What should I eat while menstruating?

How foods you eat may impact period related symptoms

Believe it or not, what you put in your body makes an impact during your menstruation. Certain foods can help decrease period symptoms, while others increase them. Foods that are rich in natural vitamins and supplements such as iron and magnesium help prevent iron deficiency. Foods that increase bloating and inflammation are ones to avoid such as sugar, and processed foods.

Best foods to eat during your period

1. Water
Staying hydrated during menstruation is essential. During your cycle, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop causing your body to retain water. Staying hydrated helps reduce symptoms of headaches, fatigue , bloating, and water retention. It is suggested to drink at least eight glasses of water a day during your period.

2.  Ginger

Ginger is easy to incorporate into your daily routine. It provides amazing benefits such as being an anti-inflammatory, which can help decrease the amount of pain during uterine cramps. Ginger is also very popular for nausea relief. Studies have proven that sucking on ginger candy or drinking tea can reduce the feelings of an upset stomach. Be sure to only ingest the daily dosage of ginger as it can cause heartburn. The suggested dosage is 4 grams per day.

3. Chicken
Chicken is great to add to your diet not just around the time of your period, but all throughout the month. It is packed with a natural iron and lean protein. It is also known to help with period cramps. Be sure to only have grilled chicken. Stay away from fried chicken. This is because high fat foods tend to negatively impact your hormone levels.

4. Fish
Fish such as salmon, tuna, or even oysters are very beneficial during your period. Fish contains healthy fats known as Omega-3. This healthy fat reduces inflammation and acts as an antioxidant in the body. This in turn decreases cramping during your period by relaxing your uterus.

5. Turmeric
Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps prevent painful uterine contractions. It is recommended to take between 50-200mg of tumeric daily when not menstruating. During menstruation, you may find it helpful to increase your dosage to help combat period cramping and pain.

6. Quinoa
Quinoa is rich in iron, magnesium and protein. It is also high in vitamin B-12. Vitamin B-12 helps increase your energy levels and also regulate your mood. Quinoa is high in fiber which helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

7. Yogurt
Yogurt is great at regulating your calcium levels during your period. Having a healthy calcium level decreases bloat and mood swings. It is also good for relaxing your muscles as well. If you are more prone to developing yeast infections during and after your period, yogurt may also provide a benefit as it helps create good bacteria to fight yeast infections caused by periods.

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What foods should I avoid during my period?

1. Salt (sodium)
Salt not only increases blood pressure but it also causes fluid retention which in turn causes bloating. It also increases cramping. When our hormone levels drop during our period, we need to focus on hydrating our bodies instead of dehydrating it more.

2. Caffeine
Caffeine although it is tasty and gives the perfect morning pick me up, it actually is not the best during your period. Studies have shown that caffeine increases Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The acidity in coffee also increases intestinal irritation which in turn increases diarrhea and causes dehydration.

3. Sugar
Sugar increases inflammation in the body because of the increased blood sugar which increases the blood supply to your uterus. This in turn causes more painful cramping.

4. Alcohol
Alcohol is safe to consume in moderation. However, heavy drinking during your period can cause increased PMS symptoms. Also, it has an effect on your hormone levels. This in turn can make you more moody.

Tips for easing your period symptoms & period management

Period underwear
Period underwear has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. However, it has been around since the late 1980’s. Many women prefer period underwear because they are an all natural toxic free alternative to pads. Period underwear varies in thickness to adjust to your needs during your cycle. The lightest period underwear can hold one tampon. While, the strongest hold period underwear can hold up to 3 regular tampons or 6 teaspoons. The best part about it is, you never run out. Simply throw them in the washer with your dirty laundry, and you are ready to go. No more late night trips to the store.

Heat patches
Heat Patches are easy to apply with a simple adhesive. They can be worn for up to 12 hours to provide consistent heat to your abdominal area. The heat from the patch helps relax muscles and provides localized pain relief. It is not recommended to wear a heat patch while sleeping.

Exercise
Exercising may be the last thing on your mind during your period. But, it provides amazing benefits. During your period your estrogen and progesterone are at their lowest. Working out releases endorphins and therefore increases your mood. Exercise also helps decrease cramping with increased blood flow.

The Last Word

Sometimes we feel like we are never prepared enough for our “Aunt Flow” to visit. After all, it can happen at the most inconvenient times. Fortunately with a modified diet, and heating pads, you can go about your day with minimized symptoms. Also, consider throwing out those tampons and pads and investing in period panties. They cut down on toxic waste and carry no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome or other infections.

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