A thorough guide to fasting during your cycle
For women, fasting is more complicated than men, primarily because of our body's ever-changing hormones. A research done in the field of gynecology shows that up to 25-percent of women suffer from menstrual irregularities. Another research published in the National Library of Medicine shows how hormones are inextricably linked to our mental, emotional and sensory health. All of these findings suggest that women should prioritize hormonal health for their well-being. Many doctors believe that hormonal imbalances are frequently triggered by bad eating habits that can be fixed by having a balanced diet and conscious fasting. Recently a new term “cycle syncing” has been introduced in the wellness circuit that means modifying your diet in accordance with your menstrual cycle. Here is how you should fast and what you should eat during each of the phases of your menstrual cycle.
While full fasting should be avoided during menstruation, you can still practice intermittent fasting. During menstruation, the most important thing is to remain hydrated. You must drink seven to eight glasses of water in a day. Dehydration during your period may give you headaches and muscle aches. Fruits like watermelon, melon and cucumber will help you to stay hydrated. To soothe cramps, drink chamomile, ginger, or peppermint tea. Menstrual blood loss often results in iron deficiency so make sure you eat iron-rich food like spinach, apples and legumes.
This phase begins after menstruation. This stage lasts anywhere from 6 to 14 days. In this stage your hormones are low and as a result, you may experience a lack of energy. By day 3, you may start to notice an increase in energy, so focus on incorporating more exercise into your routine, as you will have more stress resilience. Try doing mid-longer length fasts and break your fast with food that increases estrogen production. Some of these items can be fermented food or sprouts. You should eat a lot of green and leafy vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and spinach. Phytoestrogen foods like hummus, soybean, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds should be added to your diet. A healthy dose of antioxidant and fiber-rich food is also recommended. For this, you can add green tea, citrus fruits and matcha to your diet.
The follicular phase is followed by the ovulatory phase. In this phase, your estrogen levels will be at their highest, so energy levels will also be at their highest. In this stage, try to do longer fasts, around 12-16 hours. Always include fresh fruits and vegetables in your meals. To tackle inflammation, consume nuts, dry fruits and oatmeal. Limit refined carbohydrates, sugar and trans-fats.
This phase is after ovulation and before menstruation. In the luteal phase (also known as the post egg release phase) your hormones surge and diminish within the span of 15 to 18 days. In this phase, your body starts preparing for another round of ovulation and menstruation. Fast for short periods of time and eat food that is rich in micronutrients to help your brain release happy hormones like serotonin. You can add things like dark chocolate, magnesium-rich banana and tofu. Protein deficiency is common after the menstrual cycle so incorporates eggs, meat and lentils.
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