The Menstrual Phase: Support Your Body with The Cycle Syncing Method®

This is the fourth blog post in a 4-part series on The Cycle Syncing Method®: micronutrient and botanical support for the four phases of the infradian rhythm, or hormonal cycle.

At Flo Living, our goal is to help women balance their hormones and resolve period problems with food, supplements, and lifestyle changes. We take a functional nutrition and systems medicine approach to achieving optimal hormone health. 

The first step for any woman* in balancing her hormones is learning about the 28-day hormone cycle, which is governed by a special biological rhythm called the infradian rhythm. The infradian rhythm plays a vital role in female health and wellness. Knowing what your body needs during each phase of your cycle is key not only to hormonal healing but to your health overall.

To learn more about the infradian rhythm, you can check out the in-depth post I wrote on the infradian rhythm here, and more about The Cycle Syncing Method® here. For a deep dive, grab a copy of my new book In The Flo, which is all about the unique rhythms of our 28-day hormone cycle, The Cycle Syncing Method®, and the specific supports we can offer our bodies during each phase. 

This is the fourth blog post in our four-part series on micronutrient and botanical support to help better support the infradian rhythm. To read In this post, we will explore supplement needs during the menstrual phase of the 28-day hormone cycle.

The 4-Phases of the Infradian Rhythm

graphThe infradian rhythm tracks with the menstrual cycle and has four distinct phases. They are:

  1. The follicular phase
  2. The ovulatory phase
  3. The luteal phase
  4. The menstrual phase

For women in their reproductive years, the key to optimal health is to eat, move, and supplement in ways that support each phase of the infradian rhythm. Our bodies require different types of self care during each phase.

The menstrual phase is the 3 to 7 days during your bleed. 

You can learn more about micronutrient needs in the first phase (follicular) of your cycle here, the second phase (ovulatory) here, and the third phase (luteal) here. In today’s post, we’re going to do a deep dive on micronutrient support for the menstrual phase. 

Meet the Menstrual Phase

When: The 3 to 7 days during your bleed.

What’s happening in your body: 

  • The corpus luteum gets reabsorbed by the body
  • Progesterone levels decline
  • Your uterus sheds the thick endometrial lining that it has built up in the luteal phase
  • Estrogen hits its lowest point just before your bleed

What’s happening in your brain:

The left (analytical) and right (feeling) hemispheres of your brain communicate the most during this time, which means it’s a great time to integrate how you feel about situations in your life and make decisions about how to proceed. This is an ideal time to reflect and journal. 

Food, Exercise, and Lifestyle Strategies for the Menstrual Phase

pexels polina tankilevitch 8539045To achieve optimal hormone health and to ease period problems like PMS, cramps, bloating, acne, heavy or irregular periods and missing periods, it requires a multipronged approach that includes food, movement, and lifestyle strategies implemented in a cyclical way. I encourage women to eat in a cyclical pattern, exercise in line with their cycle, and plan their schedules with their infradian rhythm in mind. 

During the menstrual phase, specifically, your hormone levels are at their lowest, so it’s important to eat adequate calories and focus on restorative workouts. Keep your workouts relaxed, even if you’re not feeling discomfort. It’s a time to take things slowly and prioritize rest. Gentle walking or very light yoga is perfect during this phase. Make sure to get plenty of protein and healthy fat during your bleed, which will help with hormone production. (Your hormones are at their lowest levels during this phase.) Foods that help keep up your iron, like red meat and kidney beans, are helpful now, too. Adding in some seafood or mineral-rich seaweed helps replenish mineral levels in your body.

Supplements are important, too. I recommend key micronutrients for every woman in her reproductive years—supplements that are important to take daily. I also recommend taking phase-specific supplements to further support and optimize hormone health during each phase. For phase-based support during the menstrual phase, I recommend taking a combination to help ease cramps and boost immune function. 

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