Nutrition To Support Your Menstrual Cycle: The Follicular Phase

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Supporting Your Body In The Follicular Phase

It will come as no surprise to anyone – especially the ladies out there – that the female reproductive cycle is a complex process that plays into so many facets of an individual’s physical health and mental wellness.

We all have an awareness of the dreaded PMS symptoms and everyone’s least favourite “time of the month”, but how well do you really know what’s going on in your body?

Let’s dive in the first phase of your menstrual cycle, the follicular phase, which starts on the first day of your period. Read on to find out what it is and how to best support your body during this time.

The Follicular Phase

The follicular phase starts on the first day of your period (or cycle day 1) and will typically last about two weeks.

During this phase, the hypothalamus triggers the pituitary gland to release follicle stimulating hormone to trigger follicle/egg maturation. Your estrogen levels rise, which supports energy in this phase.

You may feel increased energy levels and a more stable mood.

Both energy level and mood can be tracked in Cronometer as a biometric. Recording these daily will help you identify trends when looking back at your data over time.

Diet Considerations During The Follicular Phase

  • Maintain a well-rounded diet with complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, lean proteins for muscle repair, and healthy fats for hormonal balance. Include foods rich in B vitamins, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids for mood regulation. 
  • Support estrogen production and metabolism with essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. Try ground flax, flax oil or raw pumpkin seeds. Probiotics also support healthy gut flora which supports healthy estrogen levels.
  • Decrease or eliminate foods that contain harmful estrogen or the estrogenic chemicals such as PCBs, dioxin, phthalates and BPA. These can promote estrogen dominance and are linked endometriosis, menstrual pain, fibroids, and cysts.
  • Support testosterone production and increase your Zinc intake. Try pumpkin seeds.
  • Support your upcoming ovulation phase with Selenium rich foods which include meat like pork, beef, or lamb as well as fish, eggs and nuts.


Consider Increasing

  • Complex carbs 
  • Lean proteins 
  • Vitamin D 
  • B Vitamins 
  • Omega-3 
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Probiotics

Sleep Considerations During The Follicular Phase

Try to prioritize a consistent sleep schedule, create a conducive sleep environment, and practice good sleep hygiene to support optimal sleep quality. 

Exercise Considerations During The Follicular Phase

This is when estrogen and testosterone are increasing and it may be easier to build muscle. Take advantage of the increase in energy levels and stamina during this phase. Engage in higher-intensity workouts, strength training, or aerobic exercises. 

Cycle Tracking In Cronometer

If you’re looking to track your cycles in the Cronometer app, check out our Cycle Tracking feature which leverages Cycle Insights data via our ŌURA integration.

We’re currently working on extending our Cycle Tracking feature to all users. For the time being, those who don’t have an Oura Ring can track symptoms by adding a daily biometric like mood, energy or even stool.

Cronometer Gold subscribers can create any Custom Biometric, allowing you to track cycle day, phase or symptoms such as cramps, flow rate and discharge. These can then be plotted in a Chart to help identify any trends or relationships against certain nutrients, exercise or other biometrics.

Also Think About Tracking

  • Your Women’s Health Nutrition Score: Cronometer Gold subscribers have access to our Nutrition Scores feature, which includes a Women’s Health score. It bundles nutrients together such as iron, calcium, magnesium and gives you an overall score for how well you’re hitting your targets for the nutrients which women are typically lacking in.
  • Basal Body Temperature Data: Monitor BBT to observe any changes in temperature patterns during the phase. This data helps in tracking hormonal patterns and identifying potential concerns. 
  • Flow Rate/Type Data: Continue tracking flow rate and type to identify any changes or abnormalities, which may provide insights into hormonal balance and overall menstrual health. Gold subscribers can create a Custom Biometric in Cronometer to help keep track of this.

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