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 rather effective) to compensate for this deficit by eating the proper foods or taking a supplement.
I have linked the vitamins/minerals you need below in supplement form for your convenience, if you’re reluctant to eating some of the foods that naturally contain that vitamin/mineral.
Just find your symptom(s) below and see what foods to eat to cure them!
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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!). Buy a calcium supplement here.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3’s are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help to augment blood flow to the muscles, relaxing them.
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. Buy a magnesium supplement here.
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. Buy a Vitamin B2 supplement here.
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. Buy a CoQ10 supplement here.
Try my delicious: 3 Ingredient Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Fries recipe!
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. Buy a Vitamin B6 supplement here.
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. Buy a Vitamin E supplement here.
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. Buy an Iron supplement here.
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. Buy a Vitamin C supplement here.
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. Buy a Vitamin B12 supplement here.
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. Buy a Potassium supplement here.
Limit your sodium intake, as it causes water retention, adding inches onto your already inflamed midsection.
Some of us have an addiction! 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
Thanks for reading! I hope that this post finds you in good health, and prepares you for the next time Aunt Flow comes to visit so that you may handle her many woes with ease.
Comment below your special tips or tricks that help you combat period pains!
We would love to hear from your experience or improvement with period symptoms after eating any of the above foods!
Products You Will Like:
For those of you that want to take it up a notch, here are the herbs that I turn to for extra menstrual relief. For the general PMS symptoms, herbs are brilliant. They help to balance the female hormones and alleviate symptoms.
Black Cohosh: This herb is particularly helpful for the anxiety and tension symptoms of PMS and also headaches and migraines that occur premenstrually. It is a huge help when I need to get some work done, but I have a headache.
Skullcap: Skullcap has a calming effect on the body. I use this when my moods are completely out of whack to regain a reign on my hormones.
Milk Thistle: This improves liver function. It is your liver that has to detoxify your female hormones so you want it to be working efficiently. I use this to get over all symptoms as fast as possible!
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