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Menstruation – What & What Not to Eat
We all know that it is essential to eat a healthy diet to achieve optimum energy levels. For some women, their diet gets seriously derailed during the bloody days.
Menstruation brings about a number of unpleasant symptoms such as cramps, mood blues, bloating, etc. Not many know but these menstruation symptoms are influenced by the food you eat. In order to keep a check on them and get through your periods with the least amount of pain read on what and what not to eat.
During your period your body sheds its uterine lining. This natural process can cause depressive moods and irritability to painful cramps, breast tenderness and bloating. A healthy diet can go a long way toward minimizing these effects.
The body is affected in other ways as well, during your menstruation period. A number of symptoms like cramps, nausea, pain and headaches are also felt during menstruation due to the contraction of the uterus.
Foods to Eat
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many women completely forget that their bodies are losing as much fluid as they are and while you may want to reach for the Coca Cola, you best bet is actually water. Unlike coffee, colas, or teas, which have caffeine (which could increase muscle cramps) water is pure and good for your body’s health all around.
Leafy green vegetables are loaded with iron rich nutrients that your body needs when you are menstruating. Have a small salad with dinner and you can be sure that you are feeding your body just what it needs. Be careful of eating too much though, as some leafy greens can lead to bloating.
Salmon and tuna are both fish that are rich in Omega 3’s and other fatty acids that are great for relaxing the muscles in your body, which may decrease the severity of your cramps.
One of the leading sources of potassium, bananas are rich in B6 and other vitamins affect blood glucose and help boost your mood. They can also help regulate your bowel which is good since many women deal with diarrhea while on their period. Grab one off the counter and peel your way to a friendlier bowel.
Beans, like leafy greens, are an excellent source of iron and are a quick easy way to restore your body’s balance. Like leafy greens, they should be eaten in moderation as they are notorious for giving gas, which in turn leads to bloating.
While there is some debate on this as chocolate contains caffeine and is loaded with sugar, chocolate also contains magnesium, a nutrient that gets depleted whilst on your cycle. Go ahead and have a little, the darker the better, since chocolate has been scientifically proven to release serotonin, that feel good chemical you love so much.
Nuts and seeds
These little guys are packed with all kinds of nutrients that are good for your body, but beware, many of them come salted and candied which can lead to water retention and a sugar high that comes with a crash. Pick them up at your local fruit market rather than your grocer’s snack aisle, where they are raw rather than processed, and get to cracking on feeling better.
Whole grains are good for your body because they are not bleached, blanched, and sucked dry of their nutrients. They help you feel fuller longer, which will prevent you from over eating throughout the course of your period, and regretting it later on.
EHC suggests adding vitamin-friendly foods to your diet, especially during your cycle. Vitamin E can help eliminate some PMS symptoms. You will find it in avocado, hemp seeds and egg yolk. Vitamin B6 can help relieve bloating and boost your mood; find it in potatoes, bananas and oatmeal. Lastly, vitamin C and zinc support the health of a woman's eggs and reproductive system. Find vitamin C in grapefruits and lemons and zinc in pumpkin seeds and squashes.
Foods Not to Eat
Refined grains lose much of the original grain's nutrient content during food processing. As a result they can interfere with blood sugar and appetite control between meals – factors that can worsen menstrual symptoms. Other common refined grain products include instant rice, low-fiber cereals, pretzels and commercially prepared cookies, cakes and pastries.
Caffeine is one of the main foods to avoid during menstruation. This is because caffeine will constrict your blood vessels. It will also cause your body to become dehydrated. This will result in menstrual discomfort as dehydration and constriction of blood vessels cause headaches and increased nervousness. So avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks and chocolate with caffeine.
It is also advisable to avoid consuming too many high sugar foods like candy bars, soda or confectionaries during your menstrual period. This is because eating high sugar food will cause a blood sugar level spike that will soon crash. When your blood sugar level crashes abruptly after a spike, it leaves you feeling irritated, cranky and lethargic.
Fried foods contain high levels of fat and oil, which increases estrogen levels. It is not relevant if the oil is animal oil or vegetable oil. Fried foods like french fries, fried chicken, and onion rings have to be avoided to keep the estrogen levels stable. This keeps the uterus stable and reduces the cramps and pain.
Fatty meats & dairy products
The fats found in meats and dairy products are saturated. Similar to trans-fats, saturated fats can cause and worsen pain and inflammation during your period. EHC recommends eating more fish, lean meats and beans for protein for reduced pain. Avoiding high-fat cheese sauces, heavy cream, ice cream, meats with visible fat and dishes prepared with cheese or butter can also help.
Avoid alcohol completely during menstruation as it causes the blood to thin out, thereby increasing your flow. Alcohol also increases other PMS symptoms like cramps and pain.