It is necessary, as a vegan, to eat enough with sufficient quantities of macronutrients and micronutrients for healthy and regular menstruation. This, especially, includes iron for blood loss, replacement of hemoglobin, and magnesium to combat PMS and the luteal phase. There is a link that has been made between amenorrhea and being underweight due to insufficient calorie intake (Yoppie, 2020). It is necessary to consume enough calories, nutrients, some fat, and some higher protein foods for regular periods and sufficient energy. Excess estrogen is also an issue for cancer risk, PMS symptom severity, weight management, and bodily balance. Detoxifying foods like greens and cruciferous vegetables help metabolism and aid the liver’s job of the removal of excess estrogen. Meanwhile, meat, dairy, beauty products, cleaning products, plastic packaging, alcohol, synthetic drugs (not plants like cannabis), and medicine promote excess estrogen in the body due to the xenoestrogens in them (as well as other toxic chemicals) (Talida, 2020). Xenoestrogens can impact liver function, gut health, cancer risk (particularly estrogenic cancers like breast and ovarian cancer), metabolism, the immune system, the neurological system, biochemical balance, and the endocrine glands.
Millet, quinoa, oats and spelt are all nutrient-dense wholegrains for essential nutrients. These include B vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, selenium, calcium, sodium, and copper.
As a healthy source of fat and key nutrients, peanut butter is ideal for menstruation. It is an essential source of protein to prevent energy lows and fatigue, whilst containing omega-3 fatty acids to reduce the inflammation of PMS. It is also high in magnesium, iron, B-vitamins, and zinc.
As another healthy source of fat, antioxidants, and key nutrients, the most advantageous of these for menstruation is magnesium. It reduces PMS symptoms of the luteal phase including stress, anxiety, tension, low mood, blood sugar regulation, water retention, and hormone imbalance. It boosts happy hormones to reduce mood swings, whilst opening and simulating the pineal gland which balances hormones and controls periods and fertility. It is also high in iron, zinc, selenium, antioxidants, flavonoid and polyphenols. These reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and prevent menstrual fatigue. Sufficient doses of cocoa should without a doubt prevent irregularity!
Pomegranates help with hormonal balance (particularly the excess estrogen of the ovulation phase), regularity, and nutrient intake. It is also high in vitamin C which is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as iron, potassium, folate, vitamin E, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins.
Other foods for regularity, hormone balance and nutrients: papaya, ginger, cumin, pineapple (Sushanth Admin, 2021)
The Follicular phase
This stage occurs with more energy and a positive feeling, as the previous menstrual blood has been released and the follicles begin to grow. Fresh green vegetables are healthy to help maintain energy and detox like broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini. Meanwhile, peanut butter and cocoa provide healthy fats for the brain to spark creativity, as this is a great time for new ideas.
The Ovulation Phase
This stage involves the ovary releasing an egg leading to the fertile time of the month. Foods at this stage could be fibrous for detoxification of excess estrogen and energy, including greens and fruit like kale, broccoli, radish, berries, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, guava, fennel, eggplant, okra, and papaya. Foods with vitamin B6 help to balance the hormones including cocoa, peanut butter, oats, and potatoes. Fruit is anti-inflammatory and helps with fertility, especially berries and citrus fruits.
The Luteal Phase
This stage involves many more symptoms like bloating, water retention, mood swings, cravings, and stress, as the lining thickens in preparation for the period. This results in the need to consume slightly more food, relax, rest, ground and consume warming foods that help with satiety, including oats, tubers, and hot chocolate. Chocolate is essential at this time as it is high in magnesium which helps with mood, water retention, and blood sugar regulation.
The Menstruation Phase
The final phase of menstruation is a release and cleansing time for the body. This occurs with lower energy and, perhaps, mood swings with further cravings. Hydration with fruit and water, nutrient-rich filling foods, healthy fats, and iron-rich foods are needed to combat and replace the blood loss. Iron-rich foods could include sea vegetables, spinach, sweet potato, millet, and wheatgerm.
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