fbpx

Menstrual Cycle and Nutrition: Aligning Nutrition To Your Menstrual Cycle – Part 1
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Explore key nutritional considerations for menstruation

Woman eating while menstruating

When your period arrives, it truly can be a challenging time. Nutrition and other lifestyle changes can support you having a smoother menstrual phase. Here are some tips to ponder about.

After reading this blog post, check out part 2 all about supplements for menstruation and other helpful lifestyle changes.

What is a normal menstrual cycle?  

Before we dive into tips, it is smart to review what is a normal menstrual cycle.  

Dr Sarah Clouthier, an integrative medicine doctor, defines a normal menstruation as:  

  • Regularity:  Cycles between 24 and 35 days, that do not vary more than 6 days from month to month.  
  • Duration: bleeding 3-7 days per month.  
  • Flow: soaking 6 or less pads/tampons per day.  

Dr. Sarah Clouthier also emphasizes that consistent changes in mood and ongoing pain are not part of a normal cycle. Mood changes can include depressive episodes, anxiety, and irritability, especially perceived a few days before the menstrual cycle. Pain requiring medication or pain in between periods or during sexual intercourse needs further medical attention.  

How can food and nutrition help regulate the menstrual cycle?  

For the whole month, aim for a balanced diet. Malnutrition can deeply affect hormone balance and result in unwanted menstrual symptoms. 

Try the Mediterranean diet! It consists of whole grains high in fiber, lots of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil, and lean proteins mostly from seafood, dairy and poultry.  This way of eating can support overall health and diminish menstrual concerns due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods.  

 

During the menstrual phase:  

  1. Aim for healthy fats. Healthy fats are a precursor to hormone production. Minimizing fried foods is also important as these are associated with digestive concerns which are more prominent during the menstrual phase like bloating, cramping and constipation.

    Foods high in healthy fats include vegetable oils (olive, canola, sunflower, soy, and corn), nuts, seeds, and fish.
  2. Aim for low sodium (salt). Overconsumption of sodium will result in water retention, a common complaint during the premenstrual and menstrual period.  
  3. Minimize alcohol and caffeine consumption during menstruation. Excess of these substances can aggravate uncomfortable GI and mood symptoms.   
  4. Eat protein at every meal and have whole grains for blood sugar control. This will support management of sugar cravings, which will in turn aid with mood imbalances during the period.  
  5. Avoid heavy meals that are difficult to digest. Instead aim for probiotics and prebiotics to support healthy microflora, such as fermented foods including sourdough bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, plain yogurt and kefir. Healthy microflora can improve absorption of key nutrients like B6 and magnesium that support healthy periods.  

Make a 5-month commitment to a healthier menstruation. Choose one of the dietary recommendations above and work at it for a month, the following month choose another one to work on. Track your findings and progress in a journal and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Learn more in part two of nutrition and menstrual cycle where I dive into supplements and other helpful lifestyle changes.

Interested in nutrition support to gain energy and feel your best? Learn more about our nutrition counselling services!

If you’re stuck with figuring out what, when, and how to eat, you’re not alone. Our registered dietitians offer nutrition counselling to help you reach your goals whether it’s increased energy, meal planning, health prevention, or gaining strategies to improve your relationship with food, we can help. 

Learn more about meal planning nutrition counselling or simply contact us below to find out more:

Check out these related posts on our blog:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in

  •  

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This