When it’s that time of the month, you may be feeling discomfort due to bloating, cramps, or even nausea. You may have some serious cravings, or you may feel sick at the idea of eating anything. It’s important to fuel your body mindfully when you’re on your period. Something important to note is that menstrual cramps are mostly due to inflammation (1). So, by tailoring your diet towards foods that decrease inflammation, you can help ease your pain. Read on to learn foods to eat while on your period, as well as some that you should avoid.
What to eat on your period:
Ginger can help ease numerous side effects of your period, so make sure you reach for a warm mug of ginger tea when it’s your time of the month. Ginger is anti-inflammatory, so drinking some can help ease your cramps. Plus, it’ll help hydrate you, given the water in a cup of tea. Ginger is also known to help nausea during pregnancy, so it could likely have similar effects on your period-related nausea (2).
2. Dark chocolate
Many people crave chocolate during their periods, but rather than turning to milk chocolate, choose dark if you have the preference for it. This delectable goodie is high in iron and magnesium. Having low magnesium levels can cause severe period symptoms, but treating yourself to a few squares of chocolate a day can help minimize those aches and pains.
3. Calcium-rich foods
Make sure to get in your calcium every day, but especially during your cycle. Studies have shown that getting a proper amount of calcium during your cycle can help ease symptoms, such as cravings and cramps (3). This could mean yogurt, milk, or even veggies, like broccoli or squash.
4. Whole grains
You might crave carbs while on your period, so when you do, opt for whole grain options, like brown rice or whole grain bread. Processed grains can affect your mood because of the impact on serotonin release, so sticking to whole grains can help minimize this effect (4).
If you tend to crave snacks while on your period, nuts are a great choice for you to keep on hand. Nuts, like peanuts and almonds, are high in magnesium, which your body may be depleted of during your period. Plus, since nuts are high in protein, you may feel more full and have less cravings.
Foods to avoid:
If you crave a glass of wine while on your period, you don’t need to give it up cold-turkey. However, you’ll want to stick to a glass a day. Some studies believe excessive alcohol consumption can make period symptoms worse, especially due to the dehydrating effects of alcohol (5). That said, make sure you pair your glass of wine with a glass of water, as well.
2. Canned soup
While you may be looking for the comfort of a warm bowl of soup, you should make sure you’re opting for homemade soup when you’re on your period. The high levels of sodium that are often present will make you feel more bloated, which can add to the painful cramps you’re already experiencing (6).