Periods can be a pain, but with bloating, mood swings, low energy and being “hangry” all the time the most promising option seems like diving into a tub of ice cream face first! While that might seem like an amazing option for just the time being, it becomes imperative to consciously direct ones food cravings to healthier and more suited options to control not only the calories consumed but also to help the body cope with the different changes of the menstrual cycle.
Shifting to eco-friendly sanitary napkins
Eco- friendly, biodegradable pads are safer to use than commercially sold pads, and they also help the environment by being reusable. An eco-friendly sanitary napkin can really help users who often complain of rashes and itching due to the chemicals and plastic present in disposable pads. With the use of these eco-friendly products, a woman can help save the world from 23 kg of plastic waste that she may individually generate over her lifetime.
Here is a list of the best foods to have during periods:
1. Fill up on calcium – Calcium is one of the best solutions for a girl on her period. It not only reduces cramping, water retention and bloating but also helps boost their mood and increase concentration. Found in foods like milk, yoghurt, cheese, butter etc. periods make for the right time to perfect those smoothie and parfait recipes to help soothe the aching muscles.
2. Focus on the Green – The first five days or so, depending on the individual, women lose a lot of blood putting them at risk for low iron levels. It is important especially for vegetarian and vegans to supplement their diet with foods rich in iron like green leafy vegetables. Foods like spinach, kale, collard greens and, broccoli are some of the easiest to incorporate into your diets. From salads to smoothies, the options are never-ending. Other high fibre foods like peas, lentils and, sprouts should also form a major part of your meal plans.
3. Fish – Fish oils are proven to help relieve menstrual pain, cramping, depression as well as they have the benefit of thinning menstrual blood in case one suffers from dark thick menses or excessive clots. Fish like Tuna and Salmon have been highly appreciated for their health benefits. Being cold water fish and high in Omega-3 they are an amazing source of protein as well as vitamin D and B6. Hence they help in easing muscle pain and crankiness. However, people who are allergic to fish can reach for walnuts and avocados full of Omega-3 too.
4. Fruits – Bananas, oranges, kiwi’s, pineapples are all instant refreshers and they also have remarkable benefits on the human body. Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6 and potassium and are best known for their ability to regulate bowel movements which might be an issue for many women during their periods.
Oranges and other citrus fruits have essential nutrients that are needed to stay healthy and in a good mood. Lemons, limes and other citrus fruits help alleviate mood swings and being packed with water and fibre are absorbe;d quickly into the blood stream, thus giving immediate relief from fatigue and nausea often experienced by many women. A glass of lemon water or a smoothie would definitely help one feel fresh and energised.
5. Oats – A bowl full of nutritious oats is delicious and makes for a healthy heavy snack or breakfast. Full of fibre magnesium and zinc, it helps one stay full for longer and helps regulate serotonin keeping them happier and regulating mood swings. Zinc also helps with reducing cramps, bloating and regulates food cravings.
6. Eggs – New studies have shown that a deficiency of Vitamin D is the main cause of irregular periods. Eggs are rich in Vitamin D, B6 and E that help fight menstrual symptoms. Packed with nutritional benefits and protein, it becomes one of the most versatile ingredients to add to their meal plans. Apart from being one of the healthiest foods, the yolk also contains iron fat and soluble vitamins that have an overall benefit to the human body and mind.
7. Dark chocolate – Many women hear the word chocolate and dive right in for the largest slab that they can find, but only and only dark chocolate with the highest percentage of cocoa can help with PMS. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is as this would mean a very low percentage of sugar. Hence slabs with more than 70% cocoa, especially organically produced options, are the best.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants and is a rich source of magnesium that helps with mood swings and regulates serotonin. It also helps in the production of the “happy hormone”. It helps in relaxing muscles as it is full of antioxidants. Thus munching on a few squares is always advisable to satisfy cravings.
8. Whole Grains – They help combat fatigue and sluggishness while being heavy suppliers of magnesium and nutrients. Studies suggest that the fibre of whole grains keep people fuller for longer and aid in healthy bowel moment. Hence swapping the big bowl of rice for richer foods like brown rice and whole grain bread will definitely help with period symptoms.
9. Peanuts/Peanut Butter – Another food rich in magnesium are peanuts. They help regulate serotonin which helps prevent bloating. Make sure the peanuts are unsalted or low salted as salt is said to be the main cause of water retention in the human body.
10. Water/ tea– Drinking a tall glass of water when bloated might seem a little counterproductive, but it is proven that chugging some water prevents one’s body from retaining water. If drinking water just by itself seems a little boring, it can also be substituted by fruits or vegetables that are rich in water. Another viable option is hot or warm liquids such as green or chamomile tea to soothe the cramps. Ginger is also a stomach soother for nausea, gas and bloating.
Thus, while the world is working towards helping women through their pains and hormonal fluctuations a little, something can also be done to help with what they put into their body as well. A small lifestyle change can go a long way when it comes to relieving period pains.