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Foods For Fertility: What to Eat During a Cycle

What to Eat and Habit Forming During Your CycleMenstruation (Day 1-5)

During your period focus on foods that can boost your magnesium and iron levels, such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, seaweed, banana and dark chocolate. Foods rich in essential fatty acids, such as avocados, wild fish, cod liver oil from cod and hemp seeds, and don’t forget to stay well hydrated.

Be sure to refuel and restore with teas, drink herbal tea or infusions of red raspberry leaves and nettle to help with menstrual cramps. To support your sleep, try chamomile or lemongrass. Avoid high impact exercises during your bleeding days and focus on yoga and light stretching. During your bleeding phase the body is working hard, which can cause fatigue — try to sleep early whenever possible. Massages just before the start of your cycle are also beneficial to help blood circulation.

Food Focus: Add Nutrients: Warmth and Comfort

Vegetables e.g. kelp sweet potato

Activated brown rice

Kefir or probiotic yoghurts pumpkin seeds

Millet-based cereals

Wheat germ

Protein of choice; beef, chicken, lentils, fish, eggs, tofu Nuts

Supplements and Chinese fertility herbs

Magnesium oil spray: For cramps and migrainesMethylated B vitamins: For breast tenderness, clotting cramps and migraines Agnus Castus: For many PMS symptoms

Follicular Phase (Days 5-13)

Estrogen and testosterone levels are going up. During this time, it is important to make sure that you are nourishing your body, so that your body can release an egg. Why is it important to release an egg even if you’re not trying to conceive? If the egg is not released, there is no ad- equate production of progesterone.

Try to incorporate foods that will metabolize estrogen. Focus on sprouted and fermented foods like broccoli sprouts, kimchi, and sauerkraut. 

Food Focus: Fresh and Light Vegetables 



Nuts/seed mix probiotic yoghurt zucchini/ courgettes buckwheat



Supplements and Chinese fertility herbs

Probiotics: Are good daily support to aid digestion, detoxification, immunity and mood Shatavari root: Known for its support of sexual vitality to compliment increased arousal. 

L theanine and lemon balm: If the increase in your energy levels tips over into feelings of restlessness. 

Ovulation (Days 14-16)

This phase usually occurs in the middle of your cycle and lasts only a week while the egg is released from the ovary and travels to the uterus. During the ovulation cycle, you may feel hotter than usual, because the body temperature rises by 0.5 degrees. If you are trying to conceive, this is the perfect time. 

As the egg is released and travels through fallopian tubes, you may feel a little stiffness or pain around the hips, abdomen and lower back. Try yoga postures that will open your hips. Massage and acupressure can also help to relieve any stiffness. The best foods to eat during this phase is a mixture of cooked and raw foods, such as oats, nuts, seeds, potatoes, avocado, broccoli and raspberries.

With your estrogen at an all-time high, you should eat foods that support your liver. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods like whole fruits, vegetables, and almonds. They pack incredible health benefits, including anti-aging properties and protection from environmental toxins, which are known to have an impact on your hormones. 

Progesterone deficiency causes various symptoms such as lack of menstruation, mood problems and also leads to estrogen dominance. Focus on whole foods that don’t dramatically increase blood sugars. Replace simple carbs for wholemeal versions to reduce the increase in sugar in the blood. Incorporate fats and proteins into every meal. Regular meals and regular hours help to balance blood sugar levels. 

Your energy will be at its peak during this phase, so if you are planning activities or vigorous exercise, this is the time to do them. 

Food Focus: Fibrous and Light Eggs


Wholegrain: breads, pasta, rice.

B vitamins

Fruits: berries, citrus, papaya

Supplements and Chinese fertility herbs

Vitamin B6: Supports energy production, mood and hormone regulation throughout the month Valerian/ Fennel tea blend: A botanical known to encourage a deeper sleep.

