Guide to the Period Cycle
As women we are cursed with the monthly visit from our good friend, mother nature. I don't know of anyone that looks forward to having their period. It's a time of moodiness, crazy emotions, and we become more prone to bloating and fatigue. There are actually distinct phases that we go trough on the way to having our period and understanding these phases can help you have a healthier and happier period!
Phase 1: Menstruation (Days 1-5)
The first day of your period is also the first day of your cycle. This is the start of the cycle and this is the time when the uterine lining sheds. During the next five days you may experience cramping and other unpleasant side effects. One of these side effects is back pain and applying warm towel of a icy hot patch to alleviate the pain. Here are tips to help you have a happier period:
Diet: With the blood lose you will also be losing iron and it's important to replenish this by eating red meat, asparagus, spinach, strawberries, tomatos, and citrus. Also stay hydrated. It is a myth that water is what causes the unpleasant bloating feeling you may experience during your period. Drinking enough water will help alleviate bloating and speed up your digestion.
Exercise: During this sensitive time it would be beneficial that you stay away from instance workouts. Try something more gentle like yoga or walking. Workouts like this can help to boost your mood and soothe the pain.
Sleep: Periods can cause insomnia and hormonal changes in your body can cause it to feel hot which can make it difficult to go and stay asleep. Cramps can also cause disturbances in your sleep. Keep your bedroom cool and try to go to sleep a little earlier.
PRO TIP: Have a happy period by using 100% organic tampons, pads, and feminine hygiene products! Check it out!
Bonus: Anti-Bloating Foods
Having bloating problems? Here are the bests food you can eat to help you feel less bloated!
- Herbal Tea
Related: Amazing Health Benefits of Flaxseed
Phase 2: Follicular (Days 1-13)
This phase actually starts the same day as your period but it lasts longer. In this phase the uterine lining thickens.
Diet: In this phase the production of hormones increases and you should eat foods that support this process. Good food options include nuts, seeds, avocado, wild salmon, spinach and broccoli.
Exercise: In this phase your estrogen levels are elevated. Because of this you will most likely experience an increase in energy. While you may be eager to get up and go make sure you take the time to stretch to help prevent injuries.
Sleep: During this time your hormone levels and body temperature should go back to normal and you shouldn't have any trouble falling and staying asleep.
Phase 3: Ovulation (Day 14)
This is the day that the ovaries produce an egg.
Diet: On this day estrogen levels will sharply decrease. To balance this you should eat foods that are estrogen rich. Perfect options are dried fruit, flaxseed, and beans.
Exercise: During this time it is fine to preform any sort of workout but you may feel slightly out of balance. For this reason it is important to be careful when working out.
Sleep: Because you will be low in estrogen you may feel more tired and you should allow yourself time for naps.
Phase 4: Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)
The last phase in the cycle is the luteal phase and this is when the uterine lining continues to thicken before shedding. Go easy on yourself and try to stay away from stress. This period of time can make you more sensitive to stress which can put you at risk of compromising your immune system and catching a cold.
Diet: Hormone changes will have you craving high energy (high calorie) foods. While you may be craving a pint of ice cream try to aim at getting healthy fats like avocado, nuts, fish, and lean protein. Peppermint tea is also a great option during these time as it has been shown to curb the appetite.
Exercise: Hormonal changes can cause your body temperature to increase which can make it hard to workout for long periods of time. Instead try to focus on shorter workouts like HIIT workouts.
Sleep: During the fist part of this phase you may experience sleepiness and longer REM cycles. During the last three or so days of the cycle hormonal changes can cause disrupted sleep patterns.