The duration of the average cycle is 28 days. Of course, deviations of several days are acceptable: some women live perfectly with a long cycle, the duration of which is 30-31 days. Others live less well with a short cycle, such as 24 days. But these are variations of the norm.
The classic menstrual cycle is a series of hormonal changes associated with the fact that a new egg matures in the body, ready for fertilization. If it does not occur, menstruation occurs.
The first week of the cycle is the menstrual phase. The signs are familiar to you: spotting of varying degrees of profusion, which may also be accompanied by pain, abdominal cramps, mood swings — all this is also characteristic of the earlier, premenstrual phase. What should I eat during menstruation? First of all — foods rich in iron. They will compensate for the losses that the body bears during menstruation. Include meat, liver, seafood, leafy vegetables in your diet.
“We get resources in the form of nutrients from food, so a balanced diet is very important for the normal functioning of all body systems. If the female body does not have enough iron and vitamins of groups B and D, there are problems with the cycle. So, as a result of scientific research, it has been proven that vitamin D deficiency leads to an increase in the duration of the cycle, and due to a lack of iron, there are scanty or, conversely, too heavy menstruation, ”adds Ksenia Chernayacertified nutritionist and healthy lifestyle coach, member of the Russian Union of Nutritionists, Nutritionists and Food Industry Specialists, founder of the Pro-Zdorovye online school.
It will be useful to eat foods rich in antioxidants during menstruation. The easiest way to enrich your diet with them is to add spices, such as turmeric, to your food. Antioxidants will help to cope with menstrual cramps, which means that this phase of the cycle will be easier.
Follicular phase and ovulation
Menstruation ends, and the body begins to prepare for the next important stage — ovulation. This process is accompanied by increased production of estrogen, the concentration of these hormones in the body increases.
The depressed mood goes away, there is more strength and energy, in general, life is getting better. What about food? If you are interested in pregnancy, then it is important that the eggs mature properly. Iodine and zinc will help them with this. Foods rich in iodine are a variety of seafood: sea salt, seafood, algae. We obviously don’t eat enough of them, and therefore it will be useful for many to introduce foods with iodine into the diet. Zinc is found in legumes, red meat, and poultry.
What else can affect ovulation, cycle and health during this phase?
“It is important to keep your liver healthy. The liver synthesizes 70% of all cholesterol in our body. This is a very important substance that is responsible for the production of steroid hormones, including the stress hormone cortisol. It occurs in response to nervous tension and adapts the body to current living conditions. If you are in a serious stressful situation, your cycle may be disrupted or you may not ovulate. The reason lies in the fact that the entire supply of cholesterol goes to the formation of cortisol: the body sets the main task — to survive, and the continuation of the human race fades into the background. Active production of cortisol begins, and progesterone and estradiol are formed according to the residual principle. The result is hormonal failure and problems with the cycle. Proper nutrition will help alleviate the situation: by adding animal fats to the diet and excluding refined carbohydrates from it, which only exacerbate stress, you will be one step closer to normalizing the cycle, ”explains Ksenia Chernaya.
The next phase after ovulation is the luteal phase. During this period, the level of estrogen and progesterone begins to actively increase, and your appetite grows with them.
It is important here not to “be led” by the growing feeling of hunger and an increased desire to eat something tasty: eat balanced, dividing everything you eat per day into five or six meals. It is important here that the digestive system does not fail — constipation has not pleased anyone yet. A diet high in fiber can help reduce the chances of developing this problem. These are fibrous vegetables and fruits, such as broccoli, zucchini, apples, as well as whole grains, brown rice.
But simple — fast — carbohydrates, try to eat all those same cakes, cookies and other sweets in smaller quantities.
“Foods with a lot of sugar increase blood glucose levels, which leads to the activation of the pancreas. With the regular use of refined sugar and «fast» carbohydrates, the release of insulin occurs in huge quantities. Cells no longer perceive it adequately, and in order to normalize glucose levels, the pancreas produces even more insulin. Insulin resistance is formed, which is accompanied by a high level of this hormone in the blood.
Insulin is toxic to the ovaries and can cause polycystic disease. In addition, insulin raises testosterone levels, which leads to hormonal imbalances. This is often reflected in appearance: acne, papillomas, red dots on the body, hair above the lip, on the chest and limbs appear. In general, it is worth remembering that frequent snacks on sweets, eclairs, cakes with sweet coffee are directly related to hormone levels and can cause cycle disorders, ”says Ksenia Chernaya.
We seem to know more about the harbingers of menstruation than about all the other phases combined. This condition is often characterized by unpleasant symptoms: depressed mood, weight gain, swelling, headaches. The light is not nice, you constantly want to cry, then laugh, then a cake. Of course, hormones are to blame for all this — all the same estrogens and progesterone. PMS (premenstrual syndrome) can become less pronounced if you pay attention to your diet in a timely manner. It is important that the diet has enough magnesium (it is found in legumes, leafy vegetables, dark chocolate), potassium (bananas, avocados, broccoli will help here), as well as vitamin B6 (pay attention to meat, liver, starchy vegetables).
“Indeed, normalizing the level of magnesium in the body helps to relieve premenstrual syndrome. Nervousness and irritability during PMS is a direct consequence of a lack of tryptophan and serotonin. Tryptophan requires vitamin B6 to be produced, and it is only active in the presence of magnesium. When taking it, mood and condition improve, ”adds Ksenia Chernaya.
But eat less salt before menstruation — so the chance of edema formation due to fluid retention will decrease.