Nutrition for your cycle
Just as we know that training volume and load are very important and our capacity fluctuates during our hormonal cycle, so does our bodies' requirement for nutritional protocols to help support balanced hormone production and to help us feel and perform at our best.
Of course, we want to fuel our best all the time. Some basic principles we can implement all month long could look like working to Maintain a healthy and balanced diet can be beneficial in supporting women's hormone balance. Here are some nutritional protocols that can be helpful:
Consume a diet rich in whole foods: Eating whole, unprocessed foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds can provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and fiber that support hormone balance.
Include healthy fats in your diet: Healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in plant-based fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts can help support hormone production.
Increase intake of cruciferous vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts contain compounds that support liver function, which helps to metabolize and eliminate excess estrogen.
Balance carbohydrate intake: Consuming complex carbohydrates, like those found in whole grains, can help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, which can help support hormone balance.
Avoid processed foods and added sugars: Processed foods and added sugars can disrupt hormone balance and lead to inflammation and other health issues.
Manage stress: High levels of stress can disrupt hormone balance. Engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or regular exercise can help support hormone balance.
Consult a healthcare professional: If you're struggling with hormone imbalance, it's important to consult a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and treatment options. You can message our Hormone Specialist here (plug kelly’s email ; email@example.com)
During the first 2 weeks of our cycle Estrogen is higher. There are foods we can use that help the body to promote Estrogen.
Soy products: Soybeans and soy-based products like tofu and tempeh contain phytoestrogens, plant compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Buuuttt… they would have to be consumed in an incredibly large amount, more than 8 servings per day, to actually have an effect on our actual hormone levels. -Think about it, if soy had the huge Estorgen boosting capacity that the media and some DRS claim, all vegan women would have huge breasts, and men would be growing them as well.
Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds contain lignans, which are phytoestrogens that can help boost estrogen levels in the body.
Fruits: Fruits like strawberries, peaches, and oranges contain compounds that can help increase estrogen production.
Vegetables: Vegetables like carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes contain compounds that can help support estrogen production.
Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds like almonds, sesame seeds, and walnuts contain compounds that can help support estrogen production.
Carbohydrate intake during the follicular phase (the first half of the menstrual cycle, leading up to ovulation) can be important for supporting hormone balance and energy levels. Some find it useful to up carbs for these two weeks and decrease fat a bit.
During the follicular phase, estrogen levels are rising, and the body is preparing for ovulation. Carbohydrates provide the body with glucose, which is the primary source of energy for the body and the brain.
Complex carbohydrates like those found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can provide sustained energy throughout the day, while also providing important vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It's important to avoid simple carbohydrates and refined sugars, which can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, leading to energy fluctuations and mood swings.
However, something to note, we can have TOO much estrogen or even just too much estrogen in relation to our other hormone levels. And if that the case, we then have Estrogen Dominace. And if we have that, then we don’t necessarily want or need to implement protols to support estrogen as our body is doing that just fine. So then what are some things we can do to support Progesterone during the second half of our cycle? There are some foods that can help support progesterone production in the body. Here are some examples:
Foods rich in vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is important for progesterone production. Foods rich in vitamin B6 include bananas, chickpeas, potatoes.
Foods rich in zinc: Zinc is an important mineral for hormone production. Some foods rich in zinc are fortified cereals and pumpkin seeds.
Leafy green vegetables: Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol that helps to support progesterone production.
Foods rich in magnesium: Magnesium is important for hormone production and can be found in foods like almonds, avocados, and dark chocolate.
Foods high in healthy fats: Healthy fats like those found in olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds can help support progesterone production.
During the luteal phase (the second half of the menstrual cycle, after ovulation), fat intake can be important for supporting hormone balance and overall health. Some find it helpful to decrease carbs a bit and increase fat a bit for these 2 weeks.
During the luteal phase, progesterone levels increase, which can lead to increased appetite and cravings for high-fat foods. Consuming healthy fats during this phase can help to satisfy cravings while also providing important nutrients and supporting hormone balance.
Healthy fats like those found in avocado, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate can help support progesterone production and may also help to reduce inflammation in the body. It's important to avoid unhealthy fats like those found in processed foods and fried foods, which can contribute to inflammation and other health issues.
During the luteal phase, progesterone levels increase, which can lead to increased production of cortisol, the hormone that regulates the body's stress response. Cortisol levels tend to be higher in the luteal phase compared to the follicular phase.
So this is NOT the time to skip breakfast before the gym, or implement any type of fasting as that will further increase cortisol levels.
I hope you found this guide useful! I’ve tried to really just stick to nutrition in this guide. For some info on how to best use your cycle for better performance in the gym check out Coach Stina's guide on training for your cycle.