Feed Your Flow: Eating For a Healthy Period
The body craves certain foods at different periods of time. In the Spring, for example, we usually crave something fresh and light. Whereas in the fall we’re wanting something warm and hearty. The menstrual cycle behaves in a similar way – during each phase, certain foods nourish our body and correspond to a specific energetic state. Eating for a healthy period is not about following a strict diet, it’s about incorporating foods that will nourish your cycle and body and help maintain this fifth vital sign.
1. Menstruation & Yin
As we are menstruating, our endometrium is starting to grow again, and follicles are beginning to mature. Clearly, there is a lot going on during this time. This is the perfect opportunity for us to take a break, conserve our energy and let our body do it’s job.
Yin acts as the ‘water’ of our body – it helps to lubricate and fuel our processes. It’s easy for us to become depleted in yin as depletion often occurs when our body is running on empty (sound familiar?). Our body begins to overheat and dry up because the yin (water) is not there.
Foods that help tonify yin
- Sweet potato
*Foods that tonify yin are often cool and sweet
2. Pre-ovulation & Blood
As the blood flow ends, our follicles are continuing to mature until ovulation occurs, and the endometrium continues to grow. This is the perfect time to build the blood, which is another yin substance (after all, blood plasma is about 92% water!). When we menstruate, the chong vessel (one of the body’s meridians) empties – therefore it needs to be filled in time for the next menstrual period.
Foods that help build blood
- Collard greens
- BONUS: Red fruits and veggies
3. Ovulation & Qi
It’s go time! The egg is is ready to be fertilized by sperm. But before it makes its way to the one of the fallopian tubes, the egg needs to exit the follicle and leave the ovary. Smooth, unobstructed movement is crucial during this time. Qi stagnation can cause obstruction of movement, and may occur due to many factors including stress!
Foods that help move qi
- Sweet potato
*Foods that help move the qi are often sweet and warming
4. Pre-Menstruation & Yang
Last but not least, these are the days right before your period. At this time, hormonal levels are beginning to decline (if the egg has not been fertilized by sperm), and your body is getting ready to shed its endometrial layer. Yang is prominent during this time of the cycle as the body is keeping itself warm to nurture an embryo – after all all the processes of life require heat!
Foods that help tonify yang
* Foods that help tonify yang are often sweet, pungent and warming.
Many of my treatment plans focus on diet and lifestyle changes to help support a woman’s body during her menstrual cycle. Not everyone wants to take supplements day in and day out, but we all need to eat!
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