Fact Checked

Which Foods to Eat and Avoid During Your Period?

Period Foods

Period Foods - (Image Credit: Shutterstock)

30-Second-Summary
  • Painful period cramps, bloating, and indigestion are some common side effects of menstruation that many women suffer from.
  • For some women, period cramps and mood swings can be so extreme that they can hamper their everyday life.
  • Dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce period symptoms can help many women.
  • Some of the best foods to consume during periods are the ones that are rich in protein, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
  • The best sources of these period-friendly nutrients are fish, chicken, fruits, nuts, and leafy greens.
  • You must also avoid foods rich in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
  • This period-friendly diet can reduce period cramps and make your menstrual cycles more comfortable.

Introduction

Periods are a tough time for most women, as they are often accompanied by mood swings, bloating, and cramps. Dysmenorrhea or painful period cramps are a common issue for a majority of women.

These cramps can often be so painful that you cannot continue with your day-to-day life. Therefore, any proven solution for period symptoms is worth trying.

One of the effective ways to reduce period cramps and discomfort is to watch what you are eating, healthy eating can benefit in many ways. Some period foods can help relieve your cramps, while others worsen your symptoms.

Moreover, not all your period food cravings are a good idea. You should keep a few factors in mind to design a nutritious period diet that keeps the cramps at bay.

Can A Healthy Diet Make A Difference To Period Symptoms?

According to studies[1], consuming certain foods during your periods reduces the risk of painful cramps. Period-friendly foods can help your body cope with the symptoms in various ways.

For example, some foods encourage the uterus to relax, relieving cramps, while others contain micronutrients that tackle the side effects of blood loss.

Consuming micronutrient-rich, easy-to-digest, and unprocessed foods can help you reduce period symptoms like cramps, nausea, and bloating.

The best foods for period cramps are usually the ones with abundant protein, iron, and minerals. Including these food items in your diet can reduce many side effects of menstruation.

Here are some food options you can try if you suffer from painful periods.

10 Best Foods To Eat During Your Menstrual Period To Reduce Cramps And Bloating

Best foods to eat

1. Fruits

According to studies[2], consuming fruits during periods may reduce the risk of period cramps. This could be due to the high vitamin and mineral content of most fruits. Moreover, juicy fruits will keep you hydrated and satisfy your sugar cravings too. They are an excellent food option for periods.

2. Water

You must consume plenty of water during your periods to avoid bloating. Moreover, it will prevent headaches caused by dehydration. So, keep a water bottle handy to make up for all the fluids you are losing.

3. Ginger

Ginger is another food that makes it to the list of what to eat on periods. It has anti-inflammatory properties and reduces nausea too. The best way to consume ginger is to steep it in hot water to make a cup of ginger tea.

4. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are excellent period foods as they are rich in iron. Your iron levels will dip due to menstrual blood loss. Leafy greens will compensate for the same while supplying other essential minerals to the body as well.

5. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate is one of the best foods for period cramps. It contains iron and magnesium, two nutrients that your body may run low on during menstruation. Make sure to stick with sugar-free dark chocolate to get its nutritional benefits without the ill effects of sugar.

snack as a nuts

6. Nuts

If you are wondering what to eat on periods as a snack, nuts are here to your rescue! They are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium. You can have them as a crunchy snack or use nut butter as spreads or dips.

7. Yogurt

Period foods that contain probiotics are a must for women who suffer from yeast infections. A probiotic yogurt is an excellent option as it also contains calcium and minerals. You can have it with cereal or fruits as a healthy snack or breakfast.

8. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is recommended as one of the top foods for period cramps. It can provide relief from cramps, nausea, as well as diarrhea. You can either steep fresh peppermint leaves at home or use peppermint tea bags for a healthy period drink.

9. Fish

Fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that reduce period cramps. Plus, omega 3s also help lessen mood swings caused by periods. Fish is also an excellent source of proteins, which makes it one of the best period foods.

10. Chicken

Chicken is a great source of protein and iron that your body needs during periods. It is also easy to digest and can be prepared in many different ways. Plus, it is filling and will keep your energy levels high during menstruation.

