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Follicular Phase Foods Guide

Cycle Syncing | By: Katie Lister

February 15, 2024

What is the follicular phase? What physical symptoms occur in the follicular phase? Which foods should I eat during the follicular phase? If you have these and other questions, you have come to the right place!

Hi, I am Katie Lister, a practicing Registered Nurse and the founder of Growth Gals. I lead personal development groups and communities and coach women to grow into the best versions of themselves. GG provides women with a safe space to come together to learn and get support from other like-minded women.

At Growth Gals, we talk about various subjects affecting women’s health, including their menstrual cycle, such as foods to eat for every stage of the cycle. This article will provide the information you need about follicular phase foods and what to eat or avoid in line with the follicular menstrual phase.

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Katie Lister

Katie Lister

Written by Katie Lister, RN, BScN. An experienced Registered Nurse, Group Facilitator, Life Coach, and Community Leader. Read Katie's Full Author Bio

What is the Follicular Phase?

The follicular phase of your menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period and ends with ovulation. In this phase, the pituitary gland releases the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). This hormone triggers your ovaries to produce several tiny sacs called follicles, ranging from 5 to 20 sacs.

Each follicle contains an immature egg. Eventually, only the healthiest egg will mature from the 10th day of your cycle, although two eggs may mature in rare cases. Afterward, your body reabsorbs the remaining immature follicles. The mature follicle produces more estrogen, which thickens your uterus lining in preparation for a pregnancy. 

Rising estrogen levels signal the pituitary gland to slow FSH production, and the production of the luteinizing hormone (LH) surges, halting estrogen production and starting ovulation. Physical symptoms of the follicular phase include:

  • Increase in energy and physical strength
  • Basal body temperature typically ranging between 97 and 97.5. The basal temperature is the first temperature in the morning before you leave bed. The temperature increases during the ovulatory phase and stays elevated in the luteal phase.
  • Better clarity and mental focus
  • Some women may experience constipation and nausea

Find the best cycle syncing workouts for every woman in this article. 

How Diet Affects the Follicular Phase of Your Cycle

Tailoring your diet according to your menstrual cycle, or cycle syncing, is a crucial part of women’s health that manages premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms and promotes general well-being.

Other than nourishing your body with the right nutrients, your nutritional goals for this phase should include:

  • Hormonal Balance: Your diet can ensure you achieve hormonal balance as you enter the next menstrual cycle phase.
  • Digestive or gut health:  Ferments like sauerkraut and kimchi are rich in probiotics and good for your gut health by restoring the natural balance of bacteria. Fiber-rich foods like sweet potatoes, squash, and green peas promote better nutrient absorption and digestion.
  • Energy Levels: You must eat a balanced diet to keep your hormones balanced. Hormonal changes cause your energy levels to fluctuate, and whole grains help to sustain your energy levels.

What Should I Eat During the Follicular Phase?

The right cycle syncing food is crucial in the follicular phase as it provides your body with enough energy to prepare for egg release. During this stage, you need more carbs for energy compared to protein or fat.

Eat the following foods during the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle:            

  • Phytoestrogens: These include Flaxseeds, sesame seeds, tofu, garlic, and dried fruits.
  • Lean proteins like poultry, fish (trout), and red meat. Also, eat plant-based proteins like tofu and legumes. These proteins help with muscle growth, repair, and maintaining your blood sugar levels.
  • Complex carbohydrates like whole wheat, legumes, sweet potatoes, Quinoa, and brown rice for energy.
  • Vitamin B  like Leafy greens, eggs and avocados
  • Cruciferous vegetables like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, and kale
  • Fresh fruits for Vitamin C, like Citrus, apples, and berries, are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which support overall wellness and balance hormonal fluctuations.
  • Fresh vegetables such as broccoli, artichokes, carrots, green peas, parsley, zucchini, and string beans support estrogen metabolism.
  • Fermented and sprouted foods high in probiotics, like sauerkraut and kimchi
  • Healthy fats like nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, and flaxseeds), avocados, and olive oil are essential for balancing hormones and providing energy.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the follicle–stimulating hormone (FSH). High FSH levels are used for diagnosing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Water: Drink plenty of water to stay well-hydrated, as increased hormone levels can affect your hydration.

What Should I Avoid in the Follicular Phase?

