All of those wonderful rising hormones were building up to the second major moment in our menstrual cycle, ovulation. This is a true superhero moment where you feel at the peak of your powers – you’re the flower and all the bees are flocking to you. We still have lots of energy, from a second, smaller peak of estrogen, but it’s calmer, thanks to rising progesterone, the anti-inflammatory hormone that acts as its counterbalance.
What To Eat
Vitamin E: When we ovulate, we want to help our bodies make as much progesterone as possible. This hormone keeps us calm and helps activate GABA, a brain chemical, otherwise known as a neurotransmitter, which is like our body’s natural form of Valium. Adding in foods with vitamin E like spinach, avocado, sunflower seeds, almonds, kiwis and hazelnuts helps our body balance out estrogen and progesterone, so it makes the right amount for us.
Fermented Food: Our body wants us to ovulate into the healthiest possible environment and the foods we eat can help strengthen our immune system. Our gut (our small and large intestines) holds around 60 – 70% of our immune system, so when we nourish our gut health, we also nourish our immune system. Eating fermented food and drink like kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kombucha, full-fat natural and Greek yoghurt and sourdough bread helps us add healthy bacteria that support the health of our gut and our immune system.
How To Move
This is the time to move your body in a way that harnesses all that peaking energy. The rise of progesterone and second smaller peak of oestrogen means that it’s easier for your body to burn fat for energy. We metabolize more fat and protein during this time in our menstrual cycle, using more energy, which is why we might find that our appetite increases after we ovulate. This also means that after ovulation, endurance exercise such as long runs, spin classes with endurance elements and swimming can feel easier and take longer to tire you out.
Le’Nise Brothers is a yoga teacher and registered nutritionist, mBANT, mCNHC, specialising in women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle. She is also the host of the Period Story podcast, which aims to break taboos around menstrual health and hormones.
Le’Nise has helped hundreds of women improve their menstrual and hormone health through her private practice and group programmes, talks and workshops for the likes of Stylist, Channel 4, Ebay and TikTok and her Instagram page.
Her first book You Can Have A Better Period will be released on 8th March 2022.