That time of the month can be uncomfortable as it is, with symptoms such as abdominal cramps, bloat, headaches, general fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea and emotional upheaval. What are some of the foods we can eat (or avoid) to make things better?
Here are some tips:
- Stay hydrated
While you are menstruating, you are losing water. This may cause your body to retain water and bloat. You can also suffer dehydration headaches as a result.
Staying hydrated is key. It is best to drink water and herbal teas. Avoid fizzy drinks.
Drinking plenty of water can also stop you from retaining water and bloating.
2. Consume fruit
Water-rich fruits, such as watermelon and cucumber, are great for staying hydrated. Sweet fruits can help you curb your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars, which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash.
3. Eating dark green leafy vegetables
Given that you are losing blood when you are on your period, your iron levels can dip which can, in turn, lead to fatigue, body aches and dizziness. This is particularly so when your menstrual flow is heavy.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can boost your iron levels. Spinach is also rich in magnesium.
4. Adding Tumeric to your diet
Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory spice, and curcumin is its main active ingredient. A 2015 study looked at the effects of curcumin on PMS symptoms and found that people who took curcumin had less severe symptoms.
5. Snacking on Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a tasty and beneficial snack that is rich in iron and magnesium.
A 2010 studyTrusted Source found that magnesium reduced the severity of PMS symptoms. According to a 2015 studyTrusted Source, people with magnesium deficiencies were more likely to have severe PMS symptoms.
6. Flaxseed Oil
A small study found that consuming flaxseed oil soothed constipation, a common symptom of menstruation. However, more research is needed to show how flaxseed oil can improve digestive health.
Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re a great source of protein. They also contain magnesium and various vitamins. Omega-3s can reduce the intensity of period pain, according to a 2012 study. Subjects who took omega-3 supplements found that their menstrual pain decreased so much that they could reduce the amount of ibuprofen they took.
A 2014 study showed that omega-3s can also reduce depression. For those who experience mood swings and depression around menstruation, omega-3s may be helpful.
Many people get yeast infections during or after their periods. If you tend to get yeast infections, foods that are rich in probiotics such as yoghurt can nourish the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may help you fight the infections.
Yoghurt is also rich in magnesium and other essential nutrients, like calcium.
9. Peppermint Tea
A 2016 study suggests that peppermint tea can soothe the symptoms of PMS. Specifically, it can relieve menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhoea.
For those who are allergic to dairy or intolerant to dairy, Kombucha is a probiotic-rich dairy-free option to yoghurt.
11. Avoid salt
Consuming lots of salt leads to water retention, which can result in bloating. To reduce bloating, don’t add salt to your foods and avoid highly processed foods that contain a lot of sodium.
12. Do not eat too much sugar
Eating too much sugar can cause a spike in energy followed by a crash. This can worsen your mood. If you tend to feel moody, depressed, or anxious during your period, watching your sugar intake can help regulate your mood.
13. Watch your intake of caffeine
Caffeine can cause water retention and bloat. It can also exacerbate headaches. But caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, too, so don’t cut out coffee completely if you’re used to having a few cups a day.
Coffee might also cause digestive issues. If you tend to get diarrhoea during your period, reducing your coffee intake could stop this from happening.
14. Reduce your consumption of alcohol
Alcohol can exacerbate the symptoms of your period.
For example, alcohol can dehydrate you, which can worsen headaches and cause bloating. It can also lead to digestive issues, such as diarrhoea and nausea.
Plus, a hangover can bring on some of the same symptoms that occur during your period, including:
15. Avoid red meat
During your period, your body produces prostaglandins. These compounds help your uterus contract and get rid of the uterine lining, resulting in your menstrual flow. However, high levels of prostaglandins cause cramps.
Red meat may be high in iron, but it is also high in prostaglandins and should be avoided during menstruation.
16. Cut the spice
Spicy foods can upset stomachs and cause diarrhoea, stomach pain, and even nausea. If your stomach struggles to tolerate spicy foods or if you’re not used to eating them, it might be best to avoid them during your period.