Eating for Your Cycle: A Nutritionist’s Guide to Cycle Syncing Your Diet

We chatted with nutritionist, Nikki Gonda, about cycle syncing your diet to transform your relationship with your menstrual cycle and body. Keep reading to learn more about how you can naturally balance your hormones and experience PMS-free cycles through simple dietary changes.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

"I am a passionate female health advocate, Nutritionist and Founder of My Moonbox, a business dedicated to empowering women with a holistic approach to improving hormonal and menstrual health through natural products and online coaching programs.

What inspires me on this journey, is not only my own past struggles with period pain, PMS and fatigue, but the fact that over 80% of women struggle with period problems that impact the quality of their life.

The problem is, there is a huge lack of education when it comes to menstrual health, so instead of being taught about our body and what causes symptoms, we’re told that painful symptoms are “normal” and are often advised to go on birth control or other pharmaceuticals. FYI: These are only short-term solutions as they mask symptoms and ignore the underlying root causes. 

Frustrated from the lack of long-term solutions offered to me, I went back to college, studied nutritional health science (plus nerded out on all things female hormones and herbal medicine) until I was finally able to get to the root cause of my symptoms and learn what my body actually needed to feel better. 

After discovering how to bring my body back to balance with changes in my diet and lifestyle, I now experience menstrual cycles without the pain, fatigue or heavy bleeding - which I never thought was possible. 

What I wish for all women to know is that symptoms are our body’s genius way of trying to get our attention, signally towards underlying imbalances that need to be addressed. It's up to us to listen and to become the expert of our own body."

What is cycle syncing nutrition?

"Simply put, cycle syncing nutrition is a holistic approach to eating that aligns with the different phases of the menstrual cycle to optimize hormonal balance, energy levels, menstrual health and overall well-being.

This way of eating recognizes that a woman's nutritional needs fluctuate throughout the four phases of her menstrual cycle due to changes in hormone levels, metabolism, and energy expenditure." 

How can we support our hormones with intentional dietary changes during each phase?

"I personally advocate for eating a nutrient dense, whole foods diet every day of the month as our hormones require ongoing and consistent nourishment.

While cycle syncing nutrition is beneficial, the first place to start is really understanding how to create balanced, hormone-healthy meals which give your body the right amount of nutrients it needs to thrive every day.  

I have a free ebook that breaks this down here: Your Guide To Balanced Hormones & Symptom-free Periods.

Then, once you’ve nailed the basic foundations of nutrition, you can take your cycle-care up a notch by focusing on eating more of certain foods during phases where nutrient needs are higher. See below!

Here are some recommendations tailored to each phase of the menstrual cycle.

Menstrual Phase (your period):  

This is when your hormone levels are at their lowest and you lose certain nutrients through period blood, particularly iron. So focusing on eating more iron rich foods like leafy greens, legumes and meats are going to help replenish iron stores, reduce the risk of anemia and support energy, especially if you have a heavy flow. 

If you experience menstrual cramps, increase your intake of anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger and turmeric which are known to help reduce period pain. Enjoying a delicious Luna’s Gold Turmeric Latte is an easy way to do this!

Follicular Phase (before you ovulate, after your period)

This is the phase when estrogen and FSH begin to rise in preparation for ovulation. Your nutrients needs are vitamin B, vitamin C and zinc to help with the release of the egg and chances of implantation, Focus on eating foods like organic eggs, wild caught salmon, sardines and leafy greens which are fantastic sources of vitamin B. Plus if you like oysters and organic meats like chicken liver these are very high in zinc too.

Ovulatory Phase (typically occurs 13-15 days prior to your next period)

During ovulation, estrogen is at its peak so focusing on eating foods that will support the liver in metabolizing estrogen is especially important. For example, cruciferous veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, kale and cabbage. Whilst estrogen production is important, excess levels can lead to symptoms of PMS later in your cycle like pain, breast tenderness and bloating. My favorite herbs for liver support to enhance detoxification are dandelion root, milk thistle and fennel which you'll find in Half Moon Tea.

Appetite is often suppressed during the ovulatory phase, so this is also a great time to eat lighter meals as well, like salads, quinoa dishes and cold-water fish. Plus, eating antioxidant rich fruits like organic blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are also helpful for hydration and liver support.

