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Maximise Your Hormonal Power with Food

Maximise Your Hormonal Power with Food
8 August 2022 Samantha Anderson

WUKA Menstrual Lifestyle Expert shares guide to fueling up to sustain wellbeing not just on your period but through every phase of your monthly cycle.

When it comes to nutrition and periods, it’s vital to adopt a holistic view. The entire menstrual cycle should be taken into consideration in order to feel at your best whilst on your period, and all cycle long.

For many of us, what happens to our minds and bodies throughout the menstrual cycle remains somewhat of an enigma, despite 15 million people experiencing it every month in the UK. But we can take steps to reap physical, mental and emotional health benefits just by understanding our cycles and eating foods in sync with the various stages.

In order to help the menstruating population better understand how nutrition and the menstrual cycle work together, Ruby Raut, Menstrual Lifestyle Expert at sustainable period product brand WUKA, shares her insights.

“From mood swings, cravings and cramps, to tiredness, headaches and bloating, the menstrual cycle causes all sorts of symptoms”, says Ruby, “and food choices can really complement your cycle to manage, reduce or even eliminate these symptoms.

“Understanding the impact of your diet and knowing what nutrients you need to prioritise at each stage of your cycle is important to feel more in control of period symptoms. Energy levels are also hugely dependent on where you are in your cycle, as hormone levels vary dramatically throughout. Food is the body’s external energy source; it is crucial in determining how we feel throughout any given month and has the power to counterbalance the impact of fluctuating hormone levels.”

Read on for Ruby’s guide to eating in sync with your cycle…


Iron rich foods are ideal to consume whilst on your period as the mineral plays a key role in the production of new blood cells, which carry oxygen around the body. During menstruation you can lose up to 50-80ml of blood, so iron is important in replenishing the blood lost. Great sources of iron include red meats such as beef and lamb or, for plant-based options, go for chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, quinoa, or green leafy veg such as kale. These can be eaten individually, as a side with meals or combined to create a superfood salad.

To minimise painful symptoms like headaches and cramps, reduce your intake of fatty and salty foods, like crisps or chips, as these increase water retention, which can cause bloating and dehydration. Fatty foods can also increase your chances of experiencing cramps as the lipids in the fat triggers the production of extra prostaglandins – a hormone that causes pain as part of your body’s healing process – leading to discomfort from uterine contractions.

Caffeine intake should be monitored too, as it can cause vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels, which can worsen period cramps. Caffeine is also a leading factor in disrupting sleep cycles, which is not ideal when experiencing hormonal fatigue.

If you require a hot drink to warm the start of your day, chamomile tea is a wonderful option full of anti-spasmodic properties and magnesium, both proven to help balance your mood.

Other ways to add magnesium to your diet in small, frequent doses, is by including spinach, watercress, almonds and pumpkin seeds to smoothies, yoghurt bowls and salads eaten throughout the day as energy-boosting snacks. Indulging your sweet tooth can also be period friendly; try dark chocolate for a great source of magnesium and iron!

Follicular Phase

During the follicular phase – from the first day of menstruation for around two weeks up to ovulation – you are more likely to feel energised, positive and motivated. This is due to increased oestrogen levels as your body prepares eggs for ovulation.

Use this time to take full advantage of renewed energy levels and strength. Your body’s main source of energy are carbs, wholefoods, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fibre,

If you are hitting the gym, a breakfast of overnight oats or porridge is a great way to up your fibre intake and can be topped with further nutritious foods such as flax seeds and açai berries. Fish for lunch or dinner will help you get a good dose of omega-3 into the diet. Experiment with lemon-infused mackerel or dill crusted salmon for a nutritious and delicious meal.

Make sure to stay hydrated during the follicular phase. With higher energy levels it is likely you will be more active or doing more intense workouts, which is great, so long as you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to avoid fatigue.

Ovulation Phase

During ovulation the ovaries release an egg and estrogen levels are at their peak. This phase lasts between 12 and 48 hours.

