Menstrual cycles make all the women conscious about their sleeping positions. But this is not where you have to focus more on. You must be mindful and well focused with your diet and sleeping habits. We must start with a diet for the menstrual cycle and there is a lot of care that you must show for yourself.
Your pre and post diet of the menstrual cycle keeps healthy and easy. If you are committing any mistakes with your diet during your periods, it results in inflammation, severe cramps and over or improper blood flow. These are the common complications that women face during menstrual cycle. Here we are making an attempt to correct your mistakes by saying what to eat during your menstrual cycle.
The menstrual cycle is classified into phases. You have the guidelines of the diet care and few other tips to stay healthy and happy through the periods time.
Diet For Each Menstrual Phase- What To Food to Take During The Cycle?
1. Menstrual Phase/Follicular phase (Day 1-12)
Many of us are not aware that the period time is a phase. The whole menstrual cycle starts with the menstrual phase. Generally, most of the women see this phase for 3 to 7 days. If the periods are longer than a week then it is abnormal or a sign of complication.
Follicular phase overlaps with the menstrual phase comes on the first day of periods. When a woman ovulates the follicular phase ends.
During this cycle, you may have the symptoms like cramps, pain in breast, bloating and often mood swings. A few women also suffer with back pain, body pains and fatigue and headaches.
So you can reduce the effects of the menstrual phase with healthy habits. Exercise and diet habits can help you see less of these symptoms. Lets see what food you need to eat during this phase-
Iron rich food
During this phase of the menstrual cycle, you need to consume more foods which contain iron. Women lose blood during periods and a few see over bleeding. So, you must compensate for the blood loss by taking iron. Otherwise this causes anemia which is the case for many women today.
Anyways, your body requires more iron during the menstrual phase. It will be able to absorb more blood. Remember that low levels of iron consumption can cause complications in the long term.
Women lose a pint of blood during the phase for which you need to take 220-250mg iron intake.
To gain iron, you must eat tofu, beans, grains, fish.
If you are eating iron oriented food then it’s not the healthy diet. Iron can only do the job if you add vitamin C to your diet. The antioxidant- vitamin C which helps absorbing iron that you consume through food.
Some of the foods that you must not miss to grab vitamin C are- lime, bell peppers, tomatoes. You have plenty of citrus fruits like guava, kiwi and strawberries consisting of vitamin C.
Say no to caffeine
It is important to decaf completely during the menstrual phase. As you are on a mindful diet like taking vitamin C and iron, it is a must to avoid caffeine. Caffeine affects the absorption of iron which is like a disruption of your healthy diet during the phase.
During periods, stay away from coffee and other caffeine drinks like cold coffees, milk shakes.
Avoid fatty foods
If you suffer with cramps in the menstrual phase then it could be a cause of fatty foods. The fatty foods increase the contraction of the uterus. As there is active contraction of the uterus it results in cramps during periods.
You can replace coffee and other caffeine drinks with herbal teas. The anti-inflammatory properties in the herbs prevent infections during periods. It keeps you away from inflammation pose periods. Another benefit of having herbal teas is soothing cramps that are problematic for many.
2. Ovulation phase (Day 14-16)
Ovulation phase is the shortest of all in the whole menstrual cycle. It lasts for 1-2 days of duration. If your cycle is of 28 days, then the phase falls on 14 day of menstrual cycle. During this phase, the egg is released from the ovary to the uterus traveling through the fallopian tube. After reaching the uterus, the egg waits for fertilization.
The mid of your cycle exactly is the ovulation phase- the 14th day which probably lasts for 24 hours or more. After a day, the egg will die or dissolve when it fails to fertilize. This phase becomes active when the responsible hormones increase. The hormones estrogen, testosterone, follicle and luteinizing hormone promote ovulation. When the hormones are imbalanced or at level, it causes PCOS in women.
During this short phase, you need to boost your energy and stay fit. There are the foods that you must cutoff and also add a few for betterment of the ovulation pre and post process-
The foods that you take must contain high fiber content. The low level of fibers reduces the estrogen levels which is the main cause of poor ovulation and fertility. Women who eat less fiber through their diet ovulate less compared to women who take fibers.
Low levels of estrogen is a cause for PCOS in women. So, keep a check on fiber intake to treat PCOS problems.
Some of the fibers that you can include in your diet is- oatmeal, whole grains, corn, barley, brown rice. Keep these foods in your diet chart during the ovulation phase.
Carbs in smaller quantities
You must not avoid carbs totally during ovulation. You need carbs for quick energy during the phase. When you feel you are short of energy during ovulation, then you can reach out to carbohydrates and proteins. In some cases, women don’t ovulate when they are on a low carb diet. So, be mindful before starting a low carb diet.
Every woman needs antioxidants which fight against the oxidative stress. One of the complications in menstrual cycle is oxidative stress. It is a factor that affects the egg and sperms. Ovulation process negatively affects stress.
If you are looking for the foods to make your diet antioxidant rich during the ovulation phase then look out for these- spinach and other green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans. Also include almonds, walnuts and raisins to your smoothies and healthy drinks.
3. Luteal Phase- (Day 17-28)
Luteal phase lasts for 11-17 days. During this phase, there will be a raise in progesterone hormone. The raise of this hormone shows the periods symptoms like mood swings, irritability and bloating. During this phase, you may crave for calorie filled foods and there will also be an increase in appetite.
During this phase, we advise an important diet tip- have smaller meals in a day. You can eat for every 2-3 hours as it is in less quantities. Also prefer only light food. As there would be a high level of progesterone hormone during the luteal phase, it becomes difficult for digestion. This is the reason women complain about the digestive problems like constipation and bloating.
Other changes that you see during luteal phase are- sleeplessness, weight gain, breast swelling, food cravings and sexual desires.
Avoid carbonated drinks
You must avoid drinking carbonated foods during the luteal phase.The soft drinks and cool drinks that are ariated can make you feel comfortable. Also keep the sugar cravings low as much as possible to avoid fluid retention.
Avoid high sodium foods
You must substitute sodium content foods to avoid water retention during this phase. In case, your meal is filled with salts then add water content veggies and fruits like watermelon, cucumber, citrus fruits.
Soluble fiber foods
To stay away from sugar cravings and you must stay full with healthy foods. We suggest you to have fiber rich foods which keep you full and also boosts your energy in a day during the luteal phase.
Some of the foods that contain fiber are nuts and grains. Also count on these foods- cereals, berries, flaxseeds.
Potassium rich foods
Potassium is for instant energy from a few food sources. Taking potassium foods you can avoid salts or take as a substitute of salts or sugars. It is to avoid sodium high sodium levels or to balance it.
Have bananas and sweet potatoes in your diet during the luteal phase which are easily available. You can eat dates, dried fruits and green peas to intake your dose of potassium in a day.
Takeaway: All you must do is consume more healthy foods and include less junk in your diet. Remember to shuffle the handful of good foods according to the phases throughout the menstrual cycle. You need not completely stop your craving forcefully with high efforts. Just make sure you balance your diet with suitable and system comforting foods. We have explained how each category of diet affects your menstrual cycle. Now stay on a proper diet during every phase which prepares you for the next healthy menstrual cycle.
Stay natural and healthy!