Health Tips
Foods that You Need to Take & Avoid During Menstruation
Date: 23/12/2021

Menstruation is a process that women have to go through monthly once they have reached their puberty. It is when your body discards the build-up of the lining of your uterus (womb). And during this time, your body loses a lot of nutrients in your body, therefore, you need to consume foods that will replace all the nutrients that you have lost. 

Now you may ask, what kind of food should you take? While some foods can help you to ease your cramps, others can actually make them worse, hence you should avoid taking them. But what are they? Worry not, we are here to help you! 

Here are some lists of food that you should take and avoid during your menstruation! 

Foods to Take
  1. Leafy greens vegetables 

Since your blood contains around 70% of iron, when you lose your blood, you will be losing iron as well. It is indeed common for women to experience iron deficiency during their menstruation and that is why you will feel extra tired than usual, cramps and dizziness. 

Besides boosting your iron level, greens are also good as they contain phytochemicals that can reduce your inflammation during that time of the month. There are a variety of leafy greens available for you but the best ones are spinach, kale and swiss chard

  1. Ginger 

Some women may experience nausea during their menstruation. Some studies show that consuming ginger may help you to reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting. Considering that it is cheap, we’re pretty sure that it is in everyone’s kitchen. 

You can have a warm ginger tea with a little bit of turmeric and lemon and you will feel better instantly since it has anti-inflammatory effects that can help to soothe your achy muscles. However, you should consume it moderately as having too much ginger may cause heartburn and stomachache. 

  1. Fish 

Omega-3 that is contained in fish like salmon or sardines can help to reduce the pain of period cramps and may work even better than ibuprofen (painkiller). It fights cramps by helping to cancel out the effects of excessive omega-6 fatty acids (found in eggs and vegetable oils), which can cause inflammation and trigger pain. 

For those who can’t eat fish, you can opt with other food like walnuts, chia seeds and ground flaxseeds. 

  1. Dark chocolate 

Did you realize that when you are about to have your period, you will crave chocolates or sweets? Well, good news for you! Now you can try and change your preference in chocolates and change it into a dark chocolate. 

Why? Because dark chocolate is rich in iron and magnesium. Magnesium has been found to reduce cramps by relaxing the smooth muscle of the uterus and also by reducing the prostaglandins that can cause period pain. 

Foods to Avoid 
  1. Highly processed foods

Frozen foods and fast foods, they all come with unknown ingredients and preservatives which are not good for you during your menstruation. They also contain high level of sodium, a major cause of bloating and water retention. 

Avoid taking these foods a few days before your period and best to consume homemade meals instead of eating outside. 

  1. Caffeinated drinks

If you are a coffee person, you should turn down the amount of coffee you drink when you are having your period. Yes, it is hard to totally cut it down, but try to minimise it as caffeine can cause water retention, bloating and exacerbate headaches. 

Additionally, studies show that caffeine can contribute to increased breast tenderness and may block GABA in the brain and resulting in anxiety and increased heart rate, escalating the symptoms of PMS. 

  1. Alcohol

There are too many negative effects of consuming alcohol that may affecting your period. It can cause your period to become irregular and increase estrogen levels in the body, worsening period symptoms. 

Other than that, alcohol can dehydrate you as it has diuretic effect and can worsen your headaches and also cause bloating. It is best to free yourself from alcohol just for awhile on your period, even when you have the toughest day. 

  1. Red meat 

Though it tastes better than white meat, red meat contains high levels in prostaglandins and also iron. So, what’s wrong with these two? During your period, your body produces prostaglandins and it helps your uterus to contract and get rid of uterine lining, resulting in menstrual flow. 

However, high levels of prostaglandins can cause cramps during your menstruation. Therefore, you need to avoid taking it when the time of your month is coming soon. 

It is totally understandable if you are having all sorts of cravings during or after your menstruation, since progesterone, the hormone that is associated with bigger appetite is at its peak. But you should really observe the food that you are consuming since not all foods are great to eat during your period. 

Overall, it is best to keep up a diet that is full with iron, magnesium and anti-inflammatory compounds throughout your menstrual cycle just to ease the pain and symptoms. If you are experiencing a period that is extremely painful to a point it is affecting your daily life, please seek a doctor. 

Good luck!

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