The Best Foods to Eat During Your Period for Optimal Health and Comfort
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The Best Foods to Eat During Your Period for Optimal Health and Comfort

by Aisle Team
The Best Foods to Eat During Your Period for Optimal Health and Comfort
We've all experienced it – your period starts, cravings kick in, you feel bloated, and you're eager to make the best food choices to soothe your body and ease your symptoms. Sound familiar? When it comes to managing menstrual symptoms, syncing the foods you eat with your cycle can be incredibly beneficial. Your body goes through various hormonal changes during your period, and the right nutrition can help mitigate common issues like cramps, bloating, and mood swings. By understanding and incorporating certain foods into your routine, you can support your body’s needs and enhance your overall well-being during this time. Side note: we strongly believe that treats in any chocolate form are also a form of self-care. 

 

Why Nutrition Matters for Menstrual Health

Your menstrual cycle affects your body in many ways. Hormonal fluctuations can lead to discomfort and various symptoms that can be managed with the right nutrients. For example, magnesium helps with muscle relaxation, calcium can ease cramps, and omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties. Knowing which foods are rich in these nutrients allows you to nourish your body more effectively and make your period more manageable.

Top Foods for Period Comfort

1. Leafy Greens

Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are excellent sources of iron. During your period, you lose blood, which can deplete your iron levels and leave you feeling fatigued. Eating iron-rich foods helps replenish your iron stores and maintain your energy levels. No only do they contain tons of healthy fibre but these greens also provide magnesium, which can help alleviate cramps. Think big salads, steamed sides and sneaky additions to your omelets, sandwiches and soups.

2. Berries

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. They are also high in fiber, which can help regulate digestion and prevent bloating. Additionally, their natural sweetness can satisfy sugar cravings. Blend them up into a smoothie, snack on them for dessert or add them to a yogurt or salad bowl. If it’s not fresh berry season, frozen works just as well! 

3. Fish

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce menstrual cramps. They also support heart health and provide a good dose of vitamin D, which can improve mood and overall well-being. This is a great time to meet up with your besties at your fave sushi spot.

4. Dark Chocolate

Good news for chocolate lovers! Dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa) is a fantastic source of magnesium. Magnesium helps relax muscles and reduce cramps, making dark chocolate a comforting and delicious treat during your period. It also boosts serotonin levels, which can improve your mood. So grab a bar, it’s good for your mental health too!

5. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, and flaxseeds are packed with essential fatty acids and protein. They are also high in magnesium and vitamin E, which can help reduce cramps and breast tenderness. Adding a handful to your daily meals or snacks can provide a significant nutrient boost. Bonus points if you can sync your seed routine with your menstrual cycle. 

6. Whole Grains

Whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in fiber and B vitamins. These nutrients help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing mood swings and cravings. Whole grains also provide sustained energy, keeping you fueled throughout the day. We love a nutrient-rich carb. 

7. Yogurt

Yogurt is a great source of calcium and probiotics. Calcium can help alleviate PMS symptoms like cramps and mood swings, while probiotics support a healthy gut and immune system. Choose plain, unsweetened full-fat yogurt to avoid added sugars and enjoy it with fresh fruit or honey. 

8. Bananas

Bananas are high in potassium, which can help reduce bloating and muscle cramps. They also contain vitamin B6, which can boost your mood and reduce irritability. Bananas make an easy and convenient snack that’s gentle on your stomach.

9. Oranges

Citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C helps your body absorb iron more effectively, and antioxidants support your immune system. They’re also hydrating, which is essential during your period.

10. Herbal Teas

Herbal teas can be incredibly soothing during your period. Chamomile tea helps relax your muscles and reduce cramps, ginger tea has anti-inflammatory properties, and peppermint tea aids with bloating and digestion. Additionally, red raspberry leaf tea is particularly beneficial for period pain relief. It contains fragarine, which can help tone and relax the uterus, reducing cramping and discomfort.

Managing Bloating During Your Period

Bloating is a common and uncomfortable symptom during menstruation. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to manage it effectively:

  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps flush out excess sodium and reduce bloating.
  • Eat Small, Frequent Meals: Instead of large meals, try eating smaller, more frequent meals to keep your digestive system from feeling overloaded.
  • Avoid Carbonated Drinks: These can contribute to bloating and gas.
  • Limit Salty Foods: High-sodium foods can cause water retention, leading to bloating.
  • Include Natural Diuretics: Foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and celery can help reduce water retention and bloating.

For extra comfort, consider using a heat pad on your abdomen. Heat can help relax muscles and reduce cramping, providing soothing relief. Additionally, wearing comfortable period underwear can help you feel more at ease and manage any leakage concerns during this time.

Foods to Avoid During Your Period

While it’s important to focus on the best foods for your period, knowing what to avoid is equally crucial. Here are some foods to avoid if you can:

Processed Foods

Processed foods are often high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats, which can exacerbate bloating, cramps, and mood swings. Opt for whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.

Caffeine

While a second cup of coffee might be tempting, too much caffeine can increase anxiety and interfere with your sleep. This can worsen PMS symptoms like irritability and fatigue. Try to limit your caffeine intake and opt for herbal teas instead.

Alcohol

Alcohol can dehydrate you, which can worsen bloating and cramps. It can also disrupt your sleep and affect your mood, making PMS symptoms more pronounced. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation and make sure to stay hydrated.

Eating a balanced and nutritious diet during your period can hopefully make a big difference in how you feel, however sometimes bloating is just par for the course. Do your best to try and incorporate nourishing foods into your meals that will support your body’s needs, manage symptoms, and help you to enjoy greater comfort and well-being. Remember, every body is different, so pay attention to how your body responds to different foods and adjust your eating habits accordingly. If you’re still experiencing bloating remember that this is nothing to be ashamed or frustrated about - put your jeans away, grab your comfiest clothes and try not to overthink it. 

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