10 Foods To Avoid During Periods To Prevent Cramps And Discomfort

Avoid Salty Snacks

1. Salty Snacks

Salt leads to water retention in the body, which causes bloating during periods. You must stay away from all salty snacks during menstruation. These include chips, crackers, and even sauces that are high in sodium content.

2. Candy

Sugary foods like candies and cookies are some of the worst period foods. While you may crave sugar on your period, it will only offer a momentary spike, followed by a crash. This can worsen your mood swings. Opt for fruits instead to satisfy your cravings.

3. Alcohol

Alcohol does not make it to the list of what to eat on periods. It causes dehydration, dizziness, headaches, and bloating. Therefore, it will only worsen your period symptoms and you should avoid alcohol for a pain-free period.

4. Coffee

Coffee can worsen headaches and cause bloating during periods. It can also dehydrate you and cause digestive issues. You must moderate your coffee consumption and choose healthier period foods instead.

5. Red Meat

Unlike fish and chicken that are good foods for period cramps, you must avoid red meat when menstruating. This is because red meats release prostaglandins in the body, which can worsen your uterine cramps. So, stick with white meat during your period instead.

Difficult to digest foods

6. Difficult To Digest Foods

Avoid any food item that you find hard to digest or have any sensitivity towards during your periods. Your body is already in a fragile state and possibly dealing with diarrhea, indigestion, or nausea. Consuming these foods will only make it worse.

7. Spicy Foods

Spicy items are not the best period foods because they can cause stomach irritation. They can worsen period symptoms like diarrhea and nausea. So, avoid spicy foods, especially if you have a low spice tolerance in general.

8. High-Fat Foods

When choosing what to eat on periods, stay away from foods that are rich in unhealthy fats. These include deep-fried items like French Fries, burgers, or fried chicken. Unhealthy fats can cause inflammation that might worsen your period symptoms.

9. Refined Grains

Whole grains are better foods for period cramps than their refined counterparts. Refined grains are harder to digest and may worsen your period cramps. Instead, choose unpolished grains and brown rice for a healthier meal.

10. Processed Foods

Most processed foods contain ingredients that you must avoid during your periods, making them bad period foods. Processed snacks usually contain high amounts of sugar, salt, or unhealthy fats. Even seemingly healthy processed foods like fruit juices and snack bars might be high in sugar and it is best to avoid them on your period.

Period Exercise Tips

Other Ways To Reduce Period Cramps

Apart from watching what to eat on periods, there are other steps you can take to reduce period cramps. Exercise is one such healthy lifestyle change that can help with period symptoms.

Many women notice that their period cramps reduce after mild to moderate exercise. Yoga is an excellent menstrual cramps home remedies as it includes poses that provide instant relief.

Apart from exercise, you can also use a hot compress for pain relief. You can either use a hot water bottle or a cramp relief patch if you are on the go.

Gentle massages can also help with pain relief and reduce the intensity of the cramps. Regular consumption of dietary supplements like calcium, vitamin D, and omega 3 can also help.

If your period cramps are still unbearable, consult a gynecologist for treatment advice. They may prescribe birth control pills or painkillers to reduce your pain and discomfort.

Conclusion

Period cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and discomfort are common issues that women face during menstruation.

However, with the right dietary choices, many of these symptoms can be minimized. The body suffers blood loss during the periods and needs nutrients like iron, magnesium, and protein to compensate for the same.

Similarly, hydrating, anti-inflammatory, or easy-to-digest foods can help you cope with period symptoms.

Apart from eating the best foods for period cramps, you must also avoid foods that are rich in fats, salt, or sugar, as these can worsen your symptoms. Stay away from processed foods and go for simple home-cooked meals instead.

Along with dietary changes, moderate exercise, yoga, heat patches, and massages can relieve your period cramps. You can also ask your doctor for pain relief medication if you struggle with extreme cramps and discomfort.

By making these small changes to your diet and lifestyle, your period can become much more comfortable and pain-free. So, try these tips today to reduce period discomfort once and for all!

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