The first week of your menstrual cycle is the follicular phase. The estrogen and progesteron hormones are at their lowest point, the egg hasn't been fertilized and the breakdown of the tissues in the uterus starts, accompanied by bleeding. Most women experience low energy, tiredness, get awful cramps and they are bloated.
This is the time in four weeks when your body detoxes, allowing your reproductive system to be cleaned in order to prepare for the next phase.
It is very important to rest. Don't plan any long meetings. At work prioritize and do only things that have to be done, I mean it's only a week. Plan ahead so that you can take it easy. The more rest you will have now, the more energy you will get in the followings weeks. At home, take naps in the afternoon, do simple yoga, go for a leisurely walk but don't push yourself too much. If you have children engage in pleasurable, quiet things to do together, a puzzle, read a book and cuddle.
At this point because of the bleeding, the body looses a lot of iron. A iron deficiency can cause symptoms like fatigue and weakness. It is important not only to eat iron-rich foods, but also to use a multivitamin supplement that contains iron.
Iron can be found in both animal products and plant sources, but the iron from meat is better absorbed than that in plant foods. Certain nutrients, such as vitamin C, can help enhance the absorption of iron from plant sources. Vitamin C also keeps the blood vessels strong.
Keep in mind that mixing calcium containing food with iron-rich food can minimise the absorption of iron.
Vitamin B12 is another vitamin that affects our energy levels. In the absence of the vitamin B12, the body can't make healthy red blood cells . Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products such as eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish and poultry. For the vegetarians out there, many food products are now fortified with vitamin B12 like soy, rice or almond beverages.
Iron-rich food: red meat, asparagus, chard, spinach, thyme, turmeric, cumin seeds.
Vitamin C rich food: lemons, limes, oranges, strawberries , broccoli, strawberries, kiwi fruit, tomatoes.
For hormonal support nourish your liver with: eggs, liver, salmon, clams, oysters, scallops, turkey, chicken, beans, lentils, chickpeas, carrots, peanuts, dates, spinach, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, garlic, cabbage, asparagus and broccoli.
Vitamin B foods to calm your mood: walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, pecans.
Calcium rich foods: sardines, dark leafy greens.
Anti-inflamatory and anti-spasmodic herbs: cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, sage, rosemary, cloves. Use it sprinkled on your food or just make infusions and drink it very slow.
Please minimise: sugar, alcohol, coffee, strong black tea, cold meals and too much raw food.
If it's possible use as many organic, locally grown ingredients and as fresh as possible.
This is just a small part of the menstrual first week. In the future features I am going to take further important details and provide you with more information. I will post recipes, food mixing, skin care and yoga poses.
If you have certain questions that you would like me to approach please feel free and email me or add a reaction.
Take good care!