Are you tempted to devour a whole bar of chocolate? Or are you craving a pint of ice cream while watching your favourite Netflix show? Has your box of organic sanitary pads been left untouched for a month too long? If your answer is a yes, you are probably at the brink of your period. Along with your usual temperament, your daily diet also seems to go for a toss. For those of you who are wondering if there is a connection between the two – there definitely is. Unfortunately, while these sweet indulgences result in momentary happiness, they also have an effect on our bodies because we are essentially replacing our nutrition requirements with “junk-food.” Eating the right food not only helps you recover from the pain of periods faster, but also helps you stabilize your emotional state of mind. Here is how-
During your menstrual cycle, a special set of hormones in your body mature the eggs in your ovaries and create a cushioned lining around your uterus for the egg to fertilize and initiate a pregnancy. In the event that the egg is not fertilized, the uterus sheds its lining (the endometrium) and here onwards begins the 5-7 day journey of your period. During this time, hormone-like compounds called the prostaglandins – are released to help the uterus contract and relax, so that the endometrium can break away and flow out of your body easily. An excess of the prostaglandins is known to cause severe cramps, headaches and other bodily abnormalities. In addition to this our female sex hormones, estrogens, also fall and rise rapidly resulting in extensive mood swings.
However, the good news is that it is possible to regulate these two main hormones to a large extent entirely through our diet. The following are some ways to keep those irresistible cravings in check, abstain from unhealthy munching and include healthy foods during your period:-
- Know what your body is asking for:
During your periods, your body craves for all things natural. From biodegradable sanitary pads to farm-fresh, locally-grown, organic foods, it is important to pamper your body with the best. Knowing what minerals and nutrients our bodies lack during our periods is important. Overtime, health researchers have found that there are healthier alternatives for foods that our bodies might be craving for during this time.
- Magnesium: The body’s demands for magnesium increases significantly during periods. To avoid overindulgence in chocolates (cocoa is rich in magnesium), you can satiate your cravings with magnesium rich foods such as nuts and seeds or green leafy vegetables.
- Sugar and Carbs: Hunger levels increase dramatically during your period- enough to leave you reaching out for multiple bags of your favourite chips. To counter this, it is important to eat healthy fats and protein – whole grains, fruits, avocados – during the week before your period. This will keep your sugar and carb levels in check and ensure you never really reach the stage of needing to binge-eat.
Salt: When the body suffers a deficit of minerals, it yearns for salty food. In order to prevent a drop in minerals, resort to iron-rich foods that are also high in B-12 and folate: dried fruits, black beans, dates and pumpkin seeds, legumes, green leafy vegetables, lentils and small amounts of milk. It is advisable to avoid refined salt, packed and canned foods.
Eat at regular intervals: During your periods you are not just hungry, but hangry. To avoid overindulging at one go, set alarms to eat at regular intervals. This will help curb irresistible hunger pangs and supply you with energy throughout the day. It is advisable to eat six small meals of healthy foods during your period instead instead of adopting a traditional eating pattern of three large meals in a day.
Always store healthy snacks: When you are hungry, you don’t necessarily look for a healthy alternative and end up eating whatever is available at the earliest. This is when you resort to fast-food and is one of the biggest reasons why your body does not stay healthy when you most need it to. The easiest way to eat healthy foods during your period is by storing organic nibblers like roasted fox nuts, gluten free crackers, mixed nuts, greek yoghurt, etc for when those hunger pangs begin to hit.
Take breaks: Our contemporary lifestyles have become more demanding and requires us to juggle between tasks which results in increased stress-levels. We then begin consuming food not because we are hungry but because it is a habitual reaction prompted by stress. To refrain from doing this, one can engage in breathing exercises, join yoga and meditation classes, pursue alternative hobbies, or simply take a long walk every time we begin to feel stressed. This will prevent you from eating when you are stressed, ensuring you maintain a good appetite for your dedicated meal times.
All in all, to maintain optimum menstrual health, one must create weekly targets to adopt a healthier lifestyle and work on achieving them everyday instead of only on the days of your period. A pain-free period is also due to factors that extend beyond just the diet- using organic sanitary pads, sleeping 8 hours every night, and exercising regularly are all key pointers that allow for the maintenance of a healthy body. Heyday provides biodegradable sanitary pads online and is also now initiating well-researched blogs to uplift all other aspects of your journey to a happy period.