Sorry gentlemen, this is a ladies post.
Suddenly struck with a heat flash, your stomach tightens, and a wave of nausea crashes into you. Aunt Flow just rolled back into town, and she’s here to plague you for the next few days. Aw, crap. Get out the heating pad!
Before you turn to pounding ibuprofen in hopes of relief from the many symptoms, consider first turning to the best and most effective form of medicine: what you eat.
While on your period, your body runs a deficit for numerous nutrients, which results in unpleasant symptoms. However, it is possible and effective to compensate for this deficit by eating the proper foods or taking a supplement.
Just find your symptoms below and see what foods contain the nutrient you’re lacking. Then eat those foods to cure your symptoms.
- Breast Tenderness
If you’re reluctant to eating some of the foods that naturally contain that vitamin/mineral, try taking it as a supplement in pill form. You can find vitamins and minerals in any grocery or drug store on your street corner!
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Comment below your special tips or tricks that help you combat period pains!
This mineral relaxes your muscles, and also contains live cultures which promote healthy digestion. However, you don’t want to get your calcium from dairy products, because they can actually trigger cramps.
Foods that contain it: almonds, broccoli, and leafy green vegetables (like my favorite, kale!).
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3’s are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help to augment blood flow to the muscles, relaxing them.
Foods that contain them: salmon, chia seeds, walnuts. Alternatively, take a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.
This mineral helps alleviate pressure from the blood vessels in the head. There are many ongoing studies about how Magnesium helps to relieve migraine headaches. I personally suffer from chronic migraines (especially around that time of the month), but they are way less common when I supplement daily with magnesium oxide pills.
Foods that contain it: spinach, pumpkin seeds, avocado, black beans, bananas, and dark chocolate.
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
This vitamin plays an important role in how our bodies gets energy from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Research has linked a low vitamin B2 blood content to headaches.
Foods that contain it: almonds, beef, lamb, egg, pork, and mushrooms.
Short for Coenzyme Q10, this nutrient is key to cells proper functioning, and has been shown to alleviate headache pains when ingested.
Foods that contain it: pork, beef, liver, soybeans, and sweet potato.
Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps your body make serotonin, a chemical that influences mood. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.
Foods that contain it: banana, chicken breast, sunflower seeds, and pistachio nuts.
This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant. Problems with the body’s cell-protective antioxidant defenses can contribute to depression.
Foods that contain it: almonds, sunflower seeds, olive oil, wheat germ, and shrimp.
Women need about 18 milligrams of iron daily, as approximately 1 milligram of iron is lost for every day of menstruation. Low iron means sluggishness.
Foods that contain it: liver, oysters, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, spinach, and lentils.
Vitamin C is also important for the absorption of iron, the aforementioned nutrient lost during menstruation.
Foods that contain it: peppers, guavas, kiwis, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, and papaya.
This vitamin plays crucial roles in maintaining the health of your blood cells, digestive system, brain, and nervous system. Recent research shows that many people who suffer from chronic fatigue have a vitamin B12 deficiency.
Foods that contain it: liver, sardines, beef, tuna, clams, and tofu.
Drink up! You may be retaining water because you’re not drinking enough of it. Sounds counter intuitive, I know. But the body is an amazing machine! It purposefully hangs onto water, as it thinks that you are going to dehydrate, because you’re not drinking enough water.
This mineral ensures that all cells, tissues and organs are operating properly. It can provide relief from bloating by balancing and circulating body fluids.
Foods that contain it: bananas, avocado, spinach, sweet potato, coconut water, and white beans.
Limit your sodium intake, as it causes water retention, adding inches onto your already inflamed midsection.
6. Breast Tenderness
Caffeine = No!
Some of us have an addiction… but try to limit your caffeine intake, cutting out caffeine if possible. Caffeine can play a role in cyclical breast soreness, affecting hormonal fluctuations which can lead to break outs. Yikes.
Foods that contain it: coffee, green and black tea, soda, and some medications.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
This may be the very last thing that you feel like doing while on your period, but let me tell you, the benefits are worth the struggle.
The increase in oxygen intake will combat fatigue, giving you that pick-me-up that is often sought after from caffeine. The increase in endorphins will elevate your mood, helping to kick the nasty attitude and welcome positivity and a sense of well being.
Regular exercise also helps to improve your body’s ability to keep your blood sugar in balance which is especially important in eliminating pre-menstrual symptoms.
Even if it’s just a 20 minute walk, get out there and get moving!
Your body will thank you, I promise