Ladies, we’ve all been there, aunty flow comes into town and the only thing you can think about is wrapping up in blanket with a hot water bottle and laying down binge watching your favorite Netflix shows with a bag of chocolate and a tub of Ben & Jerry’s. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to explain that we want the worst things during our periods – in fact, a poll of more than 50,000 users conducted by Whispers found that 33% of women indulge in junk food in order to deal with period pain.
The problem is, we want the good stuff but in reality the sweets aren’t going to do us any favors like trying to reduce bloating or help cramps or maintain good energy. So sadly we are going to have to ditch the bad delicious stuff and focus on the things that are good for us. Here are 10 food suggestions you should be eating to feel your best regardless of what time of the month it is.
- CHOCOLATE: Not so fast people – we’re talking about only dark chocolate here because it is great for the body because it is filled with magnesium, which regulates serotonin that control moods swings. Also, eating a few can kill some weird cravings.
- BANANAS: Bananas are nature’s own version of antidepressants because they are packed with potassium and B6 that helps boost your mood and regulate bowel movements (another potential issue that comes with Aunt Flo).
- AVOCADOS: Avocados are nutritional powerhouses because they host a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. “Avocados are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation and relieve pain due to menstrual cramping,” says Kristen Carlucci, RDN, a wellness coach and registered dietitian in New York City. “Try adding a few slices to a sandwich wrap, or whip up a guacamole to dip fresh vegetables into for a snack.”
- LOW-FAT YOGURT: Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium has been universally recommended for managing PMS symptoms. Studies have shown that women who eat more calcium rich foods, like low-fat yogurt, experience less cramps and low moods. “I consider calcium-rich foods an absolute must for women with PMS,” Bauer says. And there’s science to back her up. According to a joint study by researchers from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and other institutions, which analyzed the calcium and vitamin D intakes of nearly 3,000 women, eating a diet with calcium-rich dairy products, especially those with added vitamin D, lowered the risk for developing PMS by as much as 40 percent.
- LEAFY GREEN: This one is kind of obvious. When menstruating, you lose blood and leafy greens like spinach contain iron.
- WHOLE GRAINS: One serving of whole grains a day balances your blood sugar levels and keeps you feeling fuller for longer.
- SALMON OR TUNA: Salmon helps with reducing the discomfort of inflammation and cramping associated with menstruation. Women might benefit from getting more vitamin D in their diet, the University of Massachusetts researchers say. Among 186 participants between the ages of 18 and 30, those with PMS reported fewer symptoms when they had at least 100 IUs of vitamin D a day. One of the best food sources of vitamin D is wild salmon (also a good source of vitamin B6, which may help reduce irritability and breast tenderness).
- GINGER & CHAMOMILE: There are studies that have proved that ginger can be effective as pain killer like ibuprofen, while chamomile is a known to have a natural sedative effect that reduces muscle spasms. Try it out.
- EGGS: Eggs can help fight PMS because they are good sources of vitamins D, B6, and E. A study involving more than 116,000 nurses showed that, like a diet rich in vitamin D, a diet rich in vitamin B can reduce PMS symptoms. Vitamin E is yet another nutrient that can bust PMS symptoms, Dr. Seibel says. The thinking is that these vitamins help control brain chemicals that can cause PMS.
- PEANUTS: Peanuts and peanut butter are among the best foods for vitamin B6 and magnesium. “Magnesium-rich foods are second only to calcium-rich foods for improving your chances for PMS symptom reduction,” Bauer says. Getting extra magnesium may help lift your mood and prevent bloating, Seibel adds.
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