As women, our bodies fluctuate through periods of heightened internal labor, and growth. Our therapeutic hormones and bodily functions do a lot for us throughout this process, but there is much more we can do to help.
Here, we’ll learn of the medicinal foods that can aid us throughout our cycle.
Good food is great medicine.
By improving our diet in simple ways, we may initiate a new level of comfort within our cycle.
As a whole, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates are crucial. Fats act as an anti-inflammatory, and are found to aid our mental health. Proteins keep us moving and growing, and for menstruation (bleeding), it helps to replenish our energy, and can reduce pain. Carbohydrates greatly benefit brain function by eradicating fogginess and in turn, decreasing irritability and over-stimulation. They also increases energy levels, and may help to balance hormones!
These core food groups are extremely beneficial, both during ovulation (the process of the uterus preparing itself for a fertilized egg), and menstruation (the process of the uterus shedding). And even when we are in neither phase, we are either preparing for, or leaving one of these states, as our cycle can last from 21-35 days.
During this time, our nutrition and health is of the utmost importance. Here’s how to consciously incorporate these strongholds into your diet…
Fats play a vital role in stabilizing our energy, and mental clarity. They help us to stay alert and aware, while also improving memory function, and cognitive thinking. They also act as endocrine and inflammatory soothers, and aid in the rejuvinatize process of healing and building tissue. This process, especially during ovulation, must be nourished.
Great Sources of Fat:
- Nuts & nut butters
- Dark chocolate
- Oil (olive, avocado, and coconut)
Avocado is an amazing source of fat, as are olives and oils. Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are a wonderful source, as they are dense and packed full of amino acids. Dark chocolate is extremely therapeutic, as it is not only an anti-inflammatory, but a de-stressor! All that, and it’s great for you too.
Dietary protein is what ties it all together, as it itself is a regulatory hormone. Protein is the messenger of the body, delivering sustenance to our cells and in turn, providing us with energy. It also balances our pH levels, which is extremely beneficial to our personal maintenance, and health.
Great Sources of Protein:
- Greens (kale, broccoli, etc)
- Nuts & nut butters
Vegetables, grains, and legumes are especially great plant-based proteins. They’re nutrient rich and high in B vitamins, specifically ones that aid in mind/body balance, which is great during our cycle. Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are a wonderful source, as they are dense and packed full of amino acids. Tofu is not only high in protein, but in calcium and iron too. These two much needed vitamins play a vital role in the menstrual/ovulatory process.
Carbohydrates are essential for proper digestion and brain function. When digested, carbohydrates transform into glucose, a sugar that regulates our awareness, and orientation. Making sure that we balance our carbohydrate intake is especially beneficial during menstruation, as we may feel more tired than usual, or disoriented.
Great Sources of Carbohydrates:
- Whole grain breads
Oatmeal, quinoa, and rice are three wonderful foods. Not only are they easy to digest, but they’re hardy and keep you fuller, longer. Whole grain breads, dates, and fruit are wonderful sources of fiber, and quick to transform into energy. Potatoes are hydrating, low in sugar, and easy on our working digestive system. All in all, carbs are pretty great.
Staying hydrated is another simple way to alleviate symptoms and benefit your health.
- Non-Caffeinated Tea
Of course, water is at the top of the list. It’s healing, rejuvinatize properties are undeniable. Kombucha and non-caffeinated teas are great too, as they are herbal-based and act as anti-inflammatories, and pain-relievers.
What to Have in Moderation
Some food/drinks may worsen symptoms. Those high in stimulant sugars, hormones, and harsh ingredients may disrupt our natural healing process. Of course, these things are not bad, and should not be restricted. However, being conscious with your intake and having things in moderation will greatly benefit you, and your body.
What to Have in Moderation:
- Heavily processed foods
Caffeine and sugar are two of the more well known things to avoid, as they are stimulants and can cause energy crashes, migraines, and pain during digestion. Coffee itself is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels, which may cause the uterus to tighten, increasing cramping and pain. Sugar disrupts the natural flow of our blood sugar by causing it to rise and fall dramatically. This negatively impacts our mental clarity, and ability to focus. Sugars also cause inflammation and bloating, putting more pressure on our hard-working reproductive and digestive systems. Heavily processed foods should be monitored as well, as they are hard to digest and may cause further inflammation. And although fats and proteins are much needed, meat and dairy have been found to increase hormonal fluctuations, as well as worsening pain and cramps.
Be mindful, you deserve the best experience.
By being conscious of what you intake during your cycle, you may greatly improve your mental health, personal experience, and overall well-being. As stated before, our bodies do much for us, just as the food we eat does too. Maintaining a non-restrictive, balanced, and intuitive diet is one of the most healing acts a woman can commit to.
Nourish your body; it does so much for you.