An easy guide on what to eat, and what to avoid when you’re on your period.
Reaching for a piece of the gooiest chocolate cake you can find or a tub of ice-cream big enough to fit your head seems like the best and really, the only cure for those unbearable period cramps, right? You know the ones I mean…that come over you in waves leaving you curled up in a foetal position wanting to scream and cry. Unfortunately, while the rush of sugar is definitely a temporary cure for everything that ails you during ‘that time of the month’, in the long run, it can do more harm than good.
How then, do you make yourself feel better when 5 days seems like an eternity and the pain makes it impossible to function. We’ve put together a list of a few good and good-for-you foods to help ease the misery of your period. Don’t worry though ladies, chocolate DOES make an appearance too!
The blood-loss suffered during menstruation leads to a drop in iron levels for women. To counter this, it is crucial to fill up on iron-rich foods. Red meat, leafy greens like spinach and kale, nuts, including almonds and walnuts as well as sunflower seeds are all high in iron and should be consumed during your period.
Another vital element that women need to consume during their period is magnesium. This is where the craving for chocolate comes in girls! Dark chocolate is high in magnesium (and anti-oxidants as well), so go ahead and indulge in a small amount to satisfy your sweet tooth. Aim for chocolate that is at least 65% dark though. Whole grains like brown rice, wholegrain bread and oats are also high in magnesium and great to ease that period discomfort without leading to bloating or weight gain.
Bananas and coconut water are both high in potassium, which helps muscles relax, easing the intensity of cramps and reducing fatigue during your period. Potassium also helps prevent bloating and regulates digestion, which is often disrupted during the menstrual cycle.
Whole grains, fruits like apples and flax seeds are all fantastic sources of fibre that keep you feeling full without being bloated during your period. Whole grains also prevent a drop in blood sugar, which leads to cravings and binge eating!
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids:
Fill up on foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids such as salmon or tuna. For vegetarians, walnuts, chia seeds and avocados are excellent sources of Omega 3 that helps relax the muscles of the uterus, relieving cramps and improving your overall mood. Additionally, these foods are great for the skin that often becomes dull or breaks out due to hormonal changes during your period.
- Vitamin B12:
While most guides will advise against consuming dairy during your period, yoghurt is the one exception. Rich in Vitamin B12 and Calcium, yoghurt is an important part of a healthy period diet. Broccoli, almonds and lentils are also excellent sources of Vitamin B12 and Calcium if you’re allergic to dairy or are vegan.
- Vitamin D:
Regulate your period, sleep better, increase your energy levels and get rid of mood swings with foods rich in Vitamin D, such as egg yolks, fish oils and soft cheeses like ricotta. Greek yoghurt is high in Vitamin D too, while also being a great source of protein.
To help you eat happier and healthier through your period, we’ve devised an easy to adopt meal-plan for the first three days of your cycle.