What To Eat & What To Avoid During Menstrual Cycle?
Many women experience uncomfortable symptoms during the menstrual cycle. Some foods can help relieve specific symptoms, while some others can make the symptoms worse.
Following are some of the most common symptoms experienced by women during the menstrual cycle:
- Abdominal cramps
- Mood swings
If you experience one or more of these symptoms, we suggest including certain foods in your diet and removing others. This will help relieve your symptoms and make you feel better.
What Foods To Eat?
- Water: You should always drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. This tip is especially important during your period. By doing this, you’re minimizing your risk of developing dehydration headache, which is a common symptom of menstruation. Staying hydrated can also prevent you from water retention and bloating.
- Leafy greens: It’s not uncommon to experience a fall in your iron levels during your menstrual cycle, specifically if you have a heavy menstrual flow. This may lead to bodily pain, dizziness, and fatigue. Include fresh leafy greens, including spinach, kale as they can help improve your iron levels. You can also have spinach as it is a rich source of magnesium.
- Fruits: Fruits having more water-content, such as watermelon and cucumber, are excellent for staying hydrated. Moreover, the sweet fruits can help control your sugar cravings without eating refined sugars, which can increase your glucose levels and ultimately crash.
- Ginger: Prepare a mug of ginger-tea for you as it helps improve specific symptoms of menstruation. Some studies suggest that ginger can also help reduce nausea and vomiting in women during the first trimester of pregnancy. Remember, too much ginger can lead to stomach aches and heartburn. So, consume no more than 4 grams of ginger in a day.
- Fish: Fish is rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein - this makes it a nutritious food that you must include in your diet. In menstruation, your iron levels are likely to drop, so incorporating fish in your diet would help counteract the loss. A scientific study suggests that omega-3s can help alleviate the intensity of your menstrual pain. Another study claimed that omega-3s might help relieve depression. So, if you experience depression or mood swings during your menstrual cycle, omega-3s may be beneficial.
- Chicken: Chicken is yet another protein and iron-rich food that you may consider to include in your diet. Eating protein is significant for your overall health, and it can help you stay fuller and satisfied during your period, restraining cravings.
- Dark chocolate: Your favorite dark chocolates are rich in magnesium and iron. And the good thing is that some studies discovered that magnesium could help manage the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Research says that magnesium-deficient women are more likely to get PMS symptoms than others.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is one of the most popular anti-inflammatory spices, and it contains curcumin as the main active ingredient. One study concluded that women who take curcumin have less severe PMS symptoms.
- Flaxseed oil: Every 15 milliliters of flaxseed oil comprises 7,195 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. Research says that you require only about 1,100 - 1,600 milligrams of omega-3s in a day. A small study suggested that consuming flaxseed oil relieves constipation, which is a common symptom of menstruation. However, more research is required to prove how flaxseed oil can enhance digestive health.
- Lentils and beans: If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, lentils and beans can be suitable meat replacements for you. They are also an excellent source of iron, making them perfect for people whose iron levels are low.
- Yogurt: Many women develop a yeast infection during or after their period. If you also get a yeast infection, including a probiotic food like yogurt can flourish the good bacteria in your vagina and can help you combat the infection better. Yogurt is also rich in calcium and magnesium, and so including in your diet would help you in many different ways.
- Quinoa: Quinoa is an incredible source of protein, magnesium, and iron. It is gluten-free, which makes it an excellent food for those having celiac disease. Moreover, its glycemic index is low, which means you will feel fuller and energized for several hours after eating it.
- Tofu: Tofu is known to be a popular source for all the vegans and vegetarians out there. It is made out of soybeans and is a rich source of iron, calcium, and magnesium.
- Peppermint tea: One study found that peppermint can help relieve PMS symptoms. It can help improve menstrual cramps, diarrhea, and nausea.
What Foods To Avoid?
- Sugar: There’s no harm in consuming sugar in moderation, but too much of it can lead to a drastic increase in your energy levels and may ultimately crash. This may worsen your mood. If you tend to feel anxious, depressed, or have mood swings during your period, kindly watch your sugar intake.
- Salt: Consuming more salt can lead to water retention and cause bloating. To get rid of bloating, make sure you don’t add salt in your food and avoid processed foods with high sodium content.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can have adverse effects on your body and can aggravate your symptoms. Alcohol can leave you dehydrated, leading to headaches and bloating. It can also bring about digestive issues such as nausea and diarrhea.
- Coffee: Caffeine products cause water retention and bloating. But remember, if you have a habit of drinking a few cups of coffee every day, don’t cut it off completely. Caffeine withdrawal also leads to headaches.
- Spicy foods: Several people find that spicy food upset their stomachs, causing stomach pain, diarrhea, and nausea. Avoiding spicy foods during periods can help protect you from all these symptoms.