Healthy eating tips to follow during your menstrual cycle

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Eating healthy during your time of the month can be a challenge, but making minor adjustments to your eating habits can help you through the worst of your menstrual cycle.

Your period leaves you irritated, moody, bloated and in pain. Your natural instinct is to reach a handful of greasy food, but this habit leaves you with a bloated tummy and pimples. Instead, eating the right foods can ease your cramps and relieve your mood. In fact, eating certain foods at certain stages of your mentrual cycle also helps reduce the symptoms associated with your period.

Here are some healthy eating tips to follow during your menstrual cycle

Day 1 to 5 of your menstrual cycle

You should eat magnesium-rich foods like spinach and whole grains, as well as foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, sardines and walnuts.

Day 6 to 13 of your menstrual cycle

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet helps alleviate stress. This promotes hunger and you tend to eat in a healthy way.

Day 14 to 17 of your menstrual cycle

During this stage, your senses are sharp and active, especially your sense of taste. Eating a lot of gourmet foods such as cheese, lobster and beef and drinking good wine is advisable.

Day 18 to 23 of your menstrual cycle

Your progesterone level rises in this stage, causing a disruption in your bowel movements. Eating a diet rich in fibre can help prevent constipation, enabling you to retain your energy. Fibre-rich foods such as barley, brown rice and fibrous fruits and vegetables can be helpful at this stage.

Day 24 to 28 of your menstrual cycle

This is the PMS phase; eating comforting food is a natural tendency of the body. Make sure to pair your carbs with proteins to stabilise your blood sugar levels.

Here are some healthy eating tips to follow during your period

• Alleviate your cravings: Snacking on lean protein and fibre when your cravings are at their peak helps stabilise your sugar cravings. Eating whole fruits rather than artificial sugar can also be beneficial. Dark chocolate is a powerful antioxidant that is known to soothe menstrual cravings in addition to boosting serotonin, which improves your mood.

• Prevent bloating: You can control your bloating by paying attention to what you eat. Opt for whole foods such as nuts, fruits and whole grains and avoid foods high in sodium. The body tends to retain water during your period, so it is important that you drink plenty of water and fluids to avoid bloating. Make sure you avoid carbonated and sugary fluids, which promote bloating. Caffeine can help reduce bloating but it is rough on sensitive intestines and increases stomach acid, so consume it in moderation.

• Relieve cramps: Fight menstrual cramps and PMS with foods that are natural and low in sugar, such as broccoli, spinach, carrots, oatmeal, legumes, lentils, peas, beans, nuts, sprouts, etc.

• Fulfill the requirements of your body: Your iron levels may fall due to the blood that is being lost, so it is important to include iron in your diet. Eating magnesium-rich foods is also important as the body craves it. Adding all the necessaryvitamins to your diet can also help you deal with PMS. Vitamin E helps eliminate some of the PMS symptoms and you can find it in avocados, hemp seeds and egg yolks. Vitamin B6, which is found in potatoes, bananas and oatmeal, can help relieve bloating and boost your mood. Lastly, Vitamin C and zinc improve the overall health of your reproductive system. Incorporate foods rich in Vitamin C, such as grapefruits and lemons, or zinc-rich foods such as pumpkins, seeds and squash in your diet.