Food that is important during your periods!

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Research from the University of Copenhagen  has found that tailoring your diet, sleep pattern and Exercise regimes to what stage you are in your menstrual cycle cannot only help symptoms that occur throughout the month but even help you to loose weight. We asked women’s health and hormone expert, Dr. Sohere Roked, what you should be eating when, how much sleep you should be getting and what type of exercise you should be doing according to each week of your cycle. Below she reveals how altering your lifestyle just a bit could be the key to getting control back and balancing those pesky hormones once and for all.

What to eat for your cycle.

1. Days 1-5: MENSTRUATION

During menstruation the majority of women feel relief from the bloating and mood changes the week before. However, during your period a lot of women can feel tired, more lethargic than usual due to the cramps and heavy blood flow. During this time women need plenty of iron rich foods, vitamin C and B. Calcium is also recommended.

It’s important to listen to the body and do gentle exercise such as walking and yoga, rather than pushing yourself too hard.

Iron rich foods: dark leafy greens, red meat, beans, pulses

Vitamin C: oranges, red and green peppers, pineapple, strawberries, chilli peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, mango.

B vitamins: eggs or whole grains, almonds, chicken, beef, salmon, asparagus.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: porridgmade with either milk or a milk substitute like almond milk or biolive natural yoghurt with berries mixed nuts and seeds and desiccated coconut.

Lunch: chickpeas and kidney beans, sautéed in passata with spinach and peppers.

Dinner: stir fried beef, chicken or prawns with broccoli and mixed peppers

Snacks: boiled egg with half an avocado, seasoned with chili pepper and garlic or natural yoghurt with almonds, strawberries and mango.

Days 5-13: FOLLICULAR PHASE

This is when there is a rise in oestrogen in the body to prepare for ovulation. There is often an increase in energy and libido.

It is best to maximise on having more energy at this time in the month, and the foods eaten should support the body in this, such as protein rich foods and foods high in B vitamins. Your appetite is normally higher at this time of the month too.

Protein rich: Eggs, yoghurt, fish and seafood, soya, pistachio nuts, chicken and turkey.

B vitamins: eggs or whole grains , almonds, chicken, beef, salmon, asparagus.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with avocado or smoked salmon.

Lunch: chopped salad – lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, eggs, chicken and beetroot with a lemon vinaigrette dressing.

Dinner: beef with sweet potato and mixed vegetables.

Snacks: nuts and seeds.

Days 14-16: OVULATION PHASE

This can happen anytime from day 12-16 of your cycle.

Oestrogen peaks at this time, and a woman often feels at her peak energy, mood and sex drive. It is often your most vibrant time of the month, so maximise on it! As well as physically feeling good, emotionally it can be a good time to make decisions and try new things.

The body needs zinc which is important for cell division, regardless of whether you’re trying to conceive or not.

Zinc: Spinach, Beef, Kidney beans, flax seeds, pumpkins seeds, oysters.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: avocado on toast, poached eggs

Lunch: Salmon or tuna with a salad of romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, sweet peppers and pesto dressing.

Dinner: Dhal with an aubergine or vegetable curry

Snacks: hummus and celery and carrot sticks.

Days 17-28: LUTEAL AND PREMENSTRUAL PHASE

During this phase, all hormone levels decline. PMS is caused by low progesterone levels and can cause cramps, headaches, bloating, pain, lethargy, low mood and hunger. Appetite normally increases and the body craves carbs and sweet foods. Instead of making unhealthy choices, try and make healthier choices that are filling but not sugar heavy.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: healthy nut butter (such as almond butter from Pip and Nut) on wholegrain toast with honey

Lunch: sweet potato with grilled chicken and salad

Dinner: brown rice with salmon and spinach and broccoli

Snacks: smoothie with milk or a milk substitute, honey, dates, and tahini or bananas with honey and natural yoghurt or raw chocolate or raw chocolate brownies

Dr Sohere Roked is a GP, women’s health and hormone expert at OMNIYA MediClinic and author of The Tiredness Cure.

 

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