What foods to eat during each week of your cycle for less annoying periods

In a single month, your body undergoes some pretty major changes. Your hormones fluctuate, you lose blood, and along with all that fun stuff, your dietary needs differ vastly from week to week. That's the basis for the new book from functional nutritionist and holistic health counselor Alisa Vitti, WomanCode, and the period-tracking app MyFlo, which guide women on optimal ways to eat at various times of the month.

Here, Vitti shares which foods help us out most during different phases of our cycles. The first of these phases is the week after your period, so you should start it the day after you stop bleeding. Each phase lasts about a week.

Scroll through to see what foods to eat:

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What Foods to Eat During Each Week of Your Cycle for Less Annoying Periods
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What Foods to Eat During Each Week of Your Cycle for Less Annoying Periods

1. The follicular phase: sprouted and fermented foods When: one week after your period

Estrogen is rising during this phase, says Vitti, so the best foods to eat are ones with prebiotics and 3-endole-carbinol, which help your body break down and metabolize the powerful hormone. Some good options are sauerkraut, kimchi, bean sprouts, and broccoli sprouts.

2. The ovulatory phase: raw juices and fresh, whole veggies When: two weeks after your period

Your estrogen levels surge even more this week, so it's key to eat foods that help move it out of your body. Antioxidants and fiber will accomplish this, so load up on fruits and vegetables. To pack a bunch in at once, Vitti recommends this veggie juice recipe. Still, it's crucial to also eat plenty of raw, whole sulfur-rich vegetables (broccoli, bok choy, kale, and cauliflower, to name a few) so your liver gets enough glutathione, a powerhouse molecule with a long list of vital benefits.

3. The luteal phase: greens and grains When: three weeks after your period

At this point, progesterone levels surge along with estrogen, and then both start to wane, which can lead to those dreaded mood swings. That's where vitamin B–rich foods come in: They help your brain produce the pleasure-inducing hormone serotonin. Grains like quinoa and buckwheat are key, while Vitti also recommends leafy greens during this time, since they pack calcium and magnesium that help regulate hormones. As a bonus, both grains and greens contain soluble fiber, which provides additional help with getting extra estrogen out of your body.

4. The menstrual phase: healthy fats and root vegetables When: the week of your period

Your hormone levels go back down during your period, and foods with fatty acids, like salmon and avocado, help keep your mood stable amid this shift. In the meantime, root veggies like sweet potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, and beets provide vitamin A to help your liver process estrogen.

You don't have to restrict other foods from your diet during these stages—just eat more of whatever's optimal. "If you’re craving a burger during ovulation, go ahead and have that with a big salad instead of fries," Vitti suggests. "Listen to your body and honor the phase you’re in."

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