Putting Foods To Work
The key to success is to follow the diet strictly so that the beneficial effects are evident over time.
Eat plenty of:
- Whole grains: brown rice, whole-grain bread, oatmeal, etc.
- Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, etc.
- Legumes: beans, peas, lentils
- Fruits: apples, mangoes, berries, oranges, etc.
- Animal products: fish, poultry, meats, eggs, and dairy products
- Refined grains: white bread, refined cereals, pastries, etc.
- Added vegetable oils: salad dressings, margarine, and all cooking oils
- Fatty foods: doughnuts, cheese, French fries, potato chips, etc.
Foods For The Luteal Phase
To help stave off cramps, headaches, and difficulty sleeping during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle, you should definitely include magnesium-rich foods while continuing to support your detox pathways.
Foods high in magnesium include nuts and seeds, leafy greens, avocado, chocolate, and bananas. If you have trouble with allergies during this time, try my tips for how to reduce histamine naturally.
- A sample meal for your premenstrual phase may include a soothing smoothie made with magnesium-rich banana, cacao powder, almond butter, and avocado. Toss in some cruciferous kale or cauliflower for extra detox support. Adding in collagen peptides should supply you with the amino acids necessary to support great sleep.
- Other foods to support the luteal phase include: cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, apples, peaches, pears, chickpeas, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, beef, turkey, cod, halibut, and peppermint. Try adding a Turmeric Shot to your diet to help reduce inflammation.
- Avoid too many added sugars which may contribute to premenstrual migraines and mood swings. See my list of the best no-sugar foods.
Protein For Period Cravings
Protein has the benefit of keeping your blood sugar stable, which can help ward off those period cravings and keep your energy up.
Grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs and chicken, organ meats, bone broth, wild fish, sprouted nuts and seeds and beans are food sources of protein.
|Lentils||18g / 1/2 cup|
One trick I love is to have a chocolate protein powder smoothie blended with spinach, fresh flax seeds and raw pumpkin seeds. The chocolate is satisfying and the protein keeps me fueled! Here is the protein powder I use.
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Follow A Healthy Lifestyle To Feel Your Best
The key recommendation for foods to eat during your period is that you should choose plenty of fruit and veg, whole grains and high-quality protein. Stay away from highly processed foods, including cakes, sweets, fried or fatty foods.
Choosing foods that are rich in nutrients and have a high fibre content will help you to feel your best at this time, soothing your digestive system and replacing any nutrients lost from menstrual bleeding.
While you may not feel like it, try to eat regularly to keep your energy levels up. Skipping a meal can leave you feeling nauseous or tired.
My final tip is to make sure you drink enough water! Replacing fluids and staying hydrated can help to minimise some of the uncomfortable symptoms you may experience.
Choosing whole foods at any time of the month will help you feel better
Your body is amazing, and as you learn more about how your body responds to different foods you will learn how to make healthy food choices that help you to feel better at any time of the month.
* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.
What Foods Help With Period Cramps
During your period, fluctuating hormones constrict your uterine muscles, which cause cramping. Some foods that help with period cramps are those that have a calming effect like herbal teas or camomile tea, and potassium-rich food like bananas and kiwis. Also, some menstrual cup users report experiencing less cramping, even though research has yet to prove this claim.
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What Causes The Pain
Before a period begins, the cells that form the lining of the uterus, also called endometrial cells, begin to break down during menstruation and release large amounts of inflammatory prostaglandins. These chemicals constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and make the muscle layer contract, causing painful cramps. Some of the prostaglandins enter the bloodstream, causing headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.2
Researchers have measured the number of prostaglandins produced by cells of the uterus and found that it is higher in women with menstrual pain than for women who have little or no pain. This helps explain why nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs work for menstrual pain. Ibuprofen , naproxen , and other NSAIDs reduce the production of prostaglandins. NSAIDs have been found to decrease menstrual flow, which may reduce menstrual pain.
Redefine The Good Stuff To Avoid Feeling Bad
When youre cramping and irritable, you just know that a hot fudge brownie sundae with extra fudge, nuts and whipped cream will make everything better. The problem is those sweet treats can significantly impact your insulin levels.
Foods that are really sugary and sweet will increase your insulin levels, and high insulin levels can cause imbalances in other female-factor hormones. Thats why you want to follow a low glycemic diet starting at least a couple of weeks before your expected period, says Dr. McClure.
If you eat a lot of carbs and sugar during your period, you might feel bloated or backed up. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome might experience irregular periods which could lead to other complications. But when your blood sugar levels are going up and down, Dr. McClure says you might feel tired or get headaches frequently.
