Let’s talk Luteal Phase! Now this may not be our favorite time of the month, and we might be too familiar with the unwelcome PMS/PMDD that can come with it (hello mood swings!).
This phase is usually 14 days long and starts after ovulation until your next period. This is when rising progesterone levels prepare the body for implantation of a fertilized egg. If no egg is fertilized, progesterone and estrogen levels drop (around day 22-24 of the cycle), which is often when PMS/PMDD symptoms might start. Progesterone acts on our GABA receptors in the brain and estrogen impacts serotonin (meaning they impact our mood and emotions), so the rapid drop may leave us feeling a bit off balance and tired while our bodies adjust.
Luckily there are nutrients we can include in our diet to ease PMS symptoms and support progesterone levels during the luteal phase.
Healthy fats - beneficial for skin health, to ease any skin breakouts, and support hormone production (avocado, nuts, seeds)
Iron-rich foods - important to load up on iron before your next period
Vitamin B6 rich foods - great for metabolizing estrogen and maintaining progesterone levels, which may lessen PMS symptoms and bloating (whole grains, blueberries, leafy greens, avocado)
Magnesium - can help fight sleepiness (nuts, seeds, banana and dark chocolate)
Try to limit caffeine, alcohol and processed foods as these may trigger PMS symptoms
Seeds (especially sunflower, sesame, and flax) - great source of phytoestrogens and nutrients like vitamin E, selenium, and zinc to support hormone balance
Hydrate with electrolytes - progesterone is also involved in water balance, so adding some minerals or a sprinkle of sea salt to your water can only help!
Recipe (serves 2)
2 cups mixed salad greens
½ cup cooked green lentils
½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
½ cup diced cucumber
¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds
2 boiled eggs
½ cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt
Lemon Mustard Dressing:
Juice from ½ lemon
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon Djion mustard
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a baking tray, add chickpeas, cumin, EVOO and salt. Mix together and bake for 30 minutes.
Cook lentils according to package instructions. Drain, rinse under cool water and set aside.
On a small frying pan on low heat, toast the sunflower seeds for 5-7 minutes.
Boil your eggs to your desired level of doneness.
Mix your salad dressing ingredients together.
Once everything is ready, compile your bowl by adding all the ingredients together in a salad bowl.
Serve with the lemon mustard dressing, and enjoy!