Periods are a monthly affair for women. Although timely periods are considered as a sign of good health, the 3 – 5 days of the flow can cause great discomfort, inconvenience and pain. Sometimes the pain can reach almost intolerable levels which make it difficult for women to go about their routine. But the good news is that there are some simple no-hassle ways to deal with period pain. This includes a healthy diet. There are a few food items that can help to reduce period pain and associated discomfort and make your next period a little less agonising experience. Here is a list of 7 of them.
Food Items to Befriend
Turmeric is a commonly used spice with medicinal properties. It is well established that turmeric reduces inflammation in the body and hence plays a role in reducing the pain and discomfort due to periods.
Oats are a great breakfast option because they are easy to make and extremely nutritious. They are full of fibre thereby keeping you feeling full for longer and eliminating the need to munch on snacks before your next big meal. Oats also happen to be a good source of zinc and magnesium which relaxes blood vessels. It helps to reduce the chemical serotonin in your brain that promotes positive mental health. If you are wondering what to eat to reduce period pain, a tasty oats poha, oats idli or even some delicious overnight oats or oats porridge with generous toppings of berries should do the trick.
Ginger is a common ingredient found across Indian households in their kitchen. Ginger is naturally bestowed with anti-inflammatory properties which can successfully put an end to any period-related muscle aches. According to a study conducted by The Journal of Maternal-Fetal & Neonatal Medicine in 2018, ginger was effectively found to reduce feelings of nausea and vomiting. Whether you want to enjoy some crystallized/candied ginger post your lunch or dinner or want to soothe your mind and bodily senses with some warm ginger tea, ginger is one of those items that not only reduce period pain but also make you feel rejuvenated.
- Chamomile Tea
If you are thinking about how to relieve yourself of period cramps fast chamomile tea is another food item that comes with anti-inflammatory properties. More of a drink than food, chamomile tea is easy to make and helps ease muscle spasms along with lifting your mood by soothing your nervous system.
- Dark Chocolate
As per a study conducted by the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, magnesium was found to reduce severe symptoms of PMS. Chocolate lovers will be delighted to know that not only is dark chocolate a healthy snack option but is also recommended as food that help with easing periods related symptoms.
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C enriched food items definitely top the chart as foods that help with period cramps. During your menstrual cycle, you end up losing a significant amount of red blood cells than your body can make up for. Thus, a daily dose of vitamin c such as lemons and oranges can be highly beneficial for better iron absorption into your body from the foods that you consume throughout your periods (those 3 – 5 days every month particularly). Lemons contain fibre that helps with tackling muscle spasms and oranges contain potassium and magnesium in addition to a greater quantity of vitamin c than lemons which is highly effective for alleviating menstrual pain.
- Soaked Raisins and Kesar
A habit of consuming raisins that have been soaked overnight and drinking Kesar-water i.e., few strands of saffron soaked in a glass of water overnight have been shown to ease period pain as well as mood swings and associated bloating.
Foods to Avoid
While we are most often focused on what things to do or eat during our periods we often ignore what food items we definitely must avoid? Here are a couple of foods you should be refraining from to keep yourself feeling healthy and happy.
- Canned Foods
High on preservatives and salt, canned foods make your bloating and cramping worse than ever.
Coffee connoisseurs would be grieved to know that caffeine intake during your periods can trigger stress and anxiety making you feel irritable and disturbed throughout the day. In addition, coffee increases water retention in the body thereby promoting bloating which can be discomforting and counteractive if you are looking for foods that reduce period pain. Although cutting out coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms leading to headaches and migraines, sticking to just one or two cups can be the next best solution.
- Spicy Foods
Spicy foods cause stomach upset and acidity. This can even lead to nausea and diarrhoea. During your periods it is best to stick with fresh, healthy and mildly spiced food items.
- Fatty Foods
Excess of oily, fried and fatty food can heighten cramping and so fatty foods (such as bacon) may not be the right period pain relief food.
Abstaining from indulging your sweet tooth with candies is recommended during your period as they contain a high amount of sugar that can worsen period pain.
The best way to get relief from cramps and bloating when you are on your period is to have nutritious and lightly spiced foods. Eat regular healthy meals throughout the day to keep yourself full and free from cramps. Additionally, drink lots of water to avoid dehydration that can increase the intensity of cramping. Along with foods that help with period cramps, engaging in light exercises that are focussed on your core and lower half of the body such as yoga and walking can be beneficial in making your periods less painful.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.