Cramps are real and they suck. But before you pop a painkiller, or indulge your cravings like there’s no tomorrow, let me tell you that there are actual foods which will make you feel better when you’re riding the monthly crimson wave.
What are you waiting for? Snack smarter and say adios to cramps, bloating and fatigue.
1. Will the Whole Grains Please Stand Up?
It’s a no-brainer. Whole grains aren’t bleached, dried or processed and therefore retain their nutrients. They are complex carbohydrates which stimulate the brain in order to release serotonin, a hormone which makes you feel good.
Notice that your body feels like it took a beating from inside out a week before your periods? Well, studies have shown that whole grains can reduce that tension and fight depression because they are loaded with magnesium and vitamin E.
2. Leafy Greens
When progesterone peaks, the tummy slows down. Your iron levels dip because you’re losing blood, so it’s important for your lunch menu to look primarily green. This will replenish the body with nutrients and vitamin K which controls excessive bleeding and clotting.
The Truth About Period Pain
3. Go Fish: Salmon and Tuna
These superfoods are not only good for the heart, but also essential during menstruation to counter the effects of ‘prostaglandins’- medical jargon for the period villain which causes muscle contraction and killer cramps. They are also packed with proteins which will keep you full for longer and reduce bloating.
4. Embrace the Citrus
Your body craves sugar when you’re on your period. Instead of stocking up on cakes and doughnuts, opt for fruits which are full of dietary fiber, natural sugars, vitamins, potassium and manganese. They’ll make you feel nourished and give you essential nutrients.
5. Stock Up On Calcium
Yoghurt is a great source of calcium and probiotics, which aids better digestion and reduces cramps. But don’t overdo it as too much dairy can also trigger abdominal pain, so opt for the non-dairy options like broccoli and kale as well.
6. Don’t Skip the Tea
Chamomile, peppermint or ginger honey tea are great options to relieve muscle spasms, irritability and stress. Go brew yourself a cuppa, not only because you’ll feel a sense of calm and satiety but also because it’ll help the bloating and nausea vanish.
What Not To Eat During Menstruation
You are what you eat during your period. So as important it is to munch on the right foods, it is equally important to keep the unfriendly stuff at bay.
Get rid of the coffee or caffeinated beverages which increase anxiety levels and can lead to dehydration.
Anything which comes in a tetra packing is processed - not your friend on period days (or ever).
Fried foods increase your estrogen levels thereby leading to cramps and pain.
Consumption of sugar will make you grumpy, irritable and lethargic.
If you have the luxury of time, a hot Epsom salt bath and lots of naps will also provide relief.
(Huda Shaikh is a newbie in the world of clinical nutrition with 2 years of experience as a dietician. She herself is extremely passionate about eating right and believes that in order to stay healthy there needs to be a proper balance between a good diet and exercise. Say hi to her firstname.lastname@example.org)