You are here
Best foods to eat while on your period
You’re almost always surprised by its arrival, although you know it shows up like clockwork every single month. Your period. Present, problematic, painful!
Before and during their menstrual period, most women experience symptoms of bloating, fatigue, cramps, headaches, digestive problems, and mood swings. And while most times we resort to popping the most popular pills available for treating these symptoms, many of us do not look to, or even know about, some natural foods that can help alleviate our period blues.
If you’re like most women and looking for a way to shout out loud to your period blues to hit the road, then eat these basic, wholesome foods and nutrients to give your marching orders some resonance.
The high fiber content of beans and peas reduces the symptoms of cramps by producing bulkier stools with higher water content. This rids the body of excess fluid and also normalises digestion, reducing both constipation and diarrhea. Legumes are also a good source of B vitamins, which prevent cramps and menstrual fatigue. Be aware though that beans can create excess gas. Minimise this negative effect by eating small amounts and increasing slowly, or by taking a digestive enzyme.
Green vegetables are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, which help relieve and prevent the spasms that lead to cramping pain. These minerals can calm and relax emotions, reducing irritability. Dark green vegetables also contain high amounts of vitamin K, which is needed to coagulate blood and prevent excess bleeding.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A group of hormone-like substances in the body called prostaglandins are involved in muscle contractions and menstrual pain. One way to shut down the prostaglandin effect is by consuming omega-3 fatty acids like those contained in salmon, walnuts and flaxseed. A 1995 study in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" found that women whose diets are balanced in favour of omega-3s, rather than other fats, tend to have milder menstrual symptoms.
A report from Dr. Phyllis Johnson, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota, found that young women who consumed low amounts of manganese had an increased menstrual flow of up to 50 percent, leading Johnson to recommend that women with menstrual discomfort increase their manganese consumption. Fruits are high in manganese, but one of the richest manganese food sources is pineapple. Pineapple also contains high levels of bromelain, an enzyme thought to help relax muscles and therefore prevent menstrual cramping.
Tea is another source of manganese although women should avoid the caffeinated version, which can actually lead to greater menstrual discomfort. Ginger tea may be helpful in relieving nausea and bloating, and chamomile tea also contains properties that relieve muscle spasms and reduce the tension that can lead to anxiety and irritability.
Excessive fluid retention is one of the main causes of congestive symptoms seen with cramps, which are characterized by dull, aching pain. One of the very best ways to help decrease water retention, even though it may seem counterintuitive, is to increase water consumption--if a woman isn't drinking enough, her body may overcompensate by retaining extra water.
A study by British doctors found that eating small amounts of carbohydrates every three hours and within one hour of going to bed combated PMS symptoms in 70 percent of women. Whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium, which reduces neuromuscular tension. Whole grains also have B-complex vitamins and vitamin E to combat fatigue and depression.
Yogurt contains live and active cultures of bacteria that promote healthy digestion, and is also a good source of calcium, and getting twice as much calcium as an average woman should consume on a daily basis (1,300 milligrams instead of 600), seems to alleviate menstrual discomfort. But watch out for those calcium-rich meats and dairy products - they contain arachidonic acids, which increase the production of cramp-causing prostaglandins. Instead, choose nondairy forms of calcium such as broccoli, canned salmon with bones and calcium-fortified foods like cereals and juices.
Read more about this topic at http://www.livestrong.com
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.