The Honey Pot x Unspoken Nutrition: Luteal Phase
By Neeyaz Zolfaghari
The final phase of the four cycle phases is the luteal phase. This luteal phase of the menstrual cycle comes after ovulation and just before the start of our period in the menstrual bleeding phase. The longest phase of the menstrual cycle, also known as the luteal phase, comes in two parts.
During the first half of this phase, you’ll have more energy to be around others. The second half is all about you wanting to be with you. Hormones are all at play here, influencing the rhythm of this cycle. FSH and LH drop sharply, while estrogen and progesterone slowly drop after they have reached their peak concentrations. For those that experience PMS symptoms, this is usually around the time when those might show up. They’re usually common (though if debilitating, you’ll benefit so much from cycle synching to help lessen the intensity) and usually a result of estrogen dominance. The drop of estrogen encourages serotonin to make you feel more reserved and the increase in progesterone influences cravings and a larger appetite. Read back about the ovulatory phase for foods that help to flush out excess estrogen.
To help mitigate the cravings, be sure to eat adequate sources of protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. Foods such as lean protein, fish, avocado, olive oil, root vegetables and rice help to keep cravings in control and balance your blood sugar - another precursor to cravings.
Physically during the first half of the luteal phase, you likely have the energy for strength training and activities such as swimming and jogging. During the second half, your energy will taper down and you'll feel more inclined for slower movement such as yoga, pilates or walking. Get a sense of what your body is asking for and honor that.
As the second part of this phase comes into play and you eventually move into the menstrual bleeding phase, you’ll want to retreat inward and come out of being social amongst others. Schedule time with yourself to pamper and nurture your needs, read that book you’ve left on your nightstand for months and maybe if you’re feeling up for it, have a one-on-one date with a close friend.
The most important thing to note when it comes to these suggestions, is that they are merely suggestions and recommendations to support a healthy and flourishing cycle. As with anything, implement what makes sense for you and your lifestyle and allow your body and its cues to lead the way. The female body is absolutely incredible and intelligent - she’ll tell you what you need.