monday, may 13, 2024

how to support your body with food (through the female cycle)

Photo by Moritz Günther

This post is for the girls. Women. The people with periods.

If you get those, you’ll know the phases and might relate to the different weeks our bodies experience. I like to break them down into weeks — cycles are very individual, so your personal observations might differ, even from your own past cycles. 

I know there are a bazillion graphs to help visualize the process, but let’s recap quickly: The female cycle is basically split into two parts: pre + post ovulation. There are 2 phases to each of those parts. 

Pre-ovulation, also known as the follicular phase consists of menstruation (1) and the proliferative phase (2). Next comes ovulation (3), which introduces the post-ovulation phase called luteal phase (4). After the end of the luteal phase, we start again with the menstruation and continue with the next cycle. 

Each of those phases changes the body’s hormone levels to send signals between brain, ovaries, and uterus to make those phases happen. There is no fixed time frame for each of those phases but like I said, I like to think of those phases as weeks to better keep track of time. Being aware of the phase your body is currently going through can already bring enormous benefit to your mind, as those weeks are often coined by variation of mental states, physical changes and more. Clarifying for yourself “where” you are in your cycle enables you to actively help your body through each particular phase. A menstrual cycle is not just a period.

Supporting yourself regarding your wellbeing is highly beneficial in every aspect of your life. There is also a reason why food is considered fuel. And when in need of energy, one should always check the input. In my head, it only made sense to match the symptoms of each phase with foods that would help my body cope best. Which is why I trial-and-errored my way through this over the past few years to find the foods that would help me deal with my cycle most effectively. Here’s a selection of what I found out:


  • symptoms: period, cramps, fatigue, irritability, and lack of physical strength
  • support foods: nuts, berries, dark leafy greens, salmon, potatoes, mushrooms, beans, peaches, apples, lentils, peas/chickpeas, corn, seaweed, dark chocolate
  • avoid: high sugar sweets


  • symptoms: energy bursts, muscle build, positive mindset
  • support foods: brown rice, lentils, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, kimchi/fermented foods, seaweed, avocado, leafy greens, garlic, soy
  • avoid: carbs later in the day, dairy, coffee, alcohol
  • symptoms: bloating, soft tissue, moody
  • support foods: oats, beans, quinoa, almonds, fish, berries, any vegetables, cucumber, watermelon, banana
  • avoid: sugar, sodas, meat
  • symptoms: anxiety, acne, soreness, bloating
  • support foods: magnesium, sesame, quinoa, zucchini, apples, chicken, pumpkin, salmon, broccoli
  • avoid: too much vitamin B6 (eggs, fish, dairy, carrots)
This is a general idea of the foods you can incorporate into your diet during the different parts of your cycle. Obviously, there are many more which are also encouraged! These are my staples, adapted for a flexitarian diet with a pescetarian/wheat-free base. Please adjust to your needs + don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t manage every phase well, just try little by little and see if you notice differences and adapt. It’s not a winning game – it’s a make-it-easier game :))

ps: I hope this helps?

(if your own personal experiences prove this doesn’t work for you, I apologize, but at least you upped your vegetable intake)