When most people are on their periods, they tend to feel uncomfortable. Symptoms such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, headaches, cramps, fatigue and mood swings are very common. Which is why you might want to alter your diet for those few days because certain foods can accelerate the effects of these symptoms. This would explain the difference in symptoms every month. Sometimes the intensity of the cramps is unbearable and other times you don’t even feel it. Other times nausea can even prevent you from doing your normal activities. Diet plays a huge role in the determination of these symptoms and effects.
Here are things to take when you are on your periods.
- Drink a lot of water
When you are on your period you tend to be dehydrated. Dehydration leads to a host of many other issues including headaches and migraines. Therefore you might just want to increase your consumption of water to replenish that which is being lost while you are menstruating.
Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that can improve certain effects of menstruation. It can soothe achy muscles. Ginger has also been said to reduce the amount of nausea. A study conducted in 2018 actually confirmed that ginger effectively reduced nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Therefore it is definitely worth a try. You can incorporate it into your meals or drink ginger tea. Health: 5 Benefits Of Ginger
Water-based fruits such as watermelon and cucumber have the ability to keep you hydrated during these days, so you might just want to incorporate them to your diet. Fruits can also help to satisfy your sugar cravings and therefore rather than opting for refined sugars which aren’t healthy.
- Green leafy vegetables
Given that when you are on your periods you are likely to lose a lot of blood, the iron levels go down and need to be replenished or else it can cause anaemia. This deficiency of iron also causes nausea and increased heart rate, and therefore you might want to eat more green vegetables to reduce these effects.
- Dark chocolate
Here goes some good news. Dark chocolate is actually good for your periods. A study that was conducted found that magnesium reduces the intensity of pre-menstrual stress. Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium and is thereby appropriate during menstruation.
It is common for people to suffer from yeast infections during and after menstruation. This has been attributed to the hormonal changes which alter the levels of bacteria in your vagina and reduce them significantly. Yoghurt can help to replenish this ‘good bacteria’
On the other hand, here are the foods that you should avoid when you are on your periods:
- Refined sugars
This is a big deal, because if you are like me then you have serious cravings for sugars when you are on your periods. Research has however shown that refined sugars can alter the normal sugar levels. The higher your blood sugars, the more severe your period symptoms may be.
Contrary to what most people think, alcohol is a depressant. Therefore when you drink alcohol while you’re on your periods, it increases the effects of post-menstrual stress. Which is why you might want to stay away from it for these few days. Alcohol can also dehydrate you which worsens headaches.
I have some bad news for the coffee lovers. You might want to stay away from it during your periods. Coffee can cause water retention and bloating. It can also cause the blood vessels to constrict and therefore leading to less blood flowing to the uterus, and therefore increasing the pain. If you already suffer from acidity issues, now coupled with the menstruation bloating, the effects may intensify. Therefore you might want to stay away from it for a few days. However, coffee withdrawal can also cause headaches and therefore if you drink it every day, you might just want to reduce the intake rather than cutting it off completely.
Consuming a lot of salt can lead to water retention and therefore bloating. Which is why you might want to reduce your intake of salt while you are on your periods. A high salt diet will cause a gassy bloating feeling, which is super uncomfortable given that it adds to the painful cramps. Therefore I would suggest a low salt diet during this period.
On a regular day, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and all legumes are notorious for causing bloating. You might just want to keep them off your plate while you are on your periods, lest you heighten the intensity of pain that you already feel due to cramps.
Read about why we need to have conversations around menstrual shame and how it affects women
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