Do you give in to every food craving before and during your period? While it is okay to eat some sweet and fatty foods in moderation, it is worth eating a healthy diet to feel your best. Unhealthy foods can worsen cramps, while many healthy foods can prevent or treat them. Which foods should you eat to relieve menstrual cramps?
Eat a Healthy Diet
Overall, eating a healthy diet all the time, but especially before and during your period, can reduce cramping and other negative symptoms of menstruation. Include the following foods in your diet:
- whole grains like oats, whole wheat and barley
- fruits like berries, pears, oranges and melon
- vegetables like lettuce, broccoli and squash
- legumes, like beans
- lean meats like chicken
- nuts and seeds, like walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds
- low-fat dairy like yogurt and skim milk
- plenty of water
The Nutrients You Need
Certain nutrients are very important to obtain during menstruation, to prevent or treat cramping. You need:
- calcium, which is found in foods like dairy and green leafy vegetables
- magnesium from foods like bananas, apricots and nuts
- vitamin D, in fortified dairy products or from exposure to the sun
- vitamin E from vegetable oil, nuts and seeds
- antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, especially very colorful ones like berries
You might need to take supplements of these nutrients to obtain the amount you need. Your doctor can help you decide if that is the case.
Essential fatty acids are also helpful during menstruation. The omega-3 fatty acids from fish provide the best effects against inflammation, or swelling. Try fish like tuna, salmon and halibut to obtain these nutrients.
If you want to avoid fish, you can get a somewhat less effective type of fatty acids from walnuts, evening primrose oil or flaxseed. If you cannot get enough of these nutrients from your diet, you can also take supplements.
Foods to Avoid
Certain foods and substances can worsen menstrual cramps. Try to limit your caffeine and alcohol intake as much as possible. Also, it helps to limit refined, processed foods like white bread and candy.
You should also limit fattening foods during this time. This includes snacks like potato chips, fatty meats and desserts like cookies and pastries. While you might be craving these foods, healthy foods will make you feel better.
Diet and Your Weight
Being overweight or obese can cause or worsen cramps. This is one reason it is important to have a healthy diet. Combining healthy foods and exercise, while minimizing the amount of unhealthy foods you eat, is the best way to maintain your weight.
Remember that it is important to eat healthily all the time in order to reduce menstrual cramps. Nonetheless, you can pay special attention to your body during the week before and the week of your period. Give your body the nutrients it needs and reduce the ones it doesn’t to help yourself feel better.