Cycle syncing is a method used to adjust a woman's lifestyle habits such as nutrition and exercise routine to support each four phases of the menstrual cycle in order to support a woman's hormonal needs and to work in alignment their cycle.
Disclaimer: the following example is based on a generalization of a 28-day average cycle, however this will fluctuate and differ slightly between each person so the ‘typical days’ for each phase may be slightly longer or shorter for you.
Menstruation (Days 1-6) Due to the loss of blood through menstruation, it’s important to increase your intake of blood-building nutrients. Consuming warming/iron-rich foods such as slow cooked stews, bone broths, nuts, seeds, and legumes is important to replenish your iron stores. Consider including carminative herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger to support anti-inflammatory and antioxidant status. Reduce consumption of inflammatory foods/beverages to minimize inflammation, cramping and menstrual pain. Try swapping your coffee for a herbal tea or cacao for its magnesium content.
Minimizing or avoiding gluten and dairy products can be helpful too; opt for gluten-free/dairy-free options if needed. We tend to crave sweets and carby foods for an energy source or comfort. If this is the case for you, try dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate varieties; and complex carbohydrates such as sweet potato, whole grains and quinoa. This will maintain blood sugar levels and help to give you that source of energy you're after without the crash afterwards!
Follicular (Days 7-13) During your follicular phase, focus on liver detoxification support to encourage optimal metabolism/clearance of hormones to ensure they remain in balance. This means increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, rocket, bok choy, cauliflower, and silverbeet). Steaming these vegetables for a short period (less than 5 minutes) increases the amount of antioxidant content!
Avoid xenoestrogens as they tend to mimic our hormones. They're typically found in soft plastics, cleaning/beauty products, perfumes, room diffusers, air fresheners, and fragrances. Choosing natural/organic products (household/personal), reusable glass cups/tupperware containers, natural deodorants, and allowing fresh air to filter through the home helps to limit exposure to these endocrine disrupting chemicals!
Hydrate! The best and simplest way to support detoxification is to maintain adequate hydration levels. Aim for at least 2-3L of filtered water per day, and an additional 500ml-1L per hour of exercise (depending on intensity).
Ovulation (Days 14-21)
Whilst you’re feeling your best and most energized self, you may feel more inclined to enjoy more decadent flavours, and broad your cuisine options. Focus on nutrients that support hormonal health, ovulation and provide antioxidant support such as selenium, zinc, vitamin C and omega 3’s.
Selenium rich foods: Handful of brazil nuts, eggs, mushrooms, oats, tahini, seafood
Boost Zinc rich foods: Handful of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, oysters, shellfish, red meat, spinach, lentils, beans, eggs
Vitamin C rich foods: Broccoli, spinach, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, red capsicum, lemon, oranges, berries, papaya, guava.
Omega 3’s: Walnuts, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, seafood
Luteal (Days 22-28)
Avoid trans/saturated fats and pro-inflammatory foods/beverages (i.e. processed foods, excess sugar/sweets, sodium, alcohol, caffeine) as this is our premenstrual phase and where we typically see PMS symptoms occur (i.e. mood swings, cravings, headaches, fluid retention, bloating, fatigue/low energy). This can be a hard one to navigate as these are often the types of foods we crave premenstrually, however this may be an indication that your body is low or deficient in specific nutrients.
Working closely with a qualified Naturopath can support you through each phase of your menstrual cycle and educate you so you feel empowered. If you’re looking for further support with cycle syncing/women’s health, please contact Tayla via email firstname.lastname@example.org, Instagram @curawellness.co or book in for a naturopathic consultation.