January 5, 2021

What to Eat for Less Painful Periods. {Partner}

This article is written in partnership with Agni—they’re dedicated to crafting tasty, healing foods for your hormonal wellbeing, and we’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.

 

Explain this.

I’ve been the owner of a female body for 38 years now but it’s still basically a mystery to me.

I don’t mean the basic mechanics of it; I’m talking about…hormones. (Gah!)

They’re as amazing as they are infuriating: doing their complex chemical dance, sending different signals from one week to the next, affecting so much more than just the intensity of our chocolate cravings.

Traveling through life in a female body can feel a bit like being the captain of an enigmatic spaceship. Ummm, is that warning light supposed to be on?

In the case of cramps, sore boobs, nausea, headaches, or other painful symptoms during your period, the answer would be no. Did you know these symptoms may be a red light telling you that your body’s hormones need help cycling like they’re supposed to, which is an important part of fertility?

Neither did we—until we learned about natural hormonal balancing through Agni (which means “digestive fire” in Sanskrit and is central to the practice of Ayurveda). Their Medical Advisory Board offers input on the best wisdom and research available in their fields when it comes to helping to support your hormonal journey—wherever you are on your path.

Turns out the easiest way to balance your hormones is to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to make your endocrine system hum…

The fact that women have been omitted from or underrepresented in clinical research for such a long time has meant we’ve accepted and been living with a lot of things that aren’t necessarily “normal” for far too long.⁠

We’re only beginning to understand our cycles and to identify nutrients and behaviors that result in healthier, more comfortable periods, naturally-supported fertility, and better postpartum health. In this case, it makes a lot of sense to draw on the wisdom of “alternative medicine” usually based on ancient systems that have always taken the holistic nature of the body into account.

World-renowned Ayurvedic physician and educator, Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar, B.A.M.S., M.D. (Ayurveda) is one of many experts who advise on incorporating Ayurvedic principles into Agni’s naturally healing products and daily routines.

“The tradition of dinacharya (daily routine) is one of the single most powerful Ayurvedic tools for improving overall health and well-being.” ~ Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar

Our hormonal cycles are so much more than just PMS and periods. And there is a lot we can do to balance them as we move through each cycle, and each hormonal “life moment.”

How your cycle actually works.

The hormonal cycle is made up of two phases: follicular and luteal. These two phases can each be divided into two further sub-cycles: (menstruation + follicular phase) and (ovulation + luteal phase).

So, our periods are really just the beginning of a (roughly) four-week hormonal cycle where the brain, ovaries, and uterus work together to keep the cycle going. But, like those of us working remotely during the pandemic, they need a way to communicate.

Enter the endocrine system, the internal chemical messenger network responsible for sending hormones (chemical signals) through the blood from one part of the body to another at the right time and in the right amounts.

Through each phase, our body’s hormones need to cycle like they’re supposed to—which means a balanced ratio of estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH).

The balance (or imbalance) of these hormones can impact our bodies from head to toe. Quite literally. We might notice changes in everything from our hair, skin, poop, chronic disease symptoms, mental health, migraine headaches, or the way we experience sex at different points of our cycle. (1.)

What to eat for less painful periods.

Save 15% on Agni’s Expert-Approved Healing Foods with code EJ15 >>

⁠Without balance (or the right nutrients), our hormones can struggle to function properly—which can mean painful (or missing) periods, fertility, and even weight issues.

Seed cycling is a hormone-supporting practice that has been used in Ayurveda and other holistic practices to support women with hormonal imbalances, PCOS, fertility (and infertility), menopause, and general hormone health for thousands of years.

⁠The principle is basically that by eating specific seeds during the first and second half of our cycles, we’re fueling our bodies with lignans, zinc, omega 3s, selenium, and iron—all things that support endocrine function (a.k.a. healthy hormones).

Add to that a few strategic hormone-friendly foods, and a typical cycle would look something like this chart, created by the experts at Agni:

We can then tweak this to support our particular needs, like less painful periods, improved fertility, or healthier postpartum.

The science behind seed cycling.

While there isn’t a significant amount of research on the purported benefits of seed cycling, many people who use this ancient naturopathic practice swear by it. And there is a logical basis to it. For example, flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds all contain lignans, which are thought to mimic the effects of estrogen in the body.

Flax is also high in omega-3s and fiber. Pumpkin, on the other hand, is high in zinc and is believed to help support progesterone production and the release of the egg—which is the goal of the follicular phase.

Sesame and sunflower seeds, which you ingest during the luteal phase, have different nutrients that support your body as you enter the second phase of your cycle. Sunflowers are high in vitamin E, which is thought to help with hormone balance. (2.)

A simple, natural way to support better periods, fertility, and postpartum.

Save 15% on Agni’s Expert-Approved Healing Foods with code EJ15 >>

If you’re thinking this all sounds a bit complicated to track and plan, you’d be right.

Good news: this is exactly where Agni comes in.

Their healing food boxes are thoughtfully put together to support specific hormonal needs and life phases.

Co-founders of Agni, Astrid & Mir, struggled with debilitating allergies, painful periods, and prenatal bumps in the road that left them feeling depleted. They also watched their sisters struggle through postpartum recovery and their mothers struggle through menopause, often embarrassed to voice their symptoms and offered very few options for relief.

After walking the long, winding, and expensive road to hormonal balance themselves, they came back to the simple power of healing foods.

So, they built their Medical Advisory Board (practitioners from Western Medicine, Chinese Medicine, Functional Medicine, Ayurveda, Naturopathic Medicine) and assembled a team of food geniuses to create foods and drinks that both your body and your tastebuds will love.

All sourced and packaged in the most organic, sustainable way possible.

Think Double Chocolate Chip Cookies so tasty that your biggest problem will be not eating them all on day one of your cycle, and incorporating all the hormone-balancing goodness of:

>> Cocoa Powder: contains iron, which supports overall hormone health, healthy energy, and increased focus.
>> Coconut Oil: high in Omega 3, which supports hormonal balance and helps reduce cramping during menstruation.
>> Shatavari: contains anti-inflammatory properties and is traditionally used to balance hormones.
>> Ashwagandha: an ancient medicinal herb celebrated for supporting adrenal function and offering a sense of calm.

And soothing, nourishing Tulsi Cinnamon Tea to support your natural circadian rhythm, incorporating:

>> Red Raspberry Leaf: contains magnesium, potassium, iron and b vitamins, traditionally used to tonify the uterus.
>> Nettle: high in minerals with a long history of use to support expecting and nursing moms and to relieve arthritis.

There’s also Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies, Sesame Nori Seasoning, Peppermint Chasteberry Tea, and Cinnamon Maca Seasoning…delicious healing food for every hormonal phase and life moment.

Because they wanted to make their products as good (read easy to use, simple to understand, and perfect for your personal needs) as possible, they also built boxes that combine their range according to your body’s needs at this moment in your hormonal journey.

 

Choose the box that’s right for your hormone-balancing needs:

For the Ones Doing All the Work

1. The New Mom Box

1/5
Designed to support breast milk production, hormone balance, restful sleep, and digestion, Agni’s New Mom Box features 24 essential ingredients—in food form—to support mom + baby through every phase of recovery.
Get 15% off with code EJ15
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References:

(1.) Clue 
(2.) Woman’s Day 

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