Importance Of Protein Intake During Menstrual Cycle

Written by Rama Manikumar on Fri, 01 December 2023 — Fact checked by GHBY Team

Key Highlights

  • The menstrual cycle requires a lot of energy to be spent, and the body too experiences multiple changes that one has to cope with.
  • Eating for your cycle with sufficient sources of protein can save the body from excessive wear, and support its functions, especially when dealing with hormonal changes and disorders.
  • Plant-based sources, alternatives, and shakes are all options that one can explore. All that’s important to remember is to consult a professional about the ideal menstrual cycle diet.  

The menstrual cycle can be physically demanding, and consuming sufficient protein helps support tissue repair and recovery, especially during menstruation when the uterine lining is shed and needs to be regenerated. Protein for periods is crucial for maintaining bodily strength and its capacity to cope with the changes it experiences.

Protein helps in follicle development and can also calm inflammation. In addition, it is an important source of energy and blood sugar which helps especially with hormonal disorders such as the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Protein shakes for PCOS help manage weight and also provide metabolic support. Not only does it provide amino acids which aid in organ repair, but it is also known to support the maintenance of a healthy body mass - all of which are really important to the body, especially during menstruation.

Read on to learn more about eating for your cycle and the importance of good protein consumption.

Benefits of protein during period

Benefits of protein during period

Protein intake plays an essential role in overall health and well-being, including during the menstrual cycle. There is a significant link between protein and menstrual cycle health.

We have listed some of the main benefits below:

1: Hormone production and balance

  • Proteins are composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks for hormones. Hormones play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle, including the release of eggs and the shedding of the uterine lining.
  • Eating for your menstrual cycle helps support the production and balance of hormones involved in the process.

2: Tissue repair and regeneration

  • The menstrual cycle involves the shedding and regeneration of the uterine lining. Protein for periods is necessary for tissue repair and regeneration, as it provides the amino acids needed for the growth and maintenance of body tissues.
  • Adequate protein intake supports the replenishment of the uterine lining and aids in the recovery process.

3: Blood production

  • Iron is an essential mineral for blood production, and protein helps with its absorption and utilization.
  • During menstruation, iron loss occurs through the shedding of blood. Consuming sufficient protein during periods, along with iron-rich foods, can help support the body's iron levels and prevent anemia, which can lead to fatigue and weakness.

Blood production

4: Energy balance and satiety

  • Protein is a macronutrient that provides energy and helps regulate blood sugar levels. Eating for your cycle and including protein-rich foods in your diet can help maintain stable energy levels, reduce cravings, and promote a feeling of fullness.
  • This can be particularly beneficial since hormonal fluctuations during this time may lead to changes in appetite and food cravings.

5: Muscle recovery and strength

  • Physical discomfort, such as menstrual cramps, can occur during the menstrual cycle. A menstrual cycle diet requires adequate protein intake that supports muscle recovery and repair.
  • This can help alleviate muscle soreness and promote strength and well-being. Engaging in regular exercise and consuming protein-rich foods can help maintain muscle mass and support physical resilience during this time.

How to increase protein during menstrual cycle

increase protein during menstrual cycle

To increase your intake of protein during periods, you can incorporate the following strategies:

1: Choose protein-rich foods

  • Focus on including protein-rich foods in your meals and snacks.
  • Good sources of protein such as legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, or black beans), tofu, tempeh, edamame, and nuts/seeds, all help.

2: Prioritize complete protein sources

  • Protein and the menstrual cycle go hand in hand. Complete proteins contain all the essential amino acids needed by your body.
  • If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you can combine different plant-based protein sources to create complete proteins. For instance, combining legumes with whole grains or seeds.

3: Include protein with every meal

  • Aim to have a source of protein at each meal.
  • For example, add nuts and seeds to your breakfast, have a tofu stir-fry for lunch, and include beans in your dinner.

protein with every meal

4: Snack on protein-rich foods

  • Incorporate protein-rich snacks into your daily routine. Snack options can include a handful of nuts or seeds, protein bars or balls, or protein smoothies.
  • Protein shakes for Pcos can also be a game changer in terms of hormonal changes that one may face.

5: Consider protein supplementation

  • If needed, you can supplement your protein intake with protein powders or shakes. There are various types available, including plant-based protein (such as pea, rice, or soy protein), or other alternative protein sources.
  • Choose a protein powder that fits your dietary preferences and goals, and is also high in quality.

6: Optimize meal planning

  • Plan your meals ahead of time to ensure you have enough protein during periods and that foods rich in the same are readily available.
  • This can help you make intentional choices and prevent relying on less nutritious options when hunger strikes.


While protein for periods is not a direct indicator or reflection of specific menstrual cycle events, it is an important nutrient that supports the underlying physiological processes involved in the cycle. Maintaining a balanced and adequate protein intake can help support overall health and well-being during this time.

Remember, individual protein needs can vary based on factors such as age, weight, activity level, and overall health. Everyone's nutritional requirements and preferences are different, so it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Protein during periods itself does not directly reflect specific changes or events within the menstrual cycle. However, protein is involved in various physiological processes that occur during the menstrual cycle. These processes include hormone production, tissue repair, blood production, energy balance, and muscle recovery.

For example, during the follicular phase, the ovaries produce estrogen, and protein is needed to support its synthesis. In the luteal phase, the ovaries produce progesterone, which is also dependent on adequate protein intake. 

Protein shakes can cause stomach discomfort during your period due to several possible reasons. You might have a sensitive digestive system or pre-existing conditions and certain protein shake ingredients may not agree with you. Considering the concentration of protein in them, consuming a large amount may also overwhelm your system. Similarly, the hormonal changes that you are going through may cause discomfort.  

During the menstrual phase, eating for your cycle is crucial. It's important to prioritize a balanced and nutritious diet that supports your overall well-being and helps manage any discomfort or symptoms you may experience. Incorporate iron-rich foods, omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium-rich foods, calcium, carbs, proteins, and hydrating foods into your meals.  

Additionally, listen to your body and pay attention to your individual needs and cravings during your menstrual phase. If you experience food cravings, try to satisfy them in a balanced manner.

Yes, you can drink protein shakes during your period. Protein shakes can be a convenient and efficient way to supplement your protein intake and support your nutritional needs at this time. Protein shakes can provide essential amino acids, promote muscle recovery, and help meet your protein requirements. Especially if you’re dealing with hormonal disorders, protein shakes for Pcos too can help alleviate difficulties.

Choose protein shakes that align with your dietary preferences and any specific restrictions you may have. There are various options available, including plant-based protein, or other alternative protein sources. 


Rama Manikumar

Rama is a nutritionist and a lifestyle consultant. Having worked in the health industry for more than 20 years, her expertise in health and well-being brings a fresh and healthy approach to everyday habits- food and lifestyle. She walks the talk and delivers excellent quality nutrition, and helps develop habits that peak health & Well- being. Rama Holds a Batchelor’s degree in Biology; Extended/Specialized degree in Nutrition & Dietetics (Pennsylvania State Univ. USA).

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Current Version

Dec, 01 2023

Written By

Rama Manikumar

Fact checked By