The other problem with that hot fudge brownie sundae comes from the added estrogens that can be found in some animal products such as dairy and oils. Estrogens, which can be found in some animal products and added oils, can cause your uterine lining to become abnormally thickened. Then, during your menstrual cycle, your body must create more prostaglandins to break down the lining. More prostaglandins translate to more pain. Thus, you also want to avoid foods that can increase estrogen levels in your body.
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How Foods Change Hormones
A low-fat, high-fiber diet can significantly reduce estrogen levels.5,6 Cancer researchers have taken great interest in this phenomenon because lowering the level of estrogen in the blood helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Less estrogen means less stimulation for cancer cell growth.
If a woman eating a Western diet cuts her fat intake in half, her estrogen level will be about 17% lower. If the amount of fat is cut even more, the estrogen level will drop further. A lower hormone level will have less effect on the uterine cells.
In addition to lowering estrogen, a low-fat diet may also be beneficial because high-fiber vegetables, beans, fruits, and whole grains help the body to eliminate estrogens. Estrogen is normally pulled from the bloodstream by the liver, which sends it through a small tube, called the bile duct, into the intestinal tract. There, fiber soaks it up like a sponge and carries it out with other waste. The more fiber in the diet, the better the natural estrogen disposal system works.
Animal products and many processed foods do not contain fiber. When an individuals diet consists predominantly of packaged foods, refined grains, meat, or dairy, daily fiber needs may not be met. The extra estrogens, which should bind to fiber in the digestive tract and leave the body, get absorbed back into the bloodstream. This hormone recycling increases the amount of estrogen in the blood.
Keep Your Macros Balanced
As a runner, nothing will stop you from keeping up with your training plan. But since youre likely to feel more tired than normal, its important to fuel properly, says Rizzo. While everyones exact macronutrient breakdown will be a little different based on a number of factors, you should be mindful that youre not totally cutting one of them out or focusing solely on your favorite macro.
Carbs: Opt for whole grains, which have plenty of fiber to keep you full and provide long-lasting energy, Rizzo says. Whole wheat bread is a simple and easy choice, but so are oats, quinoa, brown rice, farro, sorghum, freekeh, popcorn, barleythe list goes on. Starchy root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, and beets, can also count towards your daily carb totals. And since theyre all high in vitamin A, eating them during your period could be extra smart: As you start shedding the lining of your uterine wall, your ovaries are producing more estrogen, Rizzo explains. That change in hormones can cause cramps and other uncomfortable symptoms, but vitamin A helps your liver process estrogen.
Healthy fats: Your hormone levels are out of whack the week before your period , says Rizzo. Luckily, those hormone levels recede when your period finally arrives, which can cause a shift in mood. Incorporating good fats into your diet, via olive oil, avocado, and nuts, for example, can help stabilize those mood swings.
What To Eat On Your Period According To Experts
If youre struggling with PMS, cramps, fatigue, or other period-related side effects, diet can help. Heres what to eat during your period to help relieve symptoms.
Lets face it: Periods suck. As well as being an inconvenience, they can accompany a variety of annoying PMS symptoms and make you feel generally nauseous. Anything you can do to relieve menstrual cramps is a welcome addition to your self-care routine, whether youre reaching for a heating pad to relieve cramps, taking a nutritional supplement to ease PMS symptoms, synchronizing your cycle, or just simply treating yourself just curl up with a cup of tea. Chances are youve also indulged in some comfort food during your period.
While eating during your menstrual cycle is often viewed as a treat or just written off as just period cravings , the truth is that nutrition can be a helpful tool to help you feel your best during your period.
Although the same hormones, estrogen and progesterone, are behind the workings of everyones menstrual cycle, each persons experience will be different as you may feel these cravings very strongly, or you may be super-cramped and have no desire to eat, or both. The common denominator between all cycles is that menstrual nutrition is key: Balanced meals of healthy fats, protein, and carbohydrates will keep you full, energized, and keep your hormones as balanced as possible so PMS cant throw you out of the loop as much, according to nutritionists .
Foods To Eat During Periods
Lets be honest- even without symptoms, periods arent easy on anyone. Sudden cravings are also often accompanied by an increase in hunger, and that should not be ignored. However, eating right can not only help you satiate your hunger and curb cravings but can also make you feel much better! Below is a list of foods to eat during your period.
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Dont Forget About Vitamin D
A 2015 study published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology found that having low vitamin D levels is associated with irregular periods. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a higher risk of poor or insufficient sleep or sleepiness. And a 2018 study in Gynecological Endocrinology finds supplementing with D may be helpful in reducing the severity of period pain and other PMS symptoms. Found in: fish oils, fortified milk, egg yolks. Now that you know the period foods you should eat, learn about the period mistakes that ruin your time of the month.
