The menstrual cycle can be hard. Do you get extremely irritated by things that usually would not bother you? Your hormones are to blame! Our hormones definitely impact our bodies in many different ways. Between the bloating, the cramping, the cravings, and the mood swings, that time of the month is usually not the best week in any woman’s life. Still, you don't have to let these problems control your life.
Lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. To get through your menstrual cycle with much less stress, scroll through to find out the best foods to focus on while you are on your period. As a registered dietitian, I will give you some tricks about which foods to eat and avoid during your period.
Here are a few tips to modify your diet:
1. Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Women tend to crave junk food before and during their period due to the fluctuation in hormones. Most women are well aware that processed sweets are not great, but anyone who has experienced a sugar craving before their period will tell you it is tough to make smarter choices.
There are options that give us the opportunity to fight sugar cravings. For instance, dark chocolate is a great treat while on your period.
- Try creating a combination of dark chocolate and almonds!
Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and magnesium, which reduces mood swings by regulating serotonin. Make sure you find the highest percent dark chocolate in the store. The higher the better, because it won’t contain as much sugar.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which can also relieve period cramps. As you know, processed snacks are pumped full of added sugars.
Swapping sugar for natural alternatives like dates or prunes would be a great idea for fighting sugar cravings. They are definitely something to consider if you're looking to swap out anything processed.
- It is time to get creative, try to add dates or prunes to your diet by creating new recipes at home.
2. Focus on Drinking Plenty of Water
Sugary, carbonated drinks like soda contribute to bloating. Avoid sparkling water too. Just like soda, the carbonation will increase bloating.
Caffeine is also one of the main foods to avoid during your period. When you have caffeine, it increases your bloating discomfort and irritates your uterus, which worsens your cramps. Stick to water instead! Upping your water intake will actually ease bloating.
Make sure you keep track of your water consumption throughout the day by using Vivoo Home Urine Test Sticks.
3. Load Up Calcium
Yogurt is one of the best foods to eat on your period, as it is a good source of calcium. Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, which can prevent mood swings. You can increase calcium intake by adding yogurt to your diet.
- Try yogurt parfaits, they are actually a very healthy option for breakfast and snacks. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium, try broccoli or kale instead. Any food that contains calcium can be considered a helpful food for your menstrual cycle.
4. Get Magnesium Boost
Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle tension as well as mood swings. Also, bananas and peanuts are one of the best mood-boosting foods, which are rich in potassium and magnesium.
- Try starting your day with a bowl of whole-wheat breakfast cereals or muesli, then have a light snack with a banana and a handful of peanuts. It's that easy to increase our magnesium levels, and start feeling better fast!
5. Maximize Your Dietary Iron Intake
Women’s nutritional needs change during menstruation. Women need more iron than men to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period. Around 1 mg of iron is lost for every day of bleeding. The best source of iron is red meat. There are smaller amounts of chicken and fish too.
- If you don't consume meat, be sure to choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens to replenish your body's iron supply.
Please share your feedback below about your experience and your choice of food during your period.
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