Consuming a healthy diet and avoiding certain food items go a long way in managing cramps and other symptoms during your period and many people have uncomfortable symptoms during menstruation. Some foods can lessen these symptoms, while other foods can make them worse. These symptoms include abdominal cramps, headaches, nausea, fatigue, bloating, mood swings, diarrhea.
If you experience any of these symptoms, adding certain foods to your diet and removing others can help you feel better.
Foods To Eat
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.
Water-rich fruits, such as watermelon and cucumber, are great for staying hydrated. Sweet fruits can help you curb your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars, which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash.
3. Leafy green vegetables
It’s common to experience a dip in your iron levels during your period, particularly if your menstrual flow is heavy. This can lead to fatigue, bodily pain, and dizziness. Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can boost your iron levels. Spinach is also rich in magnesium.
A warm mug of ginger tea can improve certain symptoms of menstruation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects, which can soothe achy muscles. Ginger may also reduce nausea. Few studies confirm this, but a 2018 study found that ginger effectively reduced nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Since it’s safe and relatively cheap, it’s worth trying. Don’t consume too much ginger, though: Consuming more than 4 grams in one day could cause heartburn and stomachaches.
Chicken is another iron- and protein-rich food you can add to your diet. Eating protein is essential for your overall health, and it can help you stay full and sated during your period, curbing cravings.
Rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a nutritious addition to your diet. Consuming iron will counteract the dip in iron levels that you might experience while menstruating.
Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory spice, and curcumin is its main active ingredient. A 2015 study looked at the effects of curcumin on PMS symptoms and found that people who took curcumin had less severe symptoms.
8. Dark chocolate
A tasty and beneficial snack, dark chocolate is rich in iron and magnesium. A 100-gram bar of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate contains 67 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for iron and 58 percent of the RDI for magnesium.
Many people get yeast infections during or after their period. If you tend to get yeast infections, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can nourish the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may help you fight the infections. Yogurt is also rich in magnesium and other essential nutrients, like calcium.
While all foods are OK in moderation, you might want to avoid certain foods that worsen the symptoms of your period.
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.
It’s OK to have sugar in moderation, but eating too much of it can cause a spike in energy followed by a crash. This can worsen your mood. If you tend to feel moody, depressed, or anxious during your period, watching your sugar intake can help regulate your mood.
Caffeine can cause water retention and bloat. It can also exacerbate headaches. But caffeine withdrawal can cause headaches, too, so don’t cut out coffee completely if you’re used to having a few cups a day. Coffee might also cause digestive issues. If you tend to get diarrhea during your period, reducing your coffee intake could stop this from happening.
Alcohol can have a number of negative effects on your body, which can exacerbate the symptoms of your period.
For example, alcohol can dehydrate you, which can worsen headaches and cause bloating. It can also lead to digestive issues, such as diarrhea and nausea.
5. Spicy foods
Many people find that spicy food upset their stomachs, giving them diarrhea, 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.
6. Red meat
During your period, your body produces prostaglandins. These compounds help your uterus contract and get rid of the uterine lining, resulting in your menstrual flow. However, high levels of prostaglandins cause cramps. Red meat may be high in iron, but it is also high in prostaglandins and should be avoided during menstruation.
If your periods are particularly painful, to a point that you have difficulty functioning, see a doctor. This could be a symptom of a deeper health issue.