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Optimizing Fertility: Hormone-Balancing Foods throughout Your Cycle

For women trying to conceive, nutrition (food) plays a crucial role in supporting hormone balance and overall fertility. Each phase of the menstrual cycle—from the follicular phase to ovulation, the luteal phase, implantation, and menstruation—presents unique nutritional needs. By focusing on key vitamins and minerals, along with specific foods rich in these nutrients, women can support their hormones and enhance their chances of conception.

*This article is written using a 28 day cycle. Your cycle may be shorter or longer and you should adjust nutrient intake based on YOUR cycle. Learn more about a what a normal cycle looks like here.

woman eating a healthy meal

Follicular Phase (Days 1-14)

During the follicular phase, which begins on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation, the focus is on preparing the body for ovulation. Nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin C, and zinc are particularly important during this phase.

  • Vitamin E: Supports overall hormone function and is crucial for healthy egg maturation. Foods high in vitamin E include almonds, spinach, and pumpkin seeds.

  • Zinc: Essential for hormonal balance and the production of healthy eggs. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, beef, and pumpkin seeds.

  • Seed Cycling for Hormonal Balance: Incorporating seed cycling into your diet can help support hormonal balance during the menstrual cycle. In the follicular phase, flaxseeds and pumpkin seeds are recommended. Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, which can help balance estrogen levels, while pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc, which supports progesterone production. Read more on seed cycling here.

smoothie acai bowl

Ovulation (Days 13-15)

Ovulation marks the release of a mature egg from the ovary, ready for fertilization. During this phase, the focus shifts to supporting ovulation and ensuring optimal conditions for conception.

  • Vitamin B12: Supports energy production and the development of healthy red blood cells. Foods high in vitamin B12 include fish, meat, and dairy products.

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Have anti-inflammatory properties and may help support implantation. Fatty fish like salmon, chia seeds, and walnuts are rich in omega-3s.

Luteal Phase (Days 15-28)

The luteal phase is characterized by the formation of the corpus luteum, which produces progesterone to support the uterine lining. Adequate intake of vitamin B6, iron, and magnesium are important during this phase.

  • Vitamin B6: Helps regulate the menstrual cycle and supports the production of progesterone. Bananas, potatoes, and chicken are good sources of vitamin B6.

  • Iron: Essential for the formation of hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to the cells. Leafy greens, red meat, and lentils are good sources of iron.

  • Magnesium: Supports muscle relaxation and may help reduce cramping. Spinach, almonds, and avocados are rich in magnesium.

  • Seed Cycling for Hormonal Balance: In the luteal phase, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are recommended. Sesame seeds contain lignans that can help balance estrogen levels, while sunflower seeds are rich in selenium, which supports liver function and hormone metabolism.

Implantation (Days 6-10 after ovulation)

After fertilization, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube and implants itself into the uterine lining. Supporting this process involves maintaining a healthy uterine lining and ensuring optimal sperm and egg health.

  • Folic Acid: Essential for the early development of the neural tube in the fetus. Foods rich in folic acid include leafy greens, lentils, and fortified grains.

  • Vitamin D: Supports immune function and may help regulate menstrual cycles. Fatty fish, fortified dairy products, and sunlight exposure are sources of vitamin D.

  • Sperm Health: Adequate intake of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium, can support sperm health and motility. Foods rich in these antioxidants include citrus fruits, nuts, and seeds.

salmon and veggies

Menstruation (Days 1-5)

During menstruation, the focus is on replenishing nutrients lost through bleeding and supporting hormone balance for the next cycle. Iron, vitamin C, and vitamin D are important nutrients to consider.

  • Iron: Since iron is lost during menstruation, it's important to consume iron-rich foods such as spinach, red meat, and lentils to replenish iron stores.


Optimizing nutrition throughout the menstrual cycle can help support hormone balance, implantation, and fertility. By focusing on key vitamins and minerals, along with a variety of nutrient-rich foods, women can enhance their fertility health and improve their chances of conception.

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If you are looking for a more personalized approach to nutritional support, supporting hormonal health and improving chances of conceiving, you can click here to sign up with a complimentary 15 minute phone call with me. We can discuss your goals at that time and determine whether or not we will be a good fit for each other.

Dr. Katie Zaremba natural fertility

Dr. Zaremba received her bachelor's degree from Western Michigan University in Biomedical Sciences and minored in Chemistry and Psychology. She completed her doctoral training at Palmer College of Chiropractic. During her time in school, she took post-doctoral training through The Clinic on Disease and Internal Disorders (CDID) earning her a Diplomate from the American Board of Chiropractic Internists (DABCI).



  1. Mikkelsen, T. B., et al. (2008). Association between serum level of vitamin D and female reproductive hormones. Fertility and Sterility, 89(6), 1668-1675.

  2. Chavarro, J. E., et al. (2008). Iron intake and risk of ovulatory infertility. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 108(5), 1145-1152.

  3. Gaskins, A. J., et al. (2015). Dietary folate and reproductive success among women undergoing assisted reproduction. Obstetrics & Gynecology, 125(2), 239-245.

  4. Cutler, D. A., et al. (2000). The roles of exercise and vitamin D in the prevention of osteoporosis. The California Journal of Health Promotion, 15(4), 44-49.

This web site offers health, wellness, fitness and nutritional information and is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this web site. The use of any information provided on this web site is solely at your own risk. Nothing stated or posted on this web site or available through any services offered by Dr. Katie Zaremba DC, Dr. Katie Zaremba LLC, are intended to be, and must not be taken to be, the practice of medicine. Information provided on this web site DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and any doctor affiliated with our web site. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



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