To combat the woes of menstruation- painful cramps, depressive moods, headache, bloating, mood swings and fatigue, the food that you eat plays a very big role. There are some foods that you should avoid eating on your period or the days leading up to your period to alleviate some of your discomfort.
1. Refined Grains
During food processing, refined grains lose much of the original grain’s nutrient content which can interfere with blood sugar and appetite control between meals- factors that can worsen menstrual symptoms. Limit your consumption of refined foods like white bread and pasta during your period to reduce menstrual pain. Other refined grain products include instant rice, low fiber cereals and commercially prepared cookies.
2. Processed Foods
Avoid your easy choice and convenience foods like processed foods. They contain high amounts of sodium causing bloating and discomfort.
Keeping salt intake under control will help you avoid bloating and the puffy, heavy feeling that comes with it. Avoid processed foods like snacks, chips, canned and frozen foods and instead eat whole foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and poultry, nuts, whole grains and unsaturated fats like olive oil, which are naturally low in sodium and promote overall health.
Caffeine, found in plants such as tea, coffee and cocoa beans, contributes to irregular periods, worsens agitated moods, sleep difficulties and menstrual pain. To avoid these risks, limit your intake of energy drinks, coffee, black tea, soft drinks, chocolate and coffee-flavored sweets. Instead, focus on drinking herbal teas and plenty of water to keep your body properly hydrated. Although some teas also contain caffeine, it contains much less of it compared to coffee, making tea a good alternative.
4. Commercial Baked Goods
Avoid trans-fats, also called trans-fatty acids, which are found in french fries, doughnuts, baked goods, muffins, cakes and pastries, margarine and all foods that list hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredients. Replace these foods with healthy alternatives, such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil. These foods contain unsaturated fats, which may help reduce inflammation.
5. Fatty Meats
High-fat foods have a strong influence on hormonal activity in our body. Hormone changes during the menstrual cycle are linked to symptoms such as bloating and breast tenderness. When you’re already suffering from cramps, saturated fats can actually worsen the pain. Whereas, consuming a diet low in saturated fats will help reduce excess estrogen levels. If you can’t resist your craving for meat, opt for lean meats or, even healthier, fish.
6. Dairy Products
Like fatty meats, the fats found in dairy products are saturated. Similar to trans-fats, saturated fats can cause and worsen pain and inflammation during your period. Avoiding high-fat cheese sauces, heavy cream, ice cream, meats with visible fat and dishes prepared with cheese or butter can also help reduce your miseries.
7. Sugary Foods
Due to hormonal changes during menstruation, blood sugar levels become unstable, and many women crave sweets. Eating foods high in sugar adds to your blood sugar fluctuations, resulting in mood swings and tension. In addition, consuming refined, sugar-rich foods can contribute to immune system imbalance and fatigue. Instead of reaching for a doughnut to satisfy your sweet tooth, have a fiber-rich fruit salad topped with low-fat yogurt.
Alcohol increases all the symptoms of PMS and cramps. Additionally, alcohol acts as a blood thinner, which in turn increases your flow, causing even more discomfort. The effects can be noticed from just one glass, so avoid it altogether and grab that cup of tea.