What’s Your Period Telling You About Your Diet?

There's a simple way to find out.

period pain cure diet
Image via Beige Renegade/Repeatly

Several months ago, while trawling the Internet for a natural period pain cure, I stumbled upon Alisa Vitti’s website, Flo Living, and was captured by her story. For years the New York native struggled with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), until she began researching the role food plays in controlling hormones. After adjusting her diet, a host of nasty symptoms (weight gain, fatigue, unwanted body hair growth, fertility issues, and painful periods are hallmarks of PCOS) started to subside quickly.

Next, she did what thousands of natural health proponents have done before her: She wrote a book about her experience. Unlike the others however, her book, WomanCode, has been in the top 50 best-selling women’s health books of all time since it was published, was turned into a web series on Lifetime, and launched her career as a hormone health expert. Vitti’s since appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” as well as programs on CBS and Fox, and in Shape and Women’s Health magazines.

Through her online program, Flo Living, Vitti teaches women to “cycle sync,” (her trademarked term). This involves selecting and avoiding specific foods at certain times of the month to avoid unwanted PMS symptoms. By eating foods such as leafy green vegetables and smoothies when estrogen levels are high (such as during ovulation), you can help the body process the hormone. This, and other food-based techniques are used in her program to balance estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during certain stages of your cycle. And although weight loss isn’t the primary goal here, she told us that it can take as little as four days of following her program to lose between four and 10 pounds.

natural period pain cure
Alisa Vitti believes changing your diet can cure your hormone issues. Image via Flo Living.

Just like your blood pressure and breathing rate can tell a doctor what’s wrong with your health, Vitti believes your period can also help determine issues with your diet and lifestyle. According to Vitti, there are five “types” of periods, and each offers telltale signs about the food missing from your diet. (Find your exact type here for free.)

“If your period starts and ends with a fresh, healthy, red color and is clot-free, then you’re doing great!” Vitti said. However if it’s “brown, spotty, clotty, long, short, light, or heavy,” she suggests doing the free quiz to learn what could be wrong and start fixing your food plan to avoid complications down the track. “Your diet must be adjusted ASAP to avoid further problems from occurring. If left untreated with food, the underlying hormonal imbalance can further develop into thyroid issues, infertility issues, worsening PCOS, developing cysts, fibroids, or endometriosis,” she warned.

Vitti says that one of the most universal symptoms, cramps, has to do with “an imbalance of PGE1, 2, and 3 levels,” a chemical series of prostaglandins that stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. “PGE 2 is what causes uterine contractions and PGE1 and 3 cause uterine relaxation,” Vitti explained, adding that the three should work harmoniously to make sure you don’t experience pain. If you’re experiencing pain, try eating more essential fatty acids to restore the balance: “Cramps are the result of insufficient [essential fatty acids] in your diet that keep PGE levels balanced. Focus on fatty fish, avocados, and flax to help restore the chill factor back to your uterus,” she said.

To find out what your specific period symptoms are telling you about your diet and lifestyle, head to the Flo Living website.