There’s no rule to how badly you will feel during your menstrual period. While some women go through this stage of the cycle with barely any symptoms, others struggle to get out of bed due to pains, cramping, headache and feeling nauseous.
Some foods can lessen these symptoms, while other foods can make them worse. While it may be tempting to reach for a can of soda or a piece of fried chicken to comfort your raging hormones, you’re actually doing a ton of harm both internally and externally.
Getting the right nutrition especially in these 5 days can counter muscle pain, uncomfortable bloating, headaches and inconsistent digestion. Even though it might seem totally legit to binge eat, you’ve got to take the hard road and make wiser choices. To help guide you along the way, here is a list of what to eat during periods and foods to avoid during your period.
FOODS TO AVOID
While all foods are OK in moderation, you might want to avoid certain foods that worsen the symptoms of your period.
- 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.
- CANDY AND SNACKS. You can get all of the sugar you are craving from eating fruits. You don’t have to resort to store-bought snacks. Not only do these snacks not contain healthy nutrients, but they also contribute to bloating and gas. You might benefit from a short-term spike in your sugar levels in terms of a better mood, but you will eventually crash and feel worse then you did before.
- CAFFEINATED DRINKS. Sugary, carbonated drinks like soda contribute to bloating. Stick to water instead. Upping your water intake will actually ease water retention and bloating.
- ALCOHOL. Please go virgin when it comes to alcoholic drinks while on your period. While alcohol may reduce cramps temporarily, there are too many negative effects for you to ignore—despite the temporary relief it may give you. It can cause your period to become irregular and also increase oestrogen levels in the body, worsening period symptoms.
- SPICY FOODS. Many people find that spicy food upset their stomachs, giving them 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.
- FRIED FOOD. Cut back on foods containing trans fats, which elevate estrogen levels, to reduce pain during your period. That means fried foods are out. Also, avoid anything with hydrogenated vegetable oil on the ingredient list.
FOODS TO EAT
- WATER. Drinking a lot of water is always important, and this is especially true during your period. Staying hydrated can reduce your chances of getting dehydration headaches, a common symptom of menstruation. Drinking plenty of water can also stop you from retaining water and bloating.
- BANANAS. If you’re suffering from an irregular bowel movement or period induced diarrhoea, bananas will make all your troubles go away. The vast amounts of magnesium, potassium, and fibre that banana contains will help with your bowel movement and will also have a relaxing impact on your mood. Magnesium is also known to be a useful muscle relaxer, and it will also help ease the cramping pain.
- ORANGES. Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. Vitamin D regulates the enzyme that converts tryptophan into serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Together, calcium and vitamin D ward off PMS symptoms. Find the winning combo in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and leafy greens
- LEAFY GREENS. This may be the last thing that you feel like stuffing your face with to distract yourself from cramps, but greens like spinach and kale are extremely important when you’re on your period because they contain heap loads of iron which is something that you’re in desperate need of while menstruating. So, toss a quick salad or make yourself some veggie lasagna to get those greens into your diet.
- DARK CHOCOLATE. Are you looking for any excuse to eat more chocolate? If you are, the period is the best time of the month to treat yourself with some healthy organic dark chocolate. Chocolate is the best period comfort food. However, stay away from drugstore sweets and processed candy, because the chocolate that contains artificial sugars isn’t it all beneficial to your health. Go to your local organic food store or any other organic food supplier and get some original, unprocessed dark chocolate.
- SALMON. Try having a salmon breakfast bagel to alleviate the monthly pains. Salmon contains copious amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids, a substance that contributes to relaxing the muscles in the body—it’s practically a godsend for reducing cramps. If you’re a vegetarian or just not a fish person, other foods that contain a lot of Omega 3 are flaxseeds and soybeans.