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Let's Talk Periods: Luteal Cycle

During this cycle estrogen, progesterone and testosterone reach their peak concentrations and then begin to fall to their lowest levels right before bleeding begins. Estrogen thickens the uterine lining and progesterone keeps the uterine lining in place in anticipation of a fertilized embryo. PMS is a common but not necessary part of this phase, and results from too much estrogen in relation to progesterone production. In the first half of this phase you have more energy to spend with others. In the second half of this phase focus on taking care of yourself, say no more often and have firm boundaries - otherwise you may become irritated this week.

During the first week of this cycle you will likely have lots of energy. Use this to focus on strength training or intense yoga. Scale back in the second half of this cycle to lighter activities like walking, Pilates or yin yoga.

You should focus on foods rich in B Vitamins such as spinach, kale, chicken and eggs to help fight off sugar cravings. Eat avocado, almonds and bananas to boost your calcium/magnesium intake to reduce fluid retention and add roasted or baked root vegetables to help your liver and large intestine flush out estrogen more effectively.

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