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Menstrual Cycle

21 Aug 2015

Our menstrual cycle has been known to create havoc in our lives time & again. Just imagine if we can track our hormonal levels at specific times during a month & get a clear idea of how we can use it to our benefit!! Wouldn't that be great??

Here is the guide that shall help you plan your life more systematically around your cycle. I have also added foods that shall help you overcome the effects of these hormones on our general well-being.

This guide is pided into 4 weeks, each having its function & foods that will help us elevate our productivity


How long is a period cycle & what food to consume during the female menstrual cycle?

Week 1 day 1- 7

Week 1 begins with the start of your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels are high during this week. It will boost your energy, mood, optimism, & brain skill. This week you feel like spending time with people you like the most, they may be your friends or family. During this week you are more curious about the world, want to have fun, enjoy shopping & prefer to be out of the house & among others.


-Food Chart During Periods:

Complex Carbohydrates: Fruits, vegetables, & whole foods are your friends always, especially during menstruation. The fruit from sugar may help alleviate sugar cravings. Try adding apricots, oranges, plums, pears, cucumbers, corn, & carrots to your diet. Caffeine: Cutting back on caffeine intake can help reduce bloating & calm an irritable stomach. "Caffeine can increase stomach acid & be rough on sensitive intestines. If you want a rich-tasting coffee substitute, try a cup of tea.
Magnesium Rich: Foods rich in magnesium like beans, tofu & peanuts are thought to reduce bloating in menstruating women. Trans Fats: Packaged foods are your enemies when you’re menstruating. These food products contain trans fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, that cause inflammation in the body & excessive cramps while on periods.
Calcium-Rich Foods: In studies of college-aged women & nurses, women with the highest intakes of calcium & Vitamin D were less likely to develop PMS. The RDA of Calcium for women is 600mg/day, to get these amounts, aim for at least three servings of calcium-rich foods a day, such as low-fat milk, cheese, yoghurt, & leafy vegetables. It's difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone (salmon & fortified milk are good sources), but women can make up for the difference with a daily multivitamin or a supplement. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D. Excess dairy: Having too much dairy is not always a good idea. Dairy products like milk, cheese, & ice cream contain arachidonic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid), which can increase inflammation & can intensify your period pain.
Indulge In Dark Chocolate: Having a piece of dark chocolate (with 60 per cent or higher cacao bean) every day during your period will help soothe cravings. Plus, dark chocolate has helpful antioxidants & is linked to boosting serotonin, which can help improve your mood. Do not skip the water, Drinking more water will help your body release water retention & alleviate bloating. "Your body is retaining water because it's afraid of not getting enough. So, if you give the body what it needs (more water) it will release the water it's holding onto."


Week 2 day 8-14 

Estrogen & testosterone levels are high till their peak. During this stage, you are more optimistic & confident. Your memory becomes sharper & you start thinking faster. Also, you are more concerned about your appearance.

During this phase, your body wants to eat different foods & enjoy their flavours. You may be so active that you don't stop eating, so eat little & when you feel hungry but eat slowly & savour every delicious mouthful.


Week 3 day 15-22 

Progesterone levels are high compared to estrogen & testosterone. After half of the week again estrogen level rises. The first half of week 3 is the "pre-PMS" phase. In this phase, you will feel more sleepy, quiet, & less interested in social life. You are craving foods like sugar, fat, & salt. You will feel hungry & tend to overeat.

Avoid foods rich in fats, oil, sugar & salt to maintain your body, & don't overeat. Have lots of green vegetables, fruits, pulses chaat (chana chaat, sprouts chaat), dry bhel, & a piece of rajgira chikki to overcome your food craving & stay healthy.


Week 4 - final 6 days of your cycle

Estrogen levels are still low at this stage which leads to moodiness, muscle ache, fatigue, & a variety of other PMS-related symptoms. Symptoms may differ in the type & intensity of each individual & even from month to month. This often happens due to changes in diet, stress, medication, habit, etc.  This is the natural rest & restoration phase of the cycle, & if you don't rest you can experience less energy in the following phases. Try to change your activities to only doing the highest priorities.

Don't try to maintain your usual meal routines, follow what your body wants. Take time to eat slowly & savour the simple flavours.

Avoid using caffeine & see yourself through this phase. You may naturally wish to eat less or choose simpler foods, as your digestion takes a rest.



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