Best Foods to Eat on Your Period (& What to Avoid)
We feel your pain ladies. There is that certain time every month when all you want to do is stay at home in your pyjamas, stuff your face with unhealthy food, binge watch Netflix and pull your hair out when the cramps strike. You are not alone.
In fact, up to 15% of us suffer severe period pain which affects our working and social life. However, your diet can play a key role in reducing cramps. Eating a healthy, vegan diet in particular - before and during your period - can significantly reduce pain and PMS for many women.
Every month, the hormone oestrogen rises and falls in your body. Oestrogen causes the lining of the uterus to thicken in anticipation of pregnancy and is then shed in a menstrual flow which is accompanied by cramping. It has been found that a low-fat, high fibre diet can considerably reduce oestrogen levels, which is not only good for managing your menstrual pain but also reducing the risk of breast cancer.
So, in general, what should you avoid and what not?
- Coffee and alcohol have been found to exacerbate pain during your period so it is advisable to opt for herbal teas and water instead.
- All animal products
- Added vegetable oils, such as salad dressings, margarine and cooking oils.
- Fatty foods such as chips.
- Whole grains
With the above in mind, your food should be rich with the following nutrients which help to fight menstrual cramps and keep you otherwise healthy. With such a broad choice, there is a match for even the fussiest eaters.
Calcium relieves muscle tension so eat plenty of leafy greens such as kale, broccoli, orange, kiwi and rhubarb.
Rich in fibre food such as apples, bananas, dark coloured vegetables, beans and cereals help to absorb and eliminate chemicals causing period pain.
Omega-3 fatty acid which can be found in flaxseeds, leafy greens, beans and walnuts has an anti-inflammatory effect and is found to reduce hormone cycling which is a major cause of pain accompanying menstrual cramps.
A good source of Vitamin E can prevent inflammation and cramping so eat plenty of spinach, raw seeds, nuts and avocado.
Eat plenty of Magnesium rich foods as lack of this mineral could aggravate cramps. Good sources are nuts, leafy greens, avocado and root vegetables.
Zinc can help with bloating and can be found in beans, various seeds, nuts, and tofu.
Like with most things, the change won’t happen overnight. But as the health benefits kick in, you may be surprised how well you feel when the cramps reduce, you feel lighter and have increased energy. If you are anything like me, you would eat your favourite clutch bag if it would mean that you no longer have to put up with this mind-numbing pain. Luckily, healthy food is much tastier. So, why not say au revoir to your PMS and swap animal products for a plant based diet.
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Written by Laura Lohk for Grace & Green
All Images Free to Use Via Creative Commons