How Does Eating Citrus Affect Your Period
As mentioned, water with a twist of lemon increases your vitamin C intake and helps you stay hydrated. Fresh-squeezed juices and blended smoothies are awesome foods to eat on your period as long as you minimize the sugar content. Fruit contains plenty of natural sugars, so theres no need to add more.
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Why Eat Fruit During Your Period
For many of us, it is easy to fall into the trap of eating carb-rich comfort food during our period. While indulging in our cravings like pizza, pie, and mac-n-cheese might seem like a good idea at the time, it can often have negative consequences. For instance, some experience bloating, diarrhea, constipation, lethargy and cramping on an average day but during our period these discomforts can intensify.
But the fact of the matter is, that sometimes we need to feel our best even when our hormones are raging because as powerful individuals we have important things to do. For most of us, life doesnt stop just because were bleeding.
Thats why its important to fuel your body with healthy foods during your period and fruit is one of the best options. Now, were not saying that you should only eat fruits on your period. Of course not. Thats ridiculous. What we are trying to say is that if you need to feel like your most optimal self, you should reach for light healthy foods that will give you the nutrition you need to think clear thoughts and feel good physically.
In this post, we are sharing the 5 best fruits to eat during your period + a delicious smoothie recipe that serves as a healthy breakfast or snack to keep you on the right track.
What To Eat On Your Period For Energy
Eat ENOUGH food!
This one is simple. You need to be eating enough food. Our hormones change throughout our period. Estrogen is at its lowest, which is an appetite suppressant. So, if that is low, our appetite is likely to be higher. Make sense? Plus, your body is building a home for a potential child and then healing it.- that takes energy, it doesnt just happen from thin air.
The metabolic rate . This is due to multiple reasons, but one is that estrogen is rising. You might notice that after your period you might not have that same ravenous appetite.
My point here is: eat. And eat enough. If we dont were likely to swing from one end of the hunger scale to the other end of the hunger scale and back and forth and back and forth. And, well, that doesnt feel super great does it? And you body cant function optimally there, either.
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Avoid: Animal Fats And Dairy
Again, PGE2 is heavily linked to inflammation, so it would be wise to avoid the fats that stimulate its production throughout your entire menstrual cycleâand especially before your period.
That means limiting foods heavy in omega-6 fatty acids, such as dairy, meats, and other processed foods.
Does Your Ibs Get Worse Around Your Period
While not all adults with IBS report symptoms changes around menstruation, many do. Estrogen and other sex hormones can interact with your digestive function and your gut-brain communication in multiple ways, for example, increasing the visceral sensitivity of your gut nervous system, which can lead to increased feelings of pain and discomfort. Combined with the ways that sex hormone fluctuations can directly influence motility, leading to increased constipation or diarrhea, you may find that your IBS symptoms are more intense at certain times in your cycle.
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Foods To Eat For A Better Period
While the wide discussion around periods tells you a whole lot about doâs and donâts during adolescence, especially when you are on your period, however most pay little attention to the importance of âright eatingâ.This is essential because your diet directly impacts your hormones, where certain foods can aggravate cramping, mood swings, nausea, and bloating, while many other food products can help alleviate the symptoms making you feel better.
Tip : Consider Doing Some Very Light Exercise For Lower Back Pain
This is especially useful if you experience lower back pain during your period. Look into relaxing yoga poses to relieve menstrual cramps and relax the body.
Any type of exercise, no matter if its restorative yoga or cardio, will help you produce endorphins and help you feel better. The key is to listen to your body and decide what type of exercise will benefit you most.
Keep in mind that there is no golden rule to follow that will make all period symptoms disappear. And should you end up eating a pack of chocolate chip cookies instead of apples and almonds, thats okay! The important thing is to focus on you and your needs, and if a chocolate chip cookie is what you need, then eat it.
Remember, this is about supporting your body. It will not make your periods completely painless but it will reduce some of the pains and discomfort. Love your body and your body will love you back!
Also, spice up your meals with turmeric, cardamom, cilantro, cumin, or ginger for anti-inflammatory benefits.
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Weight And Your Menstrual Cycle
Maintaining an overall healthy weight can help to keep our menstrual cycles regular, said Huntriss, adding that losing or gaining weight can affect your cycle. Adipose tissue in which fat is stored is an endocrine organ that is involved in the production of and release of hormones, including those involved in reproduction and our menstrual cycles, said Huntriss. Having a high or very low proportion of body fat can lead to changes in the levels of oestrogen and other reproductive hormones in the body, leading to problems with ovulation and regular periods, she concluded.
This article is not a replacement for medical advice. See a GP if you are concerned about your menstrual cycle or symptoms. This article was published in October 2021.