How a female feels during menstruation may vary for each one of them. Some of them can barely get out of bed due to cramps, fatigue, and headache, while others experience no adverse symptoms.
Nevertheless, for both the first and the second type of women, it is important to have proper nutrition during this time. There are foods that will save you from pain and some that can be harmful. Let’s find out what you can and cannot eat during menstruation.
Foods To Avoid During Periods
In the same way that some foods make your period easier, there are some that can make your period worse. Therefore, you should abandon them, at least during critical days and also shortly before them.
1. Salty And Spicy Foods
When planning your diet for the day, avoid spicy and salty foods. Excess salt can cause fluid retention in the body, which leads to bloating during menstruation. Also, avoid spicy foods as they can cause indigestion and acid reflux. So if you are a lover of salty and spicy food, try to minimize their consumption during periods.
Drinking alcoholic beverages during your period can play a trick on your body. This is because the natural loss of blood during this time can lower blood pressure, making the body more vulnerable to the adverse side effects of alcohol.
Cocktails can aggravate the feeling of fatigue, cause severe headaches and prolong menstruation. Given the diuretic effect of alcohol, you may feel more bloated as a dehydrated body has to retain water. This is the reason menstruation days are more difficult for alcohol addicts.
Taking medication to reduce the pain won’t be effective during this time unless you quit alcohol once and for all. For this, there are several options. For example, you can choose residential treatment and sober living, these facilities will ensure safe alcohol withdrawal and also prevent relapse.
3. Processed Foods
Foods prepared with preservatives, flavor enhancers, and sodium, such as canned foods and processed meats (convenience foods, meats, and cold meats), can worsen bloating and water retention. Too much salt in the diet is unhealthy any day of the month, but it is most harmful during menstruation. So you really need to abandon the consumption of processed foods, especially at this time of the month.
4. High Carbohydrate Food
A week or two before menstruation, the level of sex hormones in the female body changes – the level of estrogen rises, and the level of progesterone decreases. These changes can cause your body to hold more water than usual. Just like eating too much salt, eating too much carbohydrate food can make your periods worse.
If possible, during critical days, you should avoid coffee and caffeine-based products or at least limit their amount. For coffee, the conditional maximum per day is 2-3 cups. According to nutritionists, one must avoid coffee and energy drinks as they can cause increased headaches and digestive problems.
Besides, caffeine causes blood vessels to constrict, including those that feed the uterus. When this happens, severe seizures can develop. If you really care about your health, now is the time to make this decision and quit caffeinated products.
Foods To Eat During Your Period
During critical days (and every day of your life), you should eat foods rich in vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, proteins, and fiber. They not only provide the body with the necessary energy boost but also relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and the course of menstruation itself. Below is the list of foods you should eat, especially during periods.
Rich in Omega-3-6-9 fatty acids, fish, is known for its antioxidant benefits and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains substances that relax the muscles and help fight cramps. For a serving of high-quality protein and B vitamins, grill salmon or bake in the oven on a vegetable cushion.
7. Dark Chocolate
If you crave something sweet during your period, this product is the best option. Dark chocolate is a treasure trove of antioxidants, magnesium, and iron – substances that the body especially needs during this difficult period. So just grab the bar of dark chocolate and enjoy it on painful days.
Another great snack during a long day at work or school is a handful of nuts. Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and are excellent sources of protein,” says MD, nutritionist. You can add these nuts to smoothies or porridge as well to make them tastier.
Oatmeal is made from whole grains. It is high in calcium, vitamins A and B, and iron. One cup of oatmeal contains about 14 mg of iron out of 18 mg – the approved daily allowance for a woman. One study found that higher iron intake reduced the risk of premenstrual syndrome in women. Therefore, you can safely lean on oatmeal every day.
Oranges, tangerines, lemons, and limes can be great dessert options. Their calorie content is so low that they are safe sweets for the figure. However, they are high in vitamin C, so they can relieve symptoms of mood swings and also bloating.
The high moisture content of the fruit helps to maintain the hydration level of the body. And if you’re struggling with morning sickness or fatigue caused by a critical day, having a glass of warm water in the morning with a lemon wedge can help.
Chicken eggs can enrich the body with iron, B vitamins, and essential fatty acids. In addition, they are a source of vitamin D, which is responsible for well-being and regulating mood. If you have a sensitive gastrointestinal tract, avoid hard-boiled eggs, which can cause heartburn, gas, and bloating.
12. Chamomile Tea
This aromatic and tasty drink will help to relax both the uterus (eliminating spasms) and the nervous system. It will reduce the severity of seizures, fight stress, relieve anxiety, and give you good dreams. And to brew it is a matter of one minute!
Small dietary changes can make the menstrual flow easier for some people or help them stay healthy and active. However, you shouldn’t treat food as medicine. If your critical days are difficult or menstruation is irregular, you should consult a doctor to find out the main reason.