Middle of the month, I go cranky and irritable. I suddenly have a strong craving for chocolates that I am not very fond of! The desire to eat more of carbohydrates and salty foods reaches it peak. Although I am not a sweet tooth, I feel like eating anything that is sweet. Hmm, I know what's wrong with me. I have just started with my periods and am going through these discomforting mood swings and nightmare cravings.
I am sure most of the women reading this HerHaleness article will nod in agreement, if you too experience similar food cravings and suffer from irritability. These sudden cravings, mood swings, cramps, bloating, headaches, nausea, vomiting, etc., are all signs of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The hormonal rush upsets our normal body clock. This leads to PMS and strange cravings for certain foods.
What we eat actually makes a lot of difference to our body during periods. Thus, it is always better to consider what to avoid and what to eat during your period. Let us have a look at the menu that you should follow during your periods and relieve some of the discomfort experienced during this discomforting 'period'.
Foods to Avoid During Menstrual Cycle
Well girls, foods does make a lot of difference when it comes to your monthly periods. The fluctuating hormones tend to make you feel bloated and hungry. This is the time, when diet is the last thing on your mind and all you want to do is eat. But, you should avoid eating a lot of sugar as it will lead to rapid increase in your blood sugar level, especially during your mood swings.
Do not eat fatty meats like beef and lamb. During this time, you should eat more of fish or chicken. Avoid caffeine, big time. Caffeine will cause you to bloat more and irritate your already upset stomach. Instead, a hot cuppa tea is better. Cut down on the salt as well, as it too leads to water retention and bloating. All you need is about 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Thus, avoid eating fast foods and processed foods. They contain salt that is 3 to 4 times more than what your meal contains. Alcohol will add to period blues. So, it is better to leave the bottle in the refrigerator, if you wish to avoid those nasty headaches.
Foods to Eat During Menstrual Cycle
Periods, the agony each one of us sisters have to endure every month, for about half of our lives! But, we can do something about reducing the amount of agony we go through month after month. In order to reduce the pain, discomfort, irritability, cramps and all that's not nice during periods, eat healthy. Yes, the right food at the right time will make a huge difference. Believe me, your body will thank you for the changes you make in your diet during your menstrual cycle.
That's right, eat you leafy veggies that are rich in magnesium. They will help you fight off the headaches and cramps. Also, these leafy veggies like spinach, chard, kale, etc., are high in iron. During periods, women, especially women of childbearing age lose a lot of iron from the body due to bleeding. In order to compensate for the loss of iron, one needs to eat these iron rich vegetables. It will help you fight off the sudden weakness, malaise and fatigue experienced during periods.
Lentils are high in magnesium and iron. It is also high in fiber and proteins that will help you feel full, rather than crave for more food. You can include tofu, peanuts, beans, as well in your diet. Magnesium is excellent for reducing the symptoms of bloating experienced during periods. You need about 200mg magnesium per day. Speaking of magnesium, you can indulge in eating spinach, salmon, sardines and walnuts to get your daily dose of this essential mineral.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Prostaglandins is a group of compounds that cause muscle contractions and menstruation pain. In order to reduce the effect of these prostaglandin, you should consume more of omega-3 fatty acids. Thus, eat more of flaxseed, salmon and walnuts to get enough of omega 3.
Vitamin B complex will help in releasing serotonin in your body. Serotonin will add to the feel good factor and reduce the effects of depression and mood swings common during periods. Thus, eat more of oatmeal, potatoes as you require about 100 mg of vitamin B6 every day.
Your best friends during periods are fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods. They contain complex carbohydrates and sugars that helps reduce your cravings for sugar. Eat more of apricots, oranges, plums, pears, artichokes, carrots, corn and cucumbers, and see a difference in your cravings for sugar. You can even eat whole wheat bread, Lima beans, and black beans during periods. And yes, this is a good time to indulge in eating ice creams as this too will help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Eat a bit of spicy food, during periods. Spicy foods that contain cayenne pepper help reduce bloating. They contain vasodilators that help improving the blood circulation in the body.
Sinful, yet satiating, chocolates that you avoid generally, especially those watching their weight can eat some chocolate during periods. The best chocolate to eat are the dark chocolates. They contain more cocoa bean that helps reduce food cravings and boost serotonin production. Thus, improving your mood and helps you satisfy your sweet urges.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that will help reduce some of the symptoms of PMS. It helps increase circulation and helps in hormone regulation. If you suffer from tender and sore breasts, vitamin E will relieve the pain to a great extent. You can eat more of almonds, almond butter, wheat germ, eggs, avocado and liver to get the required amount of vitamin E during your periods.
One of the most essential mineral for a woman is calcium. Increase calcium intake to relieve the symptoms of PMS. Thus, eat more of yogurt as it improves digestion as well as it is packed with calcium. You can eat kale, broccoli, collard greens, milk and milk products to get more of calcium.
Water, the most important aspect of life. Drink more water as it will keep you hydrated and help flush out the excess fluid build up in your body. Women who suffer from water retention during periods, will find that drinking water helps improve their condition to a great extent.
These are some of the best foods to eat while on your periods. What to eat during your period is a wise question to ask, especially if you suffer from severe PMS symptoms. Eat healthy and live healthy, it is your key for a happy period.