Zinc is important for supporting healthy ovulation as it regulates hormone function and cell division. Red meat, pumpkin, ginger, egg yolk, seafood and dairy are all great sources of zinc. Again, think of creative ways to add this to your diet without having to change everything up too much for a more sustainable adoption of cycle-friendly eating habits. A stir fry with added ginger or tasty pumpkin muffins are small changes that you can make to your regular meal rota and voila, cycle-boosting properties included!

Zinc also bolsters your immune system, which is vital at this stage as the immune system is suppressed in order to protect the egg.

To add immune system supporting super foods to your diet, nothing beats a smoothie: the ultimate easy and tasty snack that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Try a green smoothie containing spinach, celery, coconut, banana, a milk of your choice and spirulina, which also makes a great pre-workout snack.

You could opt for a glass of red wine as your drink of choice with an evening meal. Red wine is rich in antioxidants, which are important in protecting cells from damage, but be careful not to overindulge as too much alcohol can be detrimental to both hormonal and overall health.

Luteal Stage

Finally, the Luteal phase of the cycle occurs after ovulation and lasts around 14 days up until the first day of menstruation. It can be split into two parts. In the first 7 days, progesterone levels are at their peak and oestrogen is still high.

During the second half, however, these hormone levels drop dramatically, which can trigger PMS and generating symptoms such as acne, headaches, bloating and anxiety. Try to enrich your diet with foods that will improve your mood and skin at this time. Healthy fats are key as they are the building blocks of your cell membranes and have also been proven to reduce symptoms of depression. Foods like avocado, salmon, sesame and sunflower seeds will leave your skin feeling hydrated, soft and healthy.

The different stages of your cycle can feel like a turbulent journey of ups and downs physically, mentally and emotionally. These simple but easy adjustments to your diet can help regulate the rollercoaster and ultimately maximise your hormonal power!

For more information on WUKA, please visit


Notes to Editors:

  • WUKA Co-Founder, Ruby Raut, is available for interview
  • Please contact us should you be interested in receiving product samples for review or for competition prizes
  • For affiliate links please visit
  • For more information on WUKA, visit

For further press information, please contact:
Anna Nyman | Elsa Findlay | Julie Aguilera-Kemp
Rooster PR
T: +44 (0)203 440 8930
E: [email protected]

About WUKA
Founded in 2017 by husband and wife team, Ruby Raut and Dave Slocombe, WUKA is the UK’s leading period wear brand and was the first in the UK to produce fully leak-proof reusable period underwear that completely replaces the need for pads and tampons. Just one pair of WUKA period pants can save 200 single-use plastic-riddled disposables from going to landfill or polluting our oceans.

WUKA stands for Wake Up Kick Ass; because nothing should hold women back when on their period. The brand strives to empower the menstruating population, improve access to quality, sustainable period products, eliminate period poverty, and remove period shame and stigma.

Offering a range of award-winning undies to suit different menstrual flows, WUKA period pants hold from two to six tampons worth of period blood; the highest absorbency of any other period products. They are also available in the most extensive range of sizes on the market – from XXS, right up to 6XL.

WUKA also offers period leggings, period sports shorts, period swim bikini briefs, and a number of period accessories and gifts, including a wearable hot water bottle, wash bags, period wellness sets, and starter kits for tweens and teens.

All WUKA products are mindfully created, using the highest quality planet-friendly fabrics, to be both great for the body and good for the environment. From the Better Cotton Initiative, Organic Certified, to Vegan, PETA approved and certified Carbon Neutral+, WUKA underwear is all accredited and designed with the future in mind. Equality, inclusivity, and social & environmental responsibility are at the heart of everything WUKA does.

WUKA is available in Morrisons, Superdrug, Planet Organic, Urban Outfitters, and a range of independent zero waste and fashion retailers. You can also purchase WUKA products direct from the WUKA website.

Follow WUKA on Instagram: @wukawear