While your period might not be something you look forward to, it shouldn’t be something you dread either. Feeling like a fiery mess for a week or so each month isn’t ideally how we want to live.
Aside from hiding away from the world with a hot water bottle and Netflix, there are a few more viable ways we can make this monthly event a little - or hopefully, a lot - more bearable.
Do you experience any of these symptoms on a monthly basis?
- Short or irregular cycles
- Mood swings, feeling overwhelmed, low moods, irritability
- Unbalanced hormones
- Temperature fluctuations
- Head and neck tension
- Breast tenderness
- Uncomfortable aspects of menstruation
- Trouble sleeping
If yes, you’ll want to pay close attention to these five tips to support a balanced cycle, naturally.
1. Support ovulation with key nutrients
Ensuring we have plenty of key nutrients on board is important for our health in so many ways and our cycles are no different. Our ovaries require a steady supply of certain nutrients to work their magic each month.
Of particular importance for supporting balanced cycles are:
- Zinc: a particularly important mineral for supporting ovary function and hormone health. Zinc can be tricky to get enough of through food alone but pumpkin seeds and lean red meat are your best bet for foods rich in zinc.
- Iodine: along with supporting healthy oestrogen metabolism, iodine supports stable oestrogen-sensitive tissue, including the brain, ovaries, uterus and breasts. In case you needed yet another reason to enjoy some sushi or a wakame salad, seaweed is a particularly good source of iodine.
- Magnesium: helps to relax both the mind and body and helps to ease muscular tension. You’ll find magnesium in cacao, leafy greens, and avocados.
- Vitamin B6: supports oestrogen balance and supports balanced moods before and during our periods. Poultry, sweet potatoes, oats and bananas are your go-tos for this vitamin.
2. Bring more zen to your life
no secret that stress and our hormones aren’t the best of friends. In fact,
high stress levels are one of the most common contributors to both irregular
cycles and the uncomfortable aspects of menstruation.
Whether it’s work stress, sleep deprivation, restrictive diets or overdoing it on coffee and alcohol, our bodies don’t know the difference. Anything that sends the body into a state of stress means it is prioritising the production of stress hormones over sex hormones.
The key to ensuring this doesn’t become a normal state for your body lies in finding ways to minimise and manage stress where you can.
Here are some of our favourite ways to bring some more zen into your life:
Make sleep a priority, and aim for at least 7-8 hours per night.
Limit high-intensity exercise to a few times a week and opt for more restorative forms, such as yoga, pilates and walking.
- Try making coffee a weekend treat, rather than an every-day thing (it’s hard, we know!).
- Learn what makes you feel most relaxed—whether that's a yoga class, a hot bath or a good book—and make it a non-negotiable part of your week.
- Give adaptogenic herbs a go, we love ashwagandha for helping ‘adapt’ our bodies response to stress.
3. Fuel your body
Eating regularly, eating enough, and eating the right kinds of foods are all important factors in ensuring your body is fueled enough to have a regular cycle and ovulate each month.
Restrictive diets - whether you’re heavily restricting one food group (e.g. carbs) or all foods (e.g. going low calorie), your brain can end up getting the message that food is sparse.
Your body is smart and geared for survival; so if it doesn’t feel safe, it will switch off all things reproduction for the time being (i.e. ovulation) to prioritise your health and safety.
While the keto diet can be great for some women who struggle with insulin resistance, many women simply need some quality carbs in their lives to feel nourished, satisfied and balanced.
While what and when we eat is a rather individual thing, ensuring you are including a source of complex carbohydrates, quality protein, and healthy fat in each meal helps to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day, your hormones happy and any ‘hanger’ at bay.
4. Love your liver
Your liv-er is a pretty big deal when it comes to, you know, live-ing.
It does more than detox your body of last night’s pinot noir. It’s the organ that cleanses and rids your body of any chemical (natural or synthetic) that it has used up and no longer needs; including our sex hormones.
If your liver isn't functioning as well as it could, this can lead to higher than optimal levels of oestrogen metabolites that can result in imbalances in your cycle such as heavy or irregular periods, uncomfortable aspects of menstruation, bloating and mood swings.
To encourage your liver to detox make sure to eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables, (i.e. broccoli sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collard greens, radish, bok choy, brussel sprouts and watercress). These vegetables are especially rich in a compound called Diindolylmethane (DIM), which supports the liver in metabolising and detoxifying oestrogen.
Keeping on top of the above four tips is a great way to support hormone balance and non-event periods, but sometimes a little something extra is helpful. Which is exactly why we made Period Pal.
Period Pal contains carefully selected herbs and nutrients that nourish the ovaries, help to lower our stress levels, and support healthy blood flow and ovulation. In just two capsules taken each morning, we can give our bodies, and particularly our reproductive organs, a lot of love every day. Happy uterus, happy period, happy you.
Learn more about Eve Wellness.
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional. Eve Wellness, Auckland