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What to Eat During Your Menstrual Cycle Phases: How the Right Foods Can Boost Your Well-Being


Nutrition expert Sam explains how you can boost your well-being with the right foods during your menstrual cycle.

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"Everything is connected: Our brain and hormones respond directly to what you eat, how you move and what you think...That's why it's important to look at the cycle holistically and support both the body with nutrient-rich superfoods and the mind with self-love!" - Samantha Frost, Head of Nutrition at Your Super

The female menstruation is a highly complex cycle managed by many different hormones. Before we talk about which nutrients your body needs in each individual phase of your cycle, we should take a closer look at what happens before, during and after your period.


Lifestyle and Nutrition Tips for Each Phase of the Menstrual Cycle: How to Give Your Body What it Needs

Menstrual phase (day 1 to day 5)

Illustration Menstrual Phase

What happens in your body

The first day of menstruation also marks the beginning of a new menstrual cycle. At this time, the lining that developed in the uterus during the luteal phase detaches and is excreted with the bleeding. This process is triggered by the fact that the concentration of progesterone and oestrogen hormones in the blood drops sharply because no pregnancy has occurred. Cravings, cramps and mood swings are unfortunately not uncommon!

Your body needs these nutrients

    • Omega 3 fatty acids
    • Vitamin A
    • Magnesium
    • Iron

Nutrition and lifestyle tips

Rest & Sleep: It is best to create a sleep routine to get about 8 hours of sleep every night- especially during the menstrual phase. This is the phase known as “breakdown and recovery”, where your body needs to be supported with plenty of rest and sleep. Having trouble falling asleep? Then check out how you can improve your sleep!

Greens: These contain important micronutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium, iron and amino acids, which replenish nutrient reserves and provide energy.

 

Sam recommends

Your Superfoods Superfood Mix Single Mix Super Green

Eating powerful nutrient-rich greens is made easy with this mix including wheatgrass, the microalgae spirulina and chlorella.

 

 

 

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Your Superfoods EU Super Single Mix Moon Balance

Contains iron from beetroot, which promotes the formation of red blood cells. This mix is also rich in vitamin C from hibiscus and calcium from maca, which has an adaptogenic effect on the nervous system.

 

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Follicular phase (day 6 to day 12)

Illustration Follicular Phase

What happens in your body

The follicle-stimulating hormone FSH plays a crucial role in this phase. It stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovaries, which increases the level of oestrogen in the blood and releases the good mood hormones dopamine and serotonin. There is usually one egg cell in each follicle. During this phase, one follicle wins out over the others because of its size advantage and the egg continues to mature until it is ready to ovulate. During this phase of the cycle you feel full of energy and creativity!

Your body needs these nutrients

    • Potassium
    • Proteins
    • Carbohydrates

Nutrition and lifestyle tips

Eat enough protein: Make sure you include full sources of protein in your main meals. Protein is important to stimulate and support cell growth. Complete proteins are made up of 9 essential amino acids found in a variety of plant foods.

Smart timing: Want long-lasting energy through the lunch slump? An optimal amount of protein in your meal, e.g. in your lunch, supports your feeling of satiety and provides you with energy for 4 or more hours after eating. No time for elaborate cooking? A protein shake or smoothie will do the trick.

 

Sam recommends

Your Superfoods Superfood Mix Single Mix Super Green

The perfect skin food blend: the combination of moisturising skin foods such as aloe vera, pea protein and real vanilla make this superfood mix an optimally creamy addition to lattes, desserts, porridge and smoothies. By the way: the mix is rich in vitamin C which stimulates the body’s natural collagen production!

 

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Your Superfoods EU Super Single Mix Moon Balance

Easily digestible, plant-based protein from pea and rice. Contains all amino acids and has a mellow sweetness from banana. Suitable for post-workout shakes as well as snacks and baking!

 

 

 

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Ovulation phase (day 13 to day 18)

Illustration Ovulation

What happens in your body

The hormone LH is now triggering ovulation. The egg bursts out of the follicle and makes its way from the ovary into the outer part of the fallopian tube. There, the egg is fertile for 8 to 18 hours. If fertilisation does not occur during this time, it dissolves completely. Due to the strong release of oestrogen hormones, you feel invincible and full of energy during this phase!