Luteal and Premenstrual Phase (Days 17-28)

It’s important to increase your protein intake and health fats during the luteal phase, in addition to heating food, because your body is getting ready to work hard during your bleeding days. Foods such as brown rice, roots, oily fish, pulses, avocado, ginger and turmeric are foods that will help your body during this phase. Avoid alcohol and caffeine during this phase, as they can increase PMS symptoms and drain the body of the nutrients needed for the next phase of the cycle.

Light exercise is encouraged during this phase to help balance mood and hormones. You will naturally notice that your body wants to slow down, and you will tend to feel more introverted. It is important to listen to your body cues and give yourself time to rest.Luteal Estrogen and progesterone both surge and then wane during this period. Eat foods that will produce serotonin, like leafy greens, quinoa, and buckwheat. You’ll also want to focus on magnesium-rich foods that fight fatigue and low libido, like dark chocolate, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.

Since the luteal phase is before your period, you’ll want to really focus on eating healthy and avoiding any foods that may trigger discomfort or cramps, like caffeine.All the hormones in our endocrine system that work together to carry out vital functions and promote homeostasis (the state of equilibrium) in the body, are influenced by many factors, including what we eat. In particular the balance of progesterone and estrogen (the primary cycle hormones that fluctuate throughout our monthly cycles) is imperative not only for hormone health, but overall physical mental and emotional well-being.

Certain nutrients help support hormone detoxification, influence hormone activity or promote their production. It’s fascinating when we look at the symptoms food can help us with. For example, protein provides amino acids – the raw materials needed for making hormones – while foods such as kale and broccoli (sulforaphane-rich foods, if we’re being nutrition geeks) can help support detoxification processes including removal of excess estrogen. Vitamin C, found in foods such as dark leafy greens, citrus and parsley, is a key to help the production of cortisol, which influences our stress response, while magnesium-rich 

foods such as tofu, dark greens and nuts may help to support PMS-associated water retention and menstrual pain.

Keeping our blood sugar levels steady also contributes to overall hormone balance, helping to reduce mood swings and better manage weight, sleep and cravings. To do this, try eating balanced meals filled with fibre and protein at regular intervals, and being mindful of the types of sugars and carbohydrates that we are eating. 

Tapping into the intelligence of the female body and responding to its unique needs is a huge act of personal care. Not only can it reduce both light and heavy-period symptoms but it also optimises our energy levels and balances our moods so we don’t have to dread that time of the month, but rather appreciate its wisdom. A diet based around whole, plant-based foods, quality proteins and healthy fats is a good foundation, and include some of these cycle-supporting foods to your shopping basket each week to help with hormone harmony.

Hormone levels reach their peak as we approach menstruation and many women experience PMS around this time. 

It is possible to help manage pre-period moods and discomforts through food choices: if you experience water retention in the form of swollen breasts and bloating, avoid foods high in salt as they can exacerbate the problem, due to salt’s anti-diuretic effects on the body. The same applies to sugar; if you are prone to cravings, they may be at their highest during this week and carbohydrates may be what you are craving, however just ensure they are complex ones such as like brown rice, pasta or bread (the husks are filled with energy with and stress- supporting B vitamins and fibre to help curb cravings and balance those moods.). This is also a good time of the month to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, as these stimulants can aggravate PMS- triggered anxiety and mood shifts. Coffee and alcohol can also interfere with the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals required for optimal menstrual health, so try some alternatives like sparkling fruit water, herbal teas, chicory root or swap your morning latte for a caffeine free one. 

Food Focus: Curb Cravings 

CauliflowerCucumber (water retention) 


Caffeine- free herbal teas 

Sesame seeds


Brown rice 

Protein of choice: tofu, chicken, lean meats, fish and seafood 


Turmeric latte blend

Dark chocolate

Supplements and Chinese fertility herbs 

Ashwagandha: Known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress 

Mg with B6: For anxiety, tension and promoting sleepMagnesium bath salts: Water retention and anxiety 

Written by our Fertility Specialist, Anga Gonzalez 

To book a consultation for Fertility AcupunctureChinese Herbal MedicineFertility Massages or Functional Medicine / Nutrition with Anga, please click here or call us on 07957641946.

Menstrual Cycle Foods
Menstrual Cycle Foods

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