Renée, a Hormonology newsletter subscriber, asked me: “If you could pick just one tip for each week of your cycle to make it better, which one would it be?”
My answer: While there are a lot of ways to make each week better, if I had to choose, I’d say for…
Week 1: Eat iron-rich foods!
Low iron due to menstruation is the chief cause of fatigue, irritability, down moods, fogginess and achiness in your Week 1. When you fix that by eating iron-rich foods (such as beans or lean beef) or by taking 18 mg. of iron in a supplement, you’ll be able to enjoy the energy, optimism and sharper brain skills that rising estrogen is giving you!
Week 2: Be daring!
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!
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 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!
Not too surprisingly, most Hormonology fans 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 D and 1 gram of fish oil daily. Researchers have found that the particular mix of supplements helps keep your mood balanced as hormones descend.