• Dr. Ray

Nourishing Foods for Menses Health

This article is sponsored by our brand partner, Rae Wellness Supplements.


Sometimes menses cycles get a bad rap because of the various inconvenient symptoms a person can experience throughout the month. What if I told you it may not be your menses that is a problem, but rather, what you’re eating?



In this article, we share some of the best foods to eat during your cycle so you feel well-nourished and balanced. It’s time to sync your diet with your cycle!


The menstrual cycle is divided into two main phases:


Follicular Phase: the first 14 days of your cycle, which includes menstruation (aka Period) and ovulation (egg releases from ovary).


Luteal Phase: the second half of your cycle, which secretes hormones to either prepare your body for pregnancy or start a new menses.


During these two phases, your body experiences a rise and fall of different hormones, which can affect how you feel and cause various changes in your body.


For nourishment during the follicular phase, eat foods with phytoestrogens (plant-compounds similar to estrogen), high protein and fiber, and that are anti-inflammatory to support you during your period and fertile window.


For nourishment during your luteal phase, consume more phytoprogestins (plant-compounds similar to progesterone), omega-3s, and fiber-rich foods to support progesterone production and reduce PMS symptoms.


Below, we review Dr. Ray’s recommended foods for each phase of your cycle so you can feel your best all month long:

Menstruation Phase:


- For pain-relief: fresh ginger in food, mild-use of cayenne pepper, red raspberry leaf tea, cacao powder, turmeric, and garlic.


- For low appetite or nausea: veggie broths, light soups/stews with beans and veggies, and ginger or lemon tea.

- For bloating: whole-plant dandelion tea, chamomile tea; eat celery, cucumber and fennel or drink them as organic cold-pressed juices.


- For low energy or anemia: grass-fed + finished red meat, vegan protein shakes, pasture-raised eggs, lightly- steamed dark leafy greens (i.e. kale, chard, collards), and alfalfa sprouts.



Fertile Window & Ovulatory Phase:


- Black beans for antioxidants and inositol.


- Whole grains including oats, bran, and millet for fiber.


- Wild-caught fatty fish + seafood for omega-3 acids.


- Seaweed/kelp for iodine.


- More organic leafy greens and cruciferous veggies (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli sprouts, etc.) for extra folate.


Other Follicular Phase Foods:


- Ground flax and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, Brazil nuts.


- Peaches, berries, dates, apricots, prunes, raisins, and currants.


- Non-GMO organic soybeans (i.e. tofu, tempeh), white lupini/lupin beans, fava beans (be careful eating fava if you have G6PD).


Luteal Phase Foods for Progesterone Balance:


- Organic sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and evening primrose oil.


- Organic lean poultry, chickpeas, and lentils.


- Organic watercress, kale, mustard greens, watermelon, kiwi, carrots, oranges, parsley, cilantro, bell peppers, yams, and squash.



Pro Tips:

• Try Rae Wellness Rebalance for extra support throughout menses cycle.

Limit caffeine and processed foods to help reduce cravings, cramping and PMS.

If many of these foods are new to you, pick two foods for each phase to try and see how you feel.





References:


Greco, S., Pellegrino, P., Zannotti, A., Delli Carpini, G., Ciavattini, A., Reis, F. M., & Ciarmela, P. (2021). Phytoprogestins: Unexplored Food Compounds with Potential Preventive and Therapeutic Effects in Female Diseases. Nutrients, 13(12), 4326. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13124326


11 Foods High in Phytoestrogens - https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-with-estrogen#TOC_TITLE_HDR_4


Goh, Y. X., Jalil, J., Lam, K. W., Husain, K., & Premakumar, C. M. (2022). Genistein: A Review on its Anti-Inflammatory Properties. Frontiers in pharmacology, 13, 820969. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.820969


Liggins, J., Bluck, L. J., Runswick, S., Atkinson, C., Coward, W. A., & Bingham, S. A. (2000). Daidzein and genistein contents of vegetables. The British journal of nutrition, 84(5), 717–725.

Liggins, J., Bluck, L. J., Runswick, S., Atkinson, C., Coward, W. A., & Bingham, S. A. (2000). Daidzein and genistein content of fruits and nuts. The Journal of nutritional biochemistry, 11(6), 326–331. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0955-2863(00)00085-1