A diet chart for your menstrual phases - Hindustan Times
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A diet chart for your menstrual phases

ByRuchika Garg
Sep 07, 2023 01:00 PM IST

Actor Rakul Preet Singh's ‘follicular phase dinner’ has piqued curiosity, experts break down the dietary requirements for each menstrual phase

A balanced diet and well-informed nutrition intake can lessen discomfort and provide support to the body and mind during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Sharing on social media, actor Rakul Preet recently put an image of her ‘follicular phase dinner’ which showed a plateful of stir-fried chicken with herbs and veggies. We spoke to experts to understand the role of diet in various menstrual phases.

Actor Rakul Preet Singh follicular phase dinner highlighted the dietary requirements for each menstrual phase
Actor Rakul Preet Singh follicular phase dinner highlighted the dietary requirements for each menstrual phase

“Eating certain foods during each phase of the menstrual cycle such as menstruation (Days 1-5), follicular phase (Days 1-13), ovulation phase (Day 14) and luteal phase (Days 15-28) can be beneficial because the nutrient needs and hormonal fluctuations of the body change throughout the cycle, Diet plays an important role in the hormonal balance. Understanding the different dietary requirement for each phase can ease pain and enhance your overall wellbeing ,” says Dr Vaishali Sharma, gynecologist, VS Healthcare.

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Planning your diet

The follicular phase:

The follicular phase of the menstrual cycle includes the maturation of ovarian follicles to prepare one of them for release during ovulation. “Include nutrient-rich foods that provide essential vitamins and minerals such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats in your diet. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels and supports digestive health. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber. Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for bone health. Include dairy products, fortified plant-based milk, leafy greens, and small fish with bones in your diet. Ensure you’re consuming enough calories to support your energy needs. Extreme calorie restriction can disrupt hormonal balance,” says Diksha Dayal, HOD, Department-Nutrition and Health, Sanar International Hospitals.

Menstruation

Menstruation is commonly known as a period. During menstruation, the uterus lining sheds and flows out of your vagina. Food items rich in magnesium, protein and heathy fats helps in this phase. “Dark chocolates covered almonds is a great snack to eat during menstruation because they contain nutrients that can help to alleviate some of the symptoms associated with menstruation. Dark chocolates contains magnesium, which can help to reduce muscle cramps and improve mood, while almonds are a good source of protein, healthy fats and fiber,” shares fertility expert Dr. Corina Dunlap (@drcorinadunlap) on instagram

Beets are the great source of iron, which is important for blood cell production, while carrots are rich in beta-carotene, which is important for immune function. Iron helps to build blood cells and prevent anemia during menstruation. Both beets and carrots are high in fiber, which also can help to regulate digestion and promote satiety, helping to reduce cravings during menstruation, explains Dr . Dunlap.

Ovulation

Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from an ovary and moves along a fallopian tube towards the uterus. This usually happens once each month, about two weeks before your next period. Ovulation can last from 16 to 32 hours.Berries and almonds support hormonal balance and reduce inflammation that usually happens in this phase. Berries are rich in antioxidants and fiber, while almonds are high in healthy fats and protein. Berries can help reduce inflammation. Almonds promote hormonal balance during ovulation.

During ovulation, the body is under stress as it prepares to release an egg. One should have avacado, as they are a good source of healthy fats and Vimatin E.

Luteal phase

After ovulation, cells in the ovary release progesterone and a small amount of oestrogen. This causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, the corpus luteum dies, progesterone levels drop, the uterus lining sheds and the period begins again. “Add complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, sweet potatoes and protein that one can derive from tofu, fish, beans and chickpeas. Limit caffeine and alcohol in this phase to avoid hormonal imbalance. Also drink a lot of water to stay hydrated,” says Nisha, dietician, Motherhood Hospital, Gurugram.

It’s important to remember that individual dietary needs can vary, and some people may have specific dietary restrictions or conditions that require personalized guidance. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian can help you create a tailored nutrition plan for your unique needs during the follicular phase or at any other stage of your menstrual cycle.

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