Consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals help to avoid menstrual pains and cramps. Processed and fried foods should be avoided during this time of the month.
Foods to eat during a period
Green vegetables contain calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Also, they also help relieve and prevent menstrual pains. These minerals can help ease tensions. Green vegetables contain high quantities of vitamin K, which is required to prevent extreme bleeding and clot the blood.
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Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are rich in prostaglandins (a group of substances that are involved in muscular contraction and menstrual pain). These substances are similar to hormones. They are found in salmon, flax seeds and nuts. A 1995 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicated that women whose diets contained more omega-3 fatty acids, and were lower in other fats, had fewer symptoms before and during their period.
Beans is high in fiber content which helps reduce congestion and cramps. The fiber helps reduce diarrhea and constipation. Legumes also contain high levels of the vitamin B complex, which prevents cramps and fatigue at that time of the month. If you get more gas when you eat beans, eat them in small quantities to begin with and increase this amount gradually over time.
A research carried out by the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Centre, USA, stated that young women that take small amounts of manganese had an increase in blood flow of up to 50%. Women are therefore advised to increase the amount of manganese in their diets. Though fruit is rich in manganese, but pineapple contains the most. Also, pineapple contains bromelian, an enzyme that relaxes the muscles and avert menstrual cramps.
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Consuming yogurt can help enhance healthy digestion because it contains live cultures and active bacteria. Also, yogurt is a good source of calcium and consuming it appears to relieve menstrual discomfort. However, since meat and dairy products contain arachidonic acid, which increases the production of prostaglandins, which in turn cause cramps, women are better off choosing non-dairy sources of calcium, such as broccoli, kale, tinned salmon and foods fortified with calcium, such as cereal and juices.
According to studies, eating small amounts of carbohydrates every three hours and before bed can aid in the fight against premenstrual syndrome in 70% of women. Also, grains reduces neuromuscular tension because it is rich in magnesium. Consuming whole grains can help fight fatigue and depression because it contains B complex vitamins and vitamin E.
Ginger tea can be useful to prevent nausea and abdominal bloating during menstrual flow. Chamomile tea also has anti-spasmodic qualities and can help ease tension, anxiety and irritability.
Foods you should avoid during menstruation
Processed foods contains high amount of sodium and cutting down on how much sodium you consume can aid with water retention and bloating. Avoid processed foods, like cold meats and cheeses, soy sauce, etc., and any packaged food that contains 200 mg or more sodium per portion.
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Avoid consuming too much sugar, this is because refined sugar increases the amount sugar in the blood, making us lethargic. Try to eat fewer pastries, sweets, cereals at breakfast time and white flour, all of which your body quickly turns into sugar. Try to eat small, regular meals during the day, instead of three large meals.
Avoid caffeine and products like chocolate, sodas, tea and coffee during the menstrual cycle. Caffeine narrows the blood vessels and dehydrates the body, which can cause headaches and may increase anxiety during your period.
Fatty foods like meat, whole dairy products, fried foods, oils and all types of fat from animal and vegetable increases estrogen levels which can lead to cramps and pain.