well as grounding to the earth may reduce pain and inflammation.

Inner Spring

The Follicular Phase
Approximately days 8–14 of your cycle, estrogen levels rise as your ovaries produce an ovum. When you think about spring, nature blooms—I like applying this analogy to our body during this phase of the menstruation cycle.

Diet Recommendations
Whole grains such as quinoa make a great base for a salad bowl, offering some creativity with fresh local produce and protein choices based on your specific tastes. Try cooking the grains in bone broth to add flavour, minerals and collagen to support your digestive system as you move away from primarily cooked foods consumed during menstruation.

Supplement Recommendations
As your body produces FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) during this phase, taking a fish oil supplement for omega-3 fatty acids supports endocrine system functions.

Movement Recommendations
Heated yoga, dancing and Pilates can gently wake up the body after menstruation.

Inner Summer

Occurring on day 14 of your cycle, a sudden burst in energy may occur as well as increased body temperature.

Diet Recommendations
Avoiding alcohol and refined, processed foods is important as they burden the liver, inhibiting detoxifying properties. Due to high estrogen levels during ovulation, increase liver-supporting foods such as dandelion root tea, dark green vegetables, and vitamin B rich foods such as eggs and salmon. Fresh, in-season produce is also suggested in the form of fresh fruit juices, smoothies and salads.

Supplement Recommendations
A milk thistle supplement during ovulation is beneficial as it specifically supports estrogen filtration in the liver.

Movement Recommendations
This is the perfect time to try a new high intensity workout class, running or even swimming!

Inner Autumn

The Luteal Phase
On days 15–28, progesterone becomes the primary hormone in the Luteal Phase. Premenstrual Syndrome, otherwise known as PMS, may arise causing mood fluctuations, low energy, bloating and increased breakouts, among other symptoms.

Diet Recommendations
Omega-3 foods such as salmon, nuts, seeds and avocado balance hormones during this phase, and potassium-rich foods like bananas alleviate bloating.

Supplement Recommendations
Evening primrose oil can be beneficial at targeting PMS symptoms, and a B complex vitamin offers nervous system and mood support.

Movement Recommendations
Hiking and heated yoga! 

Meegan Waters is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Birth Doula, and mother to two precious girls. She enjoys cooking, sharing her food with those she loves and supporting women. She has been working in the birth and holistic health space since 2014 and is excited to expand her work as a postpartum doula in the upcoming months.
Learn more: Instagram: @meeganwaters

SHARE THIS POSTfacebooktwitterpinterest