The Honey Pot x Unspoken Nutrition: Follicular Phase
By Neeyaz Zolfaghari
Coming out of the menstrual bleeding phase, hormones will slowly begin to increase in degree. On average, the follicular phase can last up to 14 days, sometimes even a little longer. The length of this phase does vary and it decreases in length as a menstruating person nears menopause.
Biologically, the pituitary gland in the brain releases a hormone called FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) which stimulates the ovaries to begin producing follicles (usually 5-20). The follicles are what house the eggs waiting to be fertilized. Later in the phase, as the level of this hormone decreases, only one of these follicles (called the dominant follicle) continues to grow. That follicle begins to produce estrogen, and the other follicles begin to break down. Your uterine lining begins to thicken again, in preparation for ovulation and possible pregnancy, and then the menstrual phase a few weeks later where the lining will begin to shed (if an egg is not fertilized).
The follicular phase comes to an end when LH (luteinizing hormone) dramatically increases, resulting in the release of an egg and the beginning of the ovulatory phase.
In the follicular phase, you’ll likely begin to feel more creative, curious and open to new things. New beginnings and fresh starts are perfect for this phase. Beginning the day after you end your period, this is your time to rejuvenate, replenish and recharge.
Nutritionally, the follicular phase is seen as a spring awakening. We’re not as hungry as we were during the menstrual phase (due to the rise of estrogen), so our bodies naturally crave lighter foods such as leafy greens and lean proteins. A focus on fiber rich carbohydrates will keep you fuller longer and stabilize your blood sugar. Since the follicular phase is a time of new beginnings, maybe you’ll feel inspired to try a new recipe or food you’ve never had before! Also be sure to incorporate foods rich in iron and B vitamins such as legumes, fruits and lean protein.
As far as movement, energetically you’re building up stamina slowly. Try a new workout class and spice up your original routine. This is the perfect way to inspire some creativity and inspiration into your life. Learn new things, go outside of your comfort zone and step into new territory.