- 16 Foods to Eat (and Some to Avoid) During Your Period
- What foods to eat during your cycle
- What to Eat Before and During Your Period to Make It Suck Less
- Days 1-12: The Menstrual and Follicular Phase
- Days 12-16: Ovulation Phase
- Days 17-28: Luteal Phase
- 15 Best and Worst Foods for Your Period
- First, The Best Foods To Eat On Your Period
- Whole-grain toast
- Pumpkin seeds
- Rainbow Trout
- Chia seeds
- Now, The Worst Foods To Eat On Your Period
- Salty foods
- Carb-laden dishes
- Red meat
- Sugary foods
- Good Period Food: What To Eat When You’re Menstruating
- Best foods to eat on your period
- Foods to avoid when menstruating
- How can you make your period come faster?
- Join The Vivoo Family!
- Why is it important to induce menstruation?
- Here are some of the ways to make your period come faster:
- Warm bath and coverings
- Vitamin C
- To enjoy a tea of parsley:
- Take a hot bath
16 Foods to Eat (and Some to Avoid) During Your Period
Drinking a lot of water is always important, and this is especially true during your period. Staying hydrated can reduce your chances of getting dehydration headaches, a common symptom of menstruation.
Drinking plenty of water can also stop you from retaining water and bloating.
Water-rich fruits, such as watermelon and cucumber, are great for staying hydrated. Sweet fruits can help you curb your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars, which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash.
3. Leafy green vegetables
It’s common to experience a dip in your iron levels during your period, particularly if your menstrual flow is heavy. This can lead to fatigue, bodily pain, and dizziness.
Leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach can boost your iron levels. Spinach is also rich in magnesium.
A warm mug of ginger tea can improve certain symptoms of menstruation. Ginger has anti-inflammatory effects, which can soothe achy muscles.
Ginger may also reduce nausea. Few studies confirm this, but a 2018 study found that ginger effectively reduced nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. Since it’s safe and relatively cheap, it’s worth trying.
Don’t consume too much ginger, though: Consuming more than 4 grams in one day could cause heartburn and stomachaches.
Chicken is another iron- and protein-rich food you can add to your diet. Eating protein is essential for your overall health, and it can help you stay full and sated during your period, curbing cravings.
Rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, fish is a nutritious addition to your diet. Consuming iron will counteract the dip in iron levels that you might experience while menstruating.
Omega-3s can reduce the intensity of period pain, according to a 2012 study. Subjects who took omega-3 supplements found that their menstrual pain decreased so much that they could reduce the amount of ibuprofen they took.
A 2014 study showed that omega-3s can also reduce depression. For those who experience mood swings and depression around menstruation, omega-3s may be helpful.
Turmeric is known as an anti-inflammatory spice, and curcumin is its main active ingredient. A 2015 study looked at the effects of curcumin on PMS symptoms and found that people who took curcumin had less severe symptoms.
8. Dark chocolate
A tasty and beneficial snack, dark chocolate is rich in iron and magnesium. A 100-gram bar of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate contains 67 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for iron and 58 percent of the RDI for magnesium.
A 2010 study found that magnesium reduced the severity of PMS symptoms. According to a 2015 study, people with magnesium deficiencies were more likely to have severe PMS symptoms.
Most nuts are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and they’re a great source of protein. They also contain magnesium and various vitamins. If you don’t want to eat nuts on their own, try nut butters or nut-based milks or add these ingredients to smoothies.
10. Flaxseed oil
Every 15 milliliters of flaxseed oil contains 7,195 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids. For perspective, the Office of Dietary Supplements says you need only about 1,100 to 1,600 milligrams of omega-3s per day.
A small study found that consuming flaxseed oil soothed constipation, a common symptom of menstruation. However, more research is needed to show how flaxseed oil can improve digestive health.
Quinoa is rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, and magnesium. It’s also gluten-free, so it’s a great food for those with celiac disease. Plus, it has a low glycemic index, which means you’re likely to feel full and have energy for a long time after eating it.
12. Lentils and beans
Lentils and beans are rich in protein, so they’re good meat replacements for vegans and vegetarians. They’re also rich in iron, which makes them great additions to your diet if your iron levels are low.
Many people get yeast infections during or after their period. If you tend to get yeast infections, probiotic-rich foods like yogurt can nourish the “good” bacteria in your vagina and may help you fight the infections.
Yogurt is also rich in magnesium and other essential nutrients, like calcium.
A popular source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, tofu is made from soybeans. It’s rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium.
15. Peppermint tea
A 2016 study suggests that peppermint tea can soothe the symptoms of PMS. Specifically, it can relieve menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Yogurt isn’t the only probiotic-rich food with yeast-fighting benefits. If you’re avoiding dairy, kombucha tea is a great fermented food that’s more widely available than ever before. Try to avoid kombucha drinks that contain too much sugar.
