Periods. The week or so that most menstruating people dread. The combination of cramps, bloating, and mood swings can make you want to dive face-first into an entire chocolate cake – or at least that’s me. Although it may taste amazing, the sad news is that it probably won’t help with any symptoms you’re experiencing.
What you can do instead is shift your diet to include foods that aren’t only healthy, but also help to put those cramps in their place. And yes, chocolate is involved!
Drinking more water will help reduce some bloating, however, if you’re not a fan of the taste try eating water-based foods like lettuce, celery, cucumber, watermelon, or berries.
Dark, leafy greens
Dark, leafy greens are essential to fighting the sluggish and lethargic feelings. As you lose blood every month, it also means you’re losing iron so greens can help to replenish your iron levels!
A delicious juicy steak or burger can be appealing to those of you who eat meat, but kale, spinach, and broccoli are also great sources of iron.
Banana, pineapples, and kiwi
Bananas contain a healthy dose of vitamin B6 and potassium, which can help relieve some symptoms like bloating and cramping.
Fresh pineapple can also help by fighting inflammation as it contains the enzyme bromelain.
Kiwi is rich in the enzyme actinidin and can help you digest protein more easily. This fruit also contains fiber to help move things along down there so you aren’t dealing with constipation along with cramping!
But watch out as dairy sources of calcium can actually trigger cramps, try consuming figs, broccoli, tofu, or even dill! The herb can be used to garnish soups and salads or roast with fish and sliced lemon wedges.
Not only are oats full of fiber which helps you feel full for longer, but they are also a good source of zinc and magnesium! Magnesium relaxes blood vessels and also helps regulate serotonin, which is one of the feel-good hormones.
Oats are delicious whether you enjoy them as oatmeal or in a healthy batch of homemade granola!
Ginger has always been around for when you are in need of a stomach soother and it helps to manage gas and bloating as well!
Peanut butter is a lot of things like delicious, creamy, and dark chocolate’s best friend. Peanuts are a fantastic source of magnesium, which can help your brain regulate serotonin.
Unsalted peanut butter can help prevent bloating, but the more processed options could have the opposite effect.
In a study of young women, those who took capsules of cinnamon three times a day for the first three days of their menstrual cycle had less menstrual bleeding, less pain, and reductions in nausea compared to the participants that took a placebo.
Try a sprinkle of cinnamon on your oatmeal or cup of hot cocoa. It might help your cramps and other period symptoms!
Herbal remedies like fennel or chamomile contain anti-inflammatory compounds which are believed to be able to reduce cramps and swelling associated with your period.
Avoiding fatty foods, alcohol, carbonated beverages, caffeine, and salty foods can help a lot when trying to calm bloating and muscle spasms. Instead, try the foods above or some soothing teas, and if you need a sugar fix, snack on some fruits!