Conversations surrounding the importance of women’s health and the menstrual cycle are progressively making their way into mainstream media and empowering women to reclaim their bodies!
Although the concept of cycle syncing may seem new and unusual, it offers an incredible tool to provide education surrounding the menstrual cycle and how we can begin to work WITH our bodies rather than AGAINST them.
So what is the Cycle Syncing Method?
The term cycle syncing was coined by Functional Nutritionist, HHC, AADP Alisa Vitti in which your nutrition, movement and lifestyle are structured in accordance with the four phases of your menstrual cycle; the menstrual, follicular, ovulation and luteal phase.
Additionally, there are 5 main hormones that fluctuate across these four phases; follicular stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
These hormonal transitions influence our brain chemistry, immune system, metabolism, microbiome and stress response. Ultimately changing the way respond and react to the world around us.
As a clinical nutritionist with a Bachelor of Health Science, I regularly witness the importance of diet and nutrition in supporting a healthy reproductive system and menstrual cycle.
By incorporating a diet that aligns with the phase specific needs of your cycle, women can begin to reduce the nasty symptoms of PMS, restore fertility, regain energy, creativity and so much more!
So where do you begin?
The hormonal shifts experienced across each phase of the cycle have a downstream effect on a woman's nutritional needs. By incorporating phase specific foods, we can begin working with our body rather than against it.
The menstrual phase marks your 'period', which can last between 3-7 days. During this phase, your hormones are at their lowest as the lining of your uterus, the endometrium sheds, causing bleeding.
During this phase it is important to incorporate warming, nourishing foods such as slow cooked stews, broths and soups. It's time to pull out that slow cooker!
As we bleed, we also lose iron so incorporating lean red meat, nori and kidney beans can help to remineralize our bodies.
The follicular phase begins from day 1 of menstruation up until ovulation.
During the second half of this phase once bleeding has ceased, our hormones estrogen and FSH are on the rise in preparation for the ovary to release an egg during ovulation.
During the follicular phase we tend to have a smaller appetite. Focus on lean proteins such as chicken, eggs or tofu whilst incorporating healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds to support hormone production.
Don't forget to fill your plate with fresh vegetables such as zucchini, string beans, carrot and mixed lettuce. Stick to keeping these vegetables in their raw form or opt for lighter cooking methods such as steaming or sauteing.
Estrogen, LH and testosterone peak as an egg is released from the ovary. Women are often their most energetic, vibrant and magnetic selves during this time.
Similarly to the follicular phase, our appetite is low. Aim to include lean meats such as salmon and tuna whilst including berries such as raspberries and strawberries rich in antioxidants.
To optimise the detoxification of estrogen from your liver, focus on fibre rich vegetables such as spinach, eggplant, asparagus, tomatoes and cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, bok choy, collard greens and brussels sprouts.
Salads and smoothies are ideal during this time.
During the luteal phase, progesterone is on the rise and many women begin to experience the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) such as bloating, irritability, brain fog, fluid retention and cravings.
Our need for calories increases and so too does our requirements for blood sugar stabilising foods. Ensure you are eating at regular eating times (every 3-4 hours) or at the first indication of hunger.
To reduce the incidence of PMS related symptoms, it is important to include slow burning, complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, buckwheat and millet as well as starchy vegetables such as pumpkin, sweet potato and parsnip, ideally roasted or baked.
Foods rich in B vitamins, magnesium, calcium and fibre will also mitigate these symptoms whilst supporting the lead up to menstruation. This may include cooked leafy greens such as collards, mustard greens and watercress with a cheeky piece of dark chocolate to curb cravings.
This could look like a roast vegetable salad with mustard greens, collards and brown rice.
Progesterone may slow down your digestive system, causing constipation. Ensure you are sipping on plenty of fluids such as water and herbal teas, aiming for 2-3L/day.
If the egg has not been fertilized during this cycle, the end of the luteal phase is signified by a rapid drop in our hormones, causing a shedding of the uterine lining and beginning of the menstrual phase.
Sarina Coventry (BHSc Nutrition)
For more ways on how you can incorporate cycle syncing across your daily life, I offer 1:1 consults and coaching packages to support you and your menstrual cycle.
To find out more or to book an appointment, you can visit me at:
Or instagram @sarinacoventry_