Making the most of your follicular phase
June 16, 2023

Making the most of your follicular phase

Discover the power of your follicular phase. 

Unlocking the magic of your follicular phase

Let’s get right to it. Each month, during the years between puberty and menopause, a woman’s body goes through a series of hormonal changes. In essence, to get ready for a possible pregnancy. These hormone-driven events = the menstrual cycle.

During each cycle, an egg develops and is released from the ovaries. The lining of the uterus builds up. If a pregnancy doesn’t happen, the uterine lining sheds. Thus, the cycle starts again! A woman’s menstrual cycle has four distinct phases: menstrual, follicular, ovulatory, and luteal. Today we’re focusing on the first half—the follicular phase.

What is the follicular phase?

The follicular phase marks the start of your hormonal journey each month. As the longest phase in your cycle, it’s characterized by renewed vitality and fresh beginnings. During this phase, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) rises, stimulating the growth of follicles in your ovaries. Within these follicles, an egg matures, ready to be released later in the cycle.

It begins on the first day of your menstrual cycle, which is marked by the onset of menstrual bleeding. The length of the follicular phase varies, but it generally lasts around 10-14 days. It ends with the start of ovulation (when a mature egg is released from the ovary).

Keep in mind that individual menstrual cycles can vary, and factors such as hormonal fluctuations and cycle irregularities can affect the exact timing of the follicular phase.

What to expect during the follicular phase

For most women, energy levels and mood experience an upswing during this stage. Hello, enthusiasm and optimism! The follicular phase is crucial because it sets the foundation for ovulation and the potential to conceive. Beyond fertility, this phase holds great importance for personal growth and empowerment. It provides an opportunity to harness the natural surge of energy—channel it towards self-care, setting intentions, pursuing new endeavors, and nurturing connections. By embracing the potential of the follicular phase, you can tap into your inner strength and creativity.

What to eat during the follicular phase

A variety of nutrients is always key! They help boost mood, support stable blood sugar, minimize nutrient deficiencies, balance hormones, and support sleep. During the follicular phase, specifically, you want to focus on nutrients that metabolize estrogen. Estrogen levels naturally rise during this phase. To maintain optimal levels, eat foods with nutrients that help naturally support your detox pathways such as cruciferous vegetables and Phase 1 of our seed cycling blends. Along with these, eating to support the follicular phase looks like emphasizing the nutrients below.

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids: Mackerel, wild-caught salmon, cod liver oil, sardines, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-3s also act as the starting point for making hormones that regulate blood clotting, inflammation, and more.
  2. Fermented foods: Kimchi, sauerkraut, probiotic-rich yogurt, miso, non-GMO tempeh, and sourdough bread are great examples. Good gut bacteria is a necessity for the digestive system to break down food and absorb its nutrients. Healthy gut bacteria also plays a vital role in regulating your hormones (especially estrogen).
  3. Magnesium: Pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, spinach, oats, etc. There is a fluctuation of certain minerals during the menstrual cycle, and magnesium levels are lowest during the follicular phase. Consuming magnesium-rich foods during this time can help magnesium and its role in metabolizing estrogen.
  4. Fiber: All produce is rich in fiber—particularly leafy greens, berries, legumes, and seeds. We need fiber for many reasons, including healthy digestion and reducing estrogen levels.

How to exercise during the follicular phase

Did you know that the follicular phase is an ideal time to strength train? That’s right. Several studies have looked at differences in responses to strength training in the follicular phase versus training in the luteal phase. Some research has found that strength training during the follicular phase resulted in higher increases in muscle strength compared to training in the luteal phase. Of course, the aim is to always listen to your body—but if you’re keen on building muscle and getting stronger, the follicular phase is a great time to start.

Tracking our cycles

Given that your period is one of the most important vital signs, tracking it is key! By monitoring your menstrual cycle over a few months, you can identify routine patterns—think: mood, energy, cravings, discomfort, etc. Specifically, a tracking app can help you better understand the length and timing of your follicular phase.

Whether you’re trying to balance your hormones, get pregnant, or a combination of both, here’s your gentle nudge to download one of these period monitoring apps. We love MyFlo by Alisa Vitta. 

Make these seed cycling samoa cookies

Chocolate, anyone? These seed cycling samoa cookies are the perfect sweet treat during your follicular phase. Packed with healthy fats, a hint of vanilla, and energizing carbs, you’ll always want these on hand.

Speaking of healthy fats, the right fats play a vital role in supporting female hormonal health. Our hormones rely on certain fats for their production and regulation. Aim for 1-2 sources of healthy fats, per meal: coconut, extra-virgin olive oil, organic dairy, avocado, nuts, and seeds.

Our seed cycling blends can help you feel and do your best

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