The Follicular Phase
Food is the most potent drug we can use for our health. By eating the right foods at the right times, we can powerfully restore and balance hormonal health. It also helps restore our natural rhythms by supporting our hormones and in turn, our hormones start to support us in all the very many different facets of our life.
We are talking specifically of a very simple and yet ground breaking approach to hormonal health which was developed by Alisa Vitta in her book, WomanCode: Perfect your Cycle, Amplify your Fertility, Supercharge your Sex Drive, and Become a Power Source. It boils down to 5 major hormones that affect the menstrual cycle, namely estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing stimulating hormone (LH), and testosterone. It is through the protocol advocated in the WomanCode that specific foods are propagated at different phases of the menstrual cycle to support each of these hormones and their optimum levels.
We are beginning a 4 part blog series about the specific dietary requirements for the different phases of the menstrual cycle. These are 4 specific phases – follicular, ovulation, luteal, and menstrual. During the follicular phase, which lasts for 7-10 days, the body prepares for ovulation. FSH levels rise for the ovaries to prepare to release an egg and estrogen slowly begins to rise.
In this phase, it is import to increase the consumption of probiotic rich foods. The goal is to support healthy estrogen levels, build the uterine lining, and to support gut balance. Since estrogen is rising during this phase, it is important to assist the body in breaking down and metabolizing this powerful hormone. It is also important to support estrogen detox in this phase to prevent estrogen dominance which means consuming foods rich in indole 3-carinole. The hormone levels can also affect your gut bacteria leading to GI upset, also supporting the case for dietary support.
This is where probiotic rich foods come in – fermented and sprouted foods. Both rich in probiotics and the much needed indole 3-carinole, these foods help support healthy estrogen levels during the follicular phase. They help detox excess estrogen to maintain the proper balance of hormones and also support gut health to keep your cycles running smoothly. Some good options are sauerkraut, bean sprouts, broccoli sprouts, and kimchi.