I’ve dispensed a lot of Hormonology tips over the years. But, if you haven’t read them all yet and don’t have hours to scour past posts, here’s one must-read tip I’ve selected for each week of your cycle that will make the whole month better:
Week 1: Eat iron-rich foods
Day 1 (first day of period) to Day 7
Besides estrogen being on the low side during your Week 1, a chief cause of fatigue, irritability, down moods and mental fogginess during this phase of your cycle is low iron due to blood loss during menstruation. When you replenish lost iron by eating more iron-rich foods (such as beans, tofu, spinach or lean meat) or by taking iron in a daily supplement (15 mg. for ages 14 to 18; 18 mg. for 19 to 50), you’ll be able to enjoy the increased energy, optimism and sharper brain skills that rising estrogen has in store for you far sooner.
Week 2: Be daring
Day 8 to Day 14 (or ovulation day in your cycle)
High estrogen and testosterone during this phase bump up your mood, energy, brain skills, libido and extroversion to cycle-long highs. By next week, you’ll be tired, moody, foggy and quiet due to rising progesterone and lower levels of estrogen and testosterone. So, be sure to find a social event, art opening, class or other activity to do that will get you around people. Or do something out of your comfort zone, like zip lining or going on an impromptu trip. If you don’t, you may seriously regret this fleeting window of opportunity to have some truly great fun when you’re most up for it.
Week 3: Nibble dark chocolate
Starts day after ovulation and lasts 8 days (that’s Day 15 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle)
The biggest complaints most women have about Week 3 is that progesterone makes you tired and foggy-headed. Luckily, you can rev your energy and clear away the cobwebs in your brain by going for a brisk walk, listening to up-tempo music, sipping a small amount of caffeine throughout the day (as opposed to periodic big gulps) and/or nibbling a little dark chocolate. All are study-proven to get your blood flowing, your heart pumping and your brain in alert mode so you’re thinking more clearly.
Week 4: Pop supplements
Final 6 days of your cycle
Not too surprisingly, most Hormonology readers tell me they can’t stand the anger, irritability, depression and moodiness that can come as estrogen plunges in your premenstrual Week 4. Luckily, reducing PMS symptoms is as easy as popping a multivitamin, 1000 mg. of calcium (500 mg. twice daily), 400 IU to 2000 IU of vitamin D3 and 1 gram of fish oil (or a vegetarian omega-3 supplement) daily. Researchers have found that these supplements help keep your mood balanced as hormones descend.
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