Luteal Phase (premenstrual phase):

After ovulation, you enter the luteal phase of your cycle. This phase will last from ovulation until the beginning of your next menstrual period. During your luteal phase your body is preparing for menstruation and the star hormone that takes over is progesterone. Progesterone is our calming, anti-anxiety hormone that helps maintain the uterine lining for a potential pregnancy. If we aren’t producing enough progesterone, this is when we will experience premenstrual symptoms. So focus on eating foods that support progesterone production, particularly those high in Vitamin C such as citrus fruits, kiwi and red capsicum/peppers. 

Nutrition is especially important during your luteal phase as metabolism increases, requiring greater caloric intake, which is why one usually feels more hungry premenstrually. 

Focus particularly on supporting blood sugar levels during this phase to help stabilize moods, energy and prevent cravings and PMS. Two ways to do this are, one: eating consistent meals throughout the day and avoiding skipping meals. Two: intentionally combining protein, healthy fats and slow-burning carbs (like grains and sweet root veggies) at every meal.

Increasing intake of magnesium and B6 during the luteal phase will also help with progesterone production, cramp prevention and easing PMS and anxiety. Magnesium rich foods include pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and legumes, while B6 is found in organ meats, potatoes and starchy veggies. 

The bottom line: Nutrition is #1 when it comes to your hormonal health, as food provides your body with the energy and nutrients it needs to make and break down hormones. So focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods is one of the most impactful tools to balance your hormones, experience regular menstrual cycles and free yourself from symptoms that cause you suffering. 

What do you recommend avoiding during each phase?

It’s important to have an overall awareness and understanding of the foods and drinks that can contribute to hormonal imbalances and make symptoms worse when consumed regularly. These include:

  • Alcohol
  • Sugary cereals 
  • Trans fats, refined vegetable oils like canola and sunflower oil  
  • Processed, packaged foods 
  • Processed meats 
  • Refined sugar
  • Soft drinks and concentrated fruit juices

Consuming too many of these types of foods and drinks doesn't do us any favors when it comes to blood sugar levels, inflammation, hormones, period health or fertility. So, focusing on foods that come from mumma earth, not a factory is my motto!

A common question I get is around coffee. We all know coffee has its health benefits, however, regardless of what any scientific study says about the benefits of coffee, the most important question is, how does coffee make you feel? Because for many people, it can exacerbate PMS, cramps, IBS, insomnia, anxiety and mood swings. If this is you, it's an invitation to re-evaluate your relationship with coffee and look for better alternatives that can replace this habit.

If coffee does work for you, I usually recommend limiting coffee to one cup per day, and when you are in your luteal and menstrual phase, switching coffee out for a more nourishing and hormone supportive alternative like Moonbox Lunas Lattes - there are Adaptogenic Matcha, Cacao and Turmeric lattes to choose from. 

What are some other common underlying root causes of PMS symptoms to explore?

Symptoms of PMS range from mood swings, bloating, acne, headaches, insomnia, cramps, fatigue, cravings and anxiety.

PMS is caused by an imbalance in hormones, where most commonly estrogen is dominant, absolute or relative to progesterone. There are multiple factors that cause estrogen dominance, and it's never just one thing which is why a holistic approach to balancing hormones is key.

The most common root causes of PMS are:

  1. A diet low in vegetables and fiber. We need fiber to feed a healthy gut microbiome and help with the elimination of excess hormones through bowel movements. This is why gut health is so important when it comes to hormonal health. If you struggle with gut imbalances like IBS, leaky gut, or candida, or digestive dysfunction like constipation, you'll likely struggle with your hormones too. 
  2. Diets high in sugar, alcohol, conventional dairy products and refined carbs.
  3. Stress, which could be from work, financial, relationship challenges, unresolved trauma, under eating, sedentary lifestyle, nutrient deficiency and blood sugar imbalances. 
  4. Environmental pollutants and hormone-disrupting chemicals in our environment can contribute to hormonal imbalances 
  5. Lack of exercise or over exercise 

When healing PMS and pain with my clients we focus on diet, lifestyle and environmental factors while digging deeper to understand each person's unique triggers. After 1 to 3 menstrual cycles you should notice improvements in symptoms.

If you want to learn more about creating a lifestyle for balanced hormones and healthier menstrual cycles you can download my FREE in-depth guide here:

To learn more about holistically supporting your hormones follow Nikki Gonda on Instagram.


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Nikki Gonda

Nikki Gonda is an international speaker, period expert, nutritionist & founder of My Moonbox – a business on a mission to transform the way women experience their periods. Nikki believes that reclaiming your hormonal health is the missing key when it comes to feeling your best and living your most fulfilled life.