Many women experience uncomfortable symptoms during their menstruation. Certain foods can lessen these symptoms, but they can become more severe if they are not taken correctly. These symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramps
- Mood swings
These symptoms can be treated by adding certain foods to your diet or removing other foods.
Foods to Eat
It is important to drink lots of water, especially during periods. Dehydration headaches are a common side effect of menstruation. It is important to stay hydrated.
You can also avoid bloating and water retention by drinking plenty of water.
For staying hydrated, water-rich fruits like cucumber and watermelon are great. Sweet fruits can curb sugar cravings. However, you should avoid eating too many refined sugars which can cause glucose levels to spike then crash.
Leafy green vegetables
A dip in iron levels can be common during periods, especially if you have heavy menstrual flows. This can cause fatigue, dizziness, and bodily pain.
Leafy green vegetables can increase iron levels like spinach and kale. Magnesium is also found in spinach.
Warm ginger tea can help improve some symptoms of menstruation. Ginger can reduce the pain of achy muscles due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
It may also help reduce nausea. Although not many studies support this claim, a 2018 study showed that ginger reduced nausea and vomiting in the first trimester. It’s safe, inexpensive, and well worth the effort.
Ginger should not be consumed in excess. Consuming more ginger than 4 grams per day can cause stomachaches and heartburn.
You can also add chicken to your diet. Protein is important for your overall health. It can help curb cravings and keep you full during periods.
Fish is rich in iron, protein and omega-3 fatty acid, making it a healthy addition to your diet. Iron will help to counter the iron loss you may experience during menstruation.
According to a 2012 study, omega-3s may reduce the intensity and duration of period pain. The pain levels of subjects who took omega-3 supplements were so low that they could decrease the dosage of ibuprofen.
One 2014 study found that omega-3s may also help with depression. Omega-3s could be beneficial for those suffering from mood swings or depression related to menstruation.
Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties. One 2015 study examined the effects of curcumin and PMS symptoms. It was found that those who took curcumin experienced less severe symptoms.
Dark chocolate is a delicious and healthy snack. A 100g bar of 70% to 85 percent dark chocolate has 67 percent of the daily recommended intake (RDI), and 58 percent the RDI of magnesium.
According to a 2010 study, magnesium was found to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms. A 2015 study found that people suffering from magnesium deficiencies are more likely to experience severe PMS symptoms.
Nuts are a good source of omega-3 fatty acid and protein. Nuts also contain vitamin A and magnesium. Nut butters and nut-based milks are also options. You can also add them to smoothies.
7.195 mg of omega-3 fatty acid per 15 milliliters flaxseed oil The Office of Dietary Supplements estimates that you only need between 1,100 and 1,600 mgs of omega-3s daily.
One small study showed that flaxseed oil could reduce constipation, which is a common side effect of menstruation. More research is needed to prove that flaxseed oil can help improve digestion.
Quinoa is high in nutrients like iron, protein and magnesium. Quinoa is gluten-free so it’s great for celiac patients. It has a low Glycemic Index, meaning you will feel fuller and more energetic for a longer time after eating it.
Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are high in protein, making great meat substitutes for vegetarians and vegans. If you have low iron levels, they are a great option to add to your diet.
Many women get yeast infections after or during their periods. Probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt may help fight yeast infections.
Yogurt is rich in magnesium and other important nutrients like calcium.
Tofu, which is made from soybeans, is a popular source of protein both for vegetarians as well as vegans. It is rich in iron and magnesium as well as calcium.
According to a 2016 study, peppermint tea may relieve symptoms of PMS. It can help relieve cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and other symptoms of PMS.
Yogurt isn’t the only food rich in probiotics that has yeast-fighting properties. Kombucha tea, which is made without dairy, is an excellent fermented food. It’s now more readily available than ever. Avoid kombucha drinks with too much sugar.
Avoid these foods
All foods can be enjoyed in moderation. However, certain foods may worsen your symptoms.
Bloating can be caused by excessive salt intake. Avoid salty foods, which can lead to bloating.
Sugar is fine in moderation. However, too much can lead to a spike in energy and a crash. This can make you feel worse. You can regulate your mood by watching how much sugar you eat.
Caffeine can lead to water retention and bloating. Caffeine can also cause headaches. However, caffeine withdrawal can also cause headaches. If you drink a lot of coffee per day, don’t stop.
You might also experience digestive problems from coffee. Reduce your intake of coffee if you have diarrhea.
The effects of alcohol on your body can be detrimental and can worsen your symptoms.
Alcohol can cause you to feel bloated and dehydrated. You may also experience digestive problems like nausea and diarrhea.
A hangover can also cause symptoms similar to those experienced during your period.
Many people find spicy foods can cause stomach upsets. This can lead to nausea, diarrhea, stomach pain, and even stomach ulcers. It might be best to avoid spicy foods during your period if your stomach is sensitive or you aren’t used to them.
Your body produces prostaglandins during your period. Prostaglandins are compounds that help the uterus contract, and eliminate the uterine lining. This results in menstrual flow. Prostaglandins can cause cramps if taken in high amounts.
While red meat is high in iron, it should also be avoided during menstruation.
Foods that you can’t tolerate
Although it may seem obvious, this is important to remember: Avoid foods that are high in food sensitivities during your period.
You might indulge in milkshakes if you are lactose intolerant. It’s important to avoid foods that could cause problems in your body during your period.
These foods can cause nausea, constipation or diarrhea. This will only make it worse if you are having a painful period.
Other cramp remedies
You can also avoid certain foods and eat less of them to relieve the symptoms. These are also options:
- Exercise. There is some evidence that light cardio and yoga can help reduce cramps during menstruation.
- Hot compresses. Hot water bottles and microwaveable hot compresses are great options to relieve pain in the back and abdomen.
- Over-the-counter medication. You can reduce cramps with OTC medications such as Ibuprofen.
- Massages. Massages can help reduce pain in the stomach and back. A small study in 2010 found that massages helped to ease pain in 23 women with endometriosis.
You may experience cravings before or after your period. According to a 2011 study, progesterone, which is a hormone peaking just before your period, can cause a greater appetite. You might feel hungry at this time.
You might also feel the need to eat comfort food if you are feeling low. Enjoy the foods that you love, but moderation is important.
The bottom line
Some foods can be great for your period while others can worsen your symptoms. Your specific symptoms and food sensitivities will determine your eating and avoiding foods.
Consult a doctor if your periods become so painful that they affect your ability to function. This could indicate a more serious health problem.