What Foods To Eat On Your Period Avinash Rajapet - Program Director & Head Trainer, Fitbee April 15, 2021

Women experience an assembly of symptoms and emotions during their periods. Abdominal cramps, bloating, headache, fatigue, and multiple other symptoms make it no less than a battle. 

In such immense distress, which sometimes makes us want to even rip our uterus out, we often turn to food in search of comfort and emotional soothing. 

It is a natural calling for everyone during such times. 

The food you include in your diet and nutrition can be crucial in greatly reducing the severity of period-related problems. Therefore, it’s only to our advantage that we ensure our body receives the proper nutrition, not just during menstruation but also before and after. 

Doctors suggest avoiding both fast foods and processed foods as they are high in calories and can make you feel lethargic. Women especially crave sweet food like ice cream, cake, and pastries, but these sweet treats can cause your insulin levels to rise, which further aids to complications like bloating and swelling. Eating home-cooked food is the best recourse one can take to get the right nutrients and to keep energy levels up. 

Here’s a humble attempt at making a list of foods that you must stock up around period: 

Sadly, cakes and pastries didn’t make it to the list 

  1. Water 

Staying hydrated is crucial at all times, especially so when you are menstruating. Drinking water can solve a lot of period-induced problems, like headaches and bloating. When you drink enough water, your body doesn’t feel the need to retain water, and that prevents bloating. 

  1.  Fruits 

Fruits like watermelon and cucumber are rich in water and can help you in staying hydrated. Fruits, like figs and plums, are naturally sweet, and eating these can keep your sugar cravings in check. 

Also, they contain necessary vitamins which are essential to fight symptoms like swelling and bloating. 

Citrus fruits are a must-have. Oranges, lemons, and limes are rich in Vitamin C- a necessary vitamin that can provide relief from mood swings and bloating. 

Pineapple is another good example of fruit that you can have during periods. It contains vitamins that relax your body muscles and boost your mood.  

A mixed-fruit smoothie is the best way to cure everything. 

  1. Green and Leafy Vegetables 

During menstruation, especially in cases of heavy flow, women’s body experience a dip in iron levels. Therefore, it is imperative that you eat food rich in iron. Green leafy vegetables, like Spinach, Basil (Tulsi) and White Goosefoot (Bathua) can provide you the much-needed nutrient. This can help avoid or reduce period symptoms like fatigue, body pain, cramps and dizziness. Some of these leafy vegetables are also rich in magnesium, Vitamin A, C and E – nutrients that have been found to be helpful in alleviating these symptoms. 

Tulsi contains caffeic acid, which is known for its potential to function as a natural painkiller.  

  1.  Ginger Tea 

A cup of ginger tea can help reduce nausea. It also has anti-inflammation properties that can help reduce pain in the muscles. However, moderation in consumption is advised as having too much of ginger can cause gastric problems like heartburn and stomachaches. 

  1. Chicken and Eggs 

Both of these are rich in important nutrients like protein, iron, Vitamin B and essential fatty acids that can keep you stay full and feel less hungry. 

  1. Fish and Seafood 

Like poultry, fish and other sea food are also rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids. Essential fatty acids fight against inflammation and therefore can reduce the intensity of body pain and cramps to a large extent. It also helps in stabilizing your mood swings and depression during period.  

  1. Turmeric 

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties, which immensely helps in reducing the severity of period symptoms. 

  1. Dark Chocolate 

While great comfort foods like cakes and pastries may not have made it to the list but dark chocolate definitely has. Rejoice! 

Chocolate is loaded with iron, magnesium, and antioxidants, and it helps a lot in relaxing and soothing the body muscles. It also releases endorphins and serotonin – hormones that uplift your mood.  

Try not to consume chocolates in forms other than dark chocolate as they are full of sugar, calories, and artificial additives. Also, try to eat in moderation because dark chocolates do contain some amount of sugar and caffeine. 

  1. Nuts and Seeds 

Most nuts (walnut, almond, peanut) and seeds (flaxseed, chia seed) are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of protein, magnesium, and various other vitamins. 

You can keep a bowl of these treats by your bedside. 

  1. Capsicum or Bell Peppers 

Capsicums have high water content and are rich in nutrients like potassium and fiber, which helps in reducing symptoms like bloating and cramps.  

  1. Oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids 

Flax-seed oil, algal oil, soybean oil, and canola oil are a few examples of omega-3 

  1. Quinoa and Oats 

A Quinoa meal is a good source of iron, protein, and magnesium. 

Oats are a great source of calcium and vitamins A and B. Oatmeal is advised if you are facing gastric problems. 

These foods are gluten-free and low on the glycemic index. They take a long time to digest and therefore make you feel full and energetic for a long time. 

  1. Lentils and Beans 

Unlike non-vegetarians, vegans and vegetarians have limited food options that can provide them with the much-needed protein. Lentils and beans come to the rescue as these are loaded with protein and can therefore act as good meat replacements. These are also rich in other nutrients such as iron and zinc. 

  1. Yogurt 

Probiotic foods like yogurt are rich in calcium and magnesium. Fighting period cramps and bloating by adding this to your mixed-fruit smoothie. 

  1. Peppermint tea and Chamomile tea 

Helps in alleviating problems like nausea, stress, and anxiety. 

  1. Peanut Butter 

After dark chocolate, this will come as a point to rejoice for many. Apart from healthy fatty acids, Peanut butter also contains Vitamin E, which helps with inflammation and cramps. 

  1. Cinnamon 

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and can be of immense help in reducing period cramps. Simply add it to tea or any vegetable recipe.  

Eating everything in moderation is the key. While it is important that you know about the food that helps you during the period, it is equally important that you take a small note of foods that can negatively affect the period symptoms. These food items cause inflammation and therefore must be avoided. 

  • Processed foods because they contain artificial chemical additives and preservatives. They are also generally high in sodium content which can aid in bloating. 
  • Too much salt  
  • Foods with high sugar content (candy and snacks), as they lead to a sudden rise in insulin and sugar levels. It can cause mood fluctuations. 
  • Food items that are high on the glycemic index. For example – bread and pasta, are items made of white flour. 
  • Foods that can lead to flatulence, for example – cauliflower. 
  • Coffee – can cause headaches, bloating, and digestion problems. 
  • Alcohol – women experience low blood pressure during periods and consuming alcohol under such circumstances can make the situation worse. It can cause problems like dehydration, headaches, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. It can exacerbate other period symptoms too. 
  • Spicy food can lead to tiredness, cramps, flatulence, and bloating. 

There are enough food items that can fulfill the need of your taste buds and at the same time provide you with appropriate nutrition during periods. By following the above list while making your diet chart for periods, you can rest assured that these foods will not only get you through the discomfort and pain but also nourish the part that’s being lost during menstruation. 

Healthcare providers advise not to skip meals as it can exacerbate nausea, fatigue, and other symptoms. It is also advised not to deep-fry home-cooked food so that the raw food materials may retain their nutrients, and therefore effectively fight the symptoms. 

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