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That dreaded time of the month has come. You have mood swings, your energy is at the lowest plus the cramps. To top that you get cravings for unhealthy foods. Every month menses create havoc in life.
Most of the ladies ignore diet and nutrition during this period of the month. I know it’s very hard to make healthy food choices at this time. But trust me, the human body and mind are highly adaptive in essence. Whatever you teach your body, it obliges. So why not teach healthy food choices. It will be difficult to inculcate initially, but eventually, it will get easier. You will not have to rely on pain relief medications during menses.
Let’s first see what foods you should avoid during menses:
- Salty foods: Now the deal is you are already bloated. Salt causes water retention. So why do you want to add to the pain of looking bloated? Absolutely avoid chips, wafers, pizza, pasta, bread, canned foodstuffs, cottage cheese, salted nuts, instant nuts, pickles, etc.
- Sugary foods: Sugar baby, ditch it! Refined sugar causes hormonal imbalance, blood sugar level fluctuates. Now already the mood is low, irritability is high, then why increase these symptoms. So avoid cakes, pastries, sweet chocolates, candies, toffees, etc.
- Chocolate: We all love chocolates, and during the period time it is revered even more. A lot of girls with the help of ‘Chinese whisper’ have spread the wisdom that chocolate reduces cramps. Chocolate does help in lowering cramps but somewhere in the whispering, dark word got lost. Dark chocolate! Ladies dark one relieves cramps. So avoid the extra sweet chocolates during this time.
- Caffeine: Teas, coffee, stimulants should be avoided. They increase heart rate and blood pressure which worsens period symptoms.
- Processed food: Foods that have gone through a lot of processing are high in both salts and fats. Whenever buying processed foods, read the food label for trans fats. They are the villains because of whom the whole fat family is hated. Trans fats or unhealthy fats cause disturbances in hormones which again worsen symptoms. Hence it’s wise to avoid trans fats in general. Biscuits, Khari, wafers, packed food items, vada pav, pakoda , etc are all high in trans fats.
Now let’s look at the foods you should include in your diet during menses:
- Dark chocolate: During chums, it’s a good option to keep dark chocolate with you to suppress your sugar cravings. Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants. It’s high in magnesium which will help in managing your mood swings. But having said that it good to exercise moderation or else it will add calories to your daily intake. A suggestion would be to buy one dark chocolate and eat one chunk from the big bar daily.
- Banana: Banana provides potassium, several vitamins, and insoluble fiber. It’s a nutrition-packed fruit. It reduces bloating, helps in bowel movement thereby lessening the symptoms. All foods high in B vitamins act as energy producers. Hence you won’t feel fatigued during this time.
- Green leafy vegetables: During menstruation, there is a lot of blood loss that naturally depletes the iron levels and so you feel lethargic and low on energy. Hence, incorporating green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, collard green you replenish your iron stores. Try to get at least one green leafy vegetable daily so that the blood loss during bleeding won’t affect you much.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a wonderful spice. It is an antioxidant full of health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial activities. In addition to all of this, it improves sensitivity to the insulin hormone. Due to its effect on insulin, it helps regulate energy levels. You can simply put the spice in veggies or make a cinnamon tea.
- Seeds: Seeds like pumpkin, flaxseed, sesame, sunflower are all highly nutritious. Pumpkin and flaxseeds contain phytoestrogens which help boost estrogen. Sesame seeds on the other hand block excess estrogen. These four seeds help in balancing hormones. They produce estrogen as well as block excess estrogen. As it stabilizes hormones, it’s good to have a fistful of these seeds daily even on non-period days.
- Non-veg: If you are a non-vegetarian, you can eat boiled eggs, chicken, fish as they all contain all essential amino acids which makes them the best source of protein. Chicken and eggs are iron-rich which will help in repleting iron stores. In addition to iron and protein, fish give omega 3 fatty acids.
- Chamomile tea: Chamomile tea is the best tea to have during menses. It alleviates period symptoms as it’s anti-inflammatory. This tea is mainly used to reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia. During periods, it will help in calming you, induce sleep, and reduce stomach aches, headaches.