Suffering from ferocious cramps? Eat these foods to help alleviate pain for an easier and happier period.
Giving a little bit more TLC to your body, by eating the right food, during that time of the month can make your period a little more tolerable. In fact, eating the right food even before your flow comes can lessen the discomfort, by relieving universal symptoms such as cramping, mood swings, bloating and nausea.
What makes your period light or heavy?
Period symptoms emerge as a result of hormonal imbalances – without getting too science-y, these are estrogen and progesterone. Depending on how imbalanced your hormones are (for example, higher estrogen and lower progesterone or vice versa), the more light or intense your symptoms are as the lining of the uterus tends to thin or thicken.
How can food affect your period?
The foods you eat during your menstruation cycle can help stabilise your hormones and support your body through this time of change. So, it’s beneficial to understand how you can use food as a friend during your cycle.
Before your cycle begins again (day 20-30), your estrogen drops and progesterone levels rise. At this time, your body will want to slow down, and you’ll feel less energy. Cravings are often stronger and you become hungrier during the day. Eating the right foods can help restore energy and eliminate snacking.
But it goes without saying, that it is important to eat the foods you enjoy. Use the list below to help guide your meals during your period for an easier and happier cycle.
Though it’s a common experience to crave ice cream and chocolate during your period – try to opt for dark chocolate, with high cacao percentage, instead. Dark chocolate contains iron and magnesium which soothes the muscles of the uterus and therefore softens the pain from period cramps.
Citrus, particularly lemons and oranges are rich in vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron from your food into your bloodstream and tissues. During your period, you tend to lose more red blood cells, so having more vitamin C is valuable – in fact, oranges contain even more vitamin C than lemons. Lemons contain lots of fibre which helps to prevent muscle spasms, however, oranges are known to be the best food to eat during your menstrual cycle.
Salmon, as well as other seafood like sardines and oysters, contain vitamin D. This source helps to lessen PMS symptoms. In addition, it has vitamin B12 and Omega 3 fatty acids which can help to reduce cramping pains. An oily fish like salmon is rich in iron, which means that it can restore the iron that your body is deprived of during your period.
The yolk of an egg contains iron, fat-soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and protein – all of which will help to suppress uncomfortable period symptoms. However, you may want to steer clear of hard-boiled eggs as they may contribute to gas and bloating.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, which means that it will aid in easing the tension and inflammation felt during the menstrual cycle.
Greek yoghurt is not only tasty, but it promotes healthy digestion and the growth of good bacteria in the body. This means that its probiotic properties can help fight infections, including yeast infections which can often arise from a woman’s period. Not only that, it contains calcium too.
Bananas are known to be high in potassium and fibre. It has vitamin B6 among other vitamins, which help to restore the natural fluid and balance in your body during your period.
Mango and Watermelon
Mangoes and watermelons are amazing foods to help keep you hydrated as they are rich in water. Hydrating yourself with water will help you experience fewer cramps and minimal back pain. To add, the water from a mango and watermelon can even help quicken your period as it prevents the blood from becoming too thick. Apart from that, mangoes also have vitamin A and C, folate, B6, iron and zinc which will help boost your energy.
Leafy greens are rich in fibre, magnesium and calcium, which can help to increase your energy. Having calcium deficiencies can lead to more muscle spasms and contractions during your period, thus it is worthwhile having vegetables like kale, broccoli and spinach.
What period-friendly drinks can you pair with your meal?
Chamomile tea is great at relaxing muscles, easing the nervous system, and reducing hormone-related anxiety. Also, it helps to reduce bloating by improving digestion.
Ginger tea helps to reduce cramps, nausea and bloating. It is also very energising, thus having it as a replacement for coffee works effectively.
In short, be kind to your body during your period and eat these foods when you can to survive the struggles of the period cycle. Pair this with rest and exercise, and you’ll be sure to have an easier and happier period.