Your diet can affect your hormones. Some foods can balance your hormones, while others can cause blood sugar spikes. You should avoid the following during your follicular phase:

  • Ultra-processed foods such as unhealthy or trans fats and fried foods with high salt content
  • High-glycemic index foods like sugary drinks and white bread can become problematic as they cause blood sugar surges
  • Excess caffeine, which affects your estrogen levels
  • Alcohol which affects your liver’s function and hormone balance
  • High-fat dairy
  • Foods with too many phytoestrogens, which affect your estrogen balance

Ideal Supplements for the Follicular Phase

It’s almost impossible to get the recommended nutrients from food. For instance, some nutrients, such as Heme iron and taurine, are only found in animal meat, which means vegans and vegetarians may not get them and must take supplements. Here are some of the supplements a nutritionist may recommend you to take alongside an iron-rich diet during the follicular phase:


Women between 19 and 50 need 18mg of iron daily, pregnant women need 27mg, and men only need 8mg. Getting enough iron from food alone is challenging, so iron supplements can help meet your daily needs. Taking supplements is especially important for women during their periods to combat fatigue. Iron supplements help women with heavy periods meet their daily iron needs and support energy utilization.

Maca Root

You can consume Maca root supplements during any menstrual cycle to maintain hormonal balance and improve energy levels.


Magnesium is helpful for blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, bone health, muscle function, protein production, and nerve messaging.

Fish oil

Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids essential for heart health, brain function, and inflammation reduction.


Zinc helps to rebalance excess or inadequate estrogen, progesterone, and cortisol in women. Zinc is also anti-inflammatory and provides support in the menstrual cycle for healthy hormone production. To supplement zinc, take a high-quality multivitamin that contains zinc in zinc amino and chelate, which are highly absorbable forms of zinc.

B Vitamins (B6 and B12)

Vitamin B6 supplements improve your chances of conceiving and improve the presence of vitamin B6 in the follicular fluid and blood. Vitamin 12 is essential for producing thyroid hormones, red blood cells, and the sleep hormone melatonin. Vitamin B12 also balances the sex hormones and prevents hormonal imbalances that impact your mood and reproductive health

Follicular Phase Foods To Alleviate Symptoms

You should aim for a wide variety of nutrients throughout the different phases of your menstrual cycle. However, here are some specific nutrients you should aim for during the follicular phase to alleviate any symptoms you may experience.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a significant part of a balanced diet but are especially important in women’s health. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). High FSH levels can cause menstrual cycle complications and are essential for diagnosing Polycystic-ovary syndrome (PCOS). Women with PCOS exhibit higher levels of FSH to LH.

Examples include:

  • Fatty fish (salmon)
  • Seeds like flaxseeds, pumpkin, chia, hemp, sunflower, and sesame seeds.
  • Nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts.
  • Eggs
  • Avocado
  • Plant-based oils like avocado and olive oil
  • Nut butter like peanut and almond butter
  • Edamame


High estrogen levels cause adverse effects like PMS, fibroids, and heavy periods. Phytoestrogens are phytonutrients that help to reduce excess estrogen and the adverse effects of the excess estrogen such as weight gain, fibroids, headaches, and low libido. Foods with phytoestrogens include:

  • Flaxseeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Garlic
  • Dried fruits


Magnesium helps metabolize estrogen, and magnesium levels are deficient during the follicular phase. Eat these magnesium-rich foods:

  • Almonds
  • Dark chocolate
  • Artichokes
  • Acorn squash
  • Avocados
  • Beets and beet greens
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Whole grains like Quinoa and brown rice


Fiber aids in healthy digestion and reduction of estrogen levels. Foods rich in fiber include:

  • Whole grains (brown rice, oats, and Quinoa)
  • Legumes like chickpeas, lentils and beans
  • Root vegetables like parsnips, carrots, potatoes and beets
  • Fruits like pears, oranges, and kiwis

What are the best luteal phase foods? This article has the answer. 

Follicular Phase Foods: How Growth Gals Can Help

At Growth Gals, we aim to inspire women to reach their full potential. We strive to create positive change by giving women resources to discover their true selves and expand their knowledge base. Growth Gals helps women overcome obstacles, learn more on various topics like follicular phase foods, and connect with others with similar experiences. We also encourage women to live a healthy, authentic life that aligns with their values. 

Subscribe to the Growth Gals newsletter to gain access to even more helpful guides and resources like courses, retreats, and workbooks for women. The newsletter will also tell you more about how we can support and help you live your best life and much more!


The follicular phase is a happy and energized phase of the menstrual cycle, although some women may experience nausea or PMS symptoms. The body is hard at work preparing your body for a potential pregnancy. Eating a balanced diet with the proper nutrients will nourish the body and stack up all the nutrients your body needs, which reduces PMS symptoms later in the menstrual cycle.

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