Your body needs these nutrients

    • Dietary fibre
    • Calcium
    • Antioxidants

Nutrition and lifestyle tips

Be active: Ovulation is associated with a rush of hormones that is best used for daytime activities. This phase can last about 3-6 days. During this time, you will feel in a particularly good mood and more energetic than usual. Schedule active breaks every 90 minutes during the workday by taking a walk or dancing around the house.

Be social: These days are great for meeting your friends!

Savoury > sweet: Avoid sweet snack traps and munch on hearty treats to avoid a spike in blood sugar.

 

Sam recommends

Your Superfoods Superfood Mix Single Mix Super Green

This plant-based protein powder supports the muscles during active days. It is perfect for hearty, healthy and filling snacks thanks to an extra portion of greens! The valuable blend with moringa, the shoot alfalfa and the microalgae spirulina is full of vitamins and antioxidants.

 

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Your Superfoods EU Super Single Mix Moon Balance

Even without caffeine, you'll feel strong and full of energy. So replace your morning cup of coffee with a delicious Super Brew Latte - similar flavour, 75% less caffeine! The combination of roasted lupine and black tea boosts digestion and brain activity at the same time: enjoy clean focus all day long.

 

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Luteal phase (day 19 to day 28)

Illustration Luteal Phase

What happens in your body

The follicular envelope closes after ovulation and forms the corpus luteum. This in turn produces the hormone progesterone, which is responsible for turning the uterus into a nutrient-rich nesting place. If a fertilised egg does not visit, the lining of the uterus detaches and a new cycle begins. Your energy level drops and you feel more sensitive, low energy and unrested. So take it down a notch and enjoy some me-time! These relax tips by a yoga teacher can help.

Your body needs these nutrients

    • Omega 3
    • Vitamin B
    • Calcium

Nutrition and lifestyle tips

Beware of cravings: Your body will compensate for lack of energy and imbalance with sweet cravings. Go for healthy alternatives and snacks like Bliss Balls, easy to prepare ahead of time!

Manage stress: Emotionally, you are more sensitive and feel overwhelmed by stress. Get support from Mother Nature: a glass of soothing cocoa in the afternoon with precious functional mushrooms and ashwagandha will calm the nervous system and promote stress resilience.

No midnight snacks: Low-carbohydrate dinners prevent a night-time snack attack that keeps you awake and spikes blood sugar! Another sleep hack: it's best to go to bed before 11pm.

 

Sam recommends

Your Superfoods Superfood Mix Single Mix Super Green

Your whole day feels like a slump? Don't reach for coffee now, because it drives energy levels down as fast as it drives them up and promotes inner restlessness and nervousness. For more sustained energy and concentration, have some Energy Bomb in a latte or a smoothie. Guarana and maca provide natural energy - without the caffeine crash - while banana and lucuma provide extra sweetness and vitamins.

 

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Your Superfoods EU Super Single Mix Moon Balance

The high-quality blend of premium cocoa powder, functional mushrooms and ashwagandha promotes inner balance, calms the nerves and satisfies your craving for sweets in a natural and healthy way. Simply enjoy as hot chocolate or mix into desserts for carefree chocolate pleasure.

 

 

 

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Last but not least

This is not about controlling your body or achieving any level of perfectionism. Listen to your body, be sensitive and patient with yourself and pamper it at every stage. You got this!

Sources:

 

Draper CF, Duisters K, Weger B, Chakrabarti A, Harms AC, Brennan L, Hankemeier T, Goulet L, Konz T, Martin FP, Moco S, van der Greef J. Menstrual cycle rhythmicity: metabolic patterns in healthy women. Sci Rep. 2018 Oct 1;8(1):14568. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-32647-0. Erratum in: Sci Rep. 2019 Apr 3;9(1):5797. PMID: 30275458; PMCID: PMC6167362. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6167362/

 

McNeil J, Cameron JD, Finlayson G, Blundell JE, Doucet E. Greater overall olfactory performance, explicit wanting for high fat foods and lipid intake during the mid-luteal phase of the menstrual cycle. Physiology & behavior. 2013;112-113:84–89. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.02.008. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

 

Baker FC, Driver HS. Circadian rhythms, sleep, and the menstrual cycle. Sleep Med. 2007;8:613–622. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2006.09.011. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

 

Allen AM, et al. Determining menstrual phase in human biobehavioral research: A review with recommendations. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2016;24:1–11. doi: 10.1037/pha0000057. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

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