What foods to eat during your cycle
PHASE 1: Bleed
FOOD FOCUS: Add nutrients; warmth and comfort
Day one of our cycle is the first day of menstruation. At the start of the cycle, our hormones are at their lowest as they work to shed the uterine lining. Because of this hormonal dip, energy levels are likely to be low, so support the body with plenty of filtered water and unprocessed, nutrient rich foods that keep energy and blood sugar levels steady. A good mix of lean proteins, healthy fats and low GI complex carbohydrates such as root vegetables, wholegrain and legume-packed stews, can support the energy-intensive process of menstruation. If possible, include cooked, fermented, sprouted or activated foods as they may be easier to digest, because as some of the breaking down process has already begun. Include plenty of iron-rich foods such as lentils, kelp, pumpkin seeds, dried prunes and spinach and, if you eat animal products, grass-fed beef, eggs and fish are also a good source of heme iron, which that help to replenish iron levels that can be lost during our bleed. This is also a timely moment to make healthier food choices as lower levels of hormones may make it a time of the month when women often report feeling less hungry.
Menstruation Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Sea vegetables e.g. kelp
- Sweet potato
- Activated brown rice
- Kefir or probiotic yoghurts
- Pumpkin seeds
- Millet- based cereals
- Wheat germ
- Protein of choice; beef, chicken, lentils, fish, eggs, tofu
Supplements and herbs
- Magnesium oil spray: For cramps and migraines
- Methylated B vitamins: For breast tenderness, clotting cramps and migraines
- Agnus Castus: For many PMS symptoms
PHASE 2: Rise
FOOD FOCUS: Fresh and light
Hormone levels, while still low, are beginning to rise as your egg follicles mature, in preparation for ovulation. We may be starting to feel more energised, and potentially including more exercise, so this is a good time to incorporate light, fresh and vibrant foods, such as salads and fermented foods like kefir, probiotic yoghurt or sauerkraut, which support gut health and detoxification. With rising oestrogen, some women find that they have more energy, focus and willpower at this time, so it may also be an optimal time to begin your healthy eating plan or give that 7-day cleanse a go.
Follicular Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Salad vegetables
- Nuts/seed mix
- Probiotic yoghurt
- Zucchini/ courgettes
Supplements and herbs
- Probiotics: Are good daily support to aid digestion, detoxification, immunity and and mood
- Shatavari root: Known for its support of sexual vitality to compliment increased arousal
- L theanine and lemon balm: If the increase in your energy levels tips over into feelings of restlessness
PHASE 3: Shift
FOOD FOCUS: Fibrous and light
Once the egg has matured, we move into the ovulatory phase. Hormone levels are rising, particularly oestrogen as it aids in the ovulation process. Our basal body temperature also increases, which can impact increased energy levels. Excess oestrogen can have negative impact on our cycle including breast tenderness and increased spots, so nutrients that support the liver to remove oestrogen are good to include and are found in foods such as kale, broccoli, onions, garlic and radishes.
Ovulation Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Wholegrain: breads, pasta, rice –- BB vitamins
- Fruits: berries, citrus, papaya
Supplements and herbs
- Vitamin B6: Supports energy production, mood and hormone regulation throughout the month
- Valerian/ Fennel tea blend: A botanical known to encourage a deeper sleep
PHASE 4: Reflect
FOOD FOCUS: Curb cravings
Hormone levels reach their peak as we approach menstruation and many women experience PMS around this time. It is possible to help manage pre-period moods and discomforts through food choices: if you experience water retention in the form of swollen breasts and bloating, avoid foods high in salt as they can exacerbate the problem, due to salt’s anti-diuretic effects on the body. The same applies to sugar; if you are prone to cravings, they may be at their highest during this week and carbohydrates may be what you are craving, however just ensure they are complex ones such as like brown rice, pasta or bread (the husks are filled with energy with and stress- supporting B vitamins and fibre to help curb cravings and balance those moods.). This is also a good time of the month to cut down on caffeine and alcohol, as these stimulants can aggravate PMS- triggered anxiety and mood shifts. Coffee and alcohol can also interfere with the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals required for optimal menstrual health, so try some alternatives like sparkling fruit water, herbal teas, chicory root or swap your morning latte for a caffeine free one.
Luteal Phase Shopping List Ideas:
- Cucumber (water retention)
- Caffeine- free herbal teas
- Sesame seeds
- Brown rice
- Protein of choice: tofu, chicken, lean meats, fish and seafood
- Turmeric latte blend
- Dark chocolate
Supplements and herbs
- Viridian: 7-day sugar detox: to keep sugar cravings at bay
- Ashwagandha: Known for its ability to help the body adapt to stress
- Viridian Mg with B6: For anxiety, tension and promoting sleep.
- Better You Magnesium bath salts: Water retention and anxiety
Sound like a lot of planning? Don’t sweat it. Aim to make small changes and keep a note of what works for you.
See your app calendar to learn more about your cycle and it’s phases.
What to Eat Before and During Your Period to Make It Suck Less
Ladies, let’s talk about Aunt Flo. Guys, while this is usually your cue to peace out, I suggest you take some notes to help you win some brownie points with the (hormonal) women in your life. While I’m not a fifth-grade health teacher, and this is definitely not “the talk,” I am a dietitian—and a female one at that—so I know a thing or two about eating for your cycle.
While every woman is different and will find unique foods that make them feel their best, I wanted to break down the monthly cycle into manageable tips so you’re aware of what’s going on with your body and how to make things a little less painful.
Days 1-12: The Menstrual and Follicular Phase
Hello, bloody Sunday (or Monday through Saturday). So you’re not feeling so hot. I mean, there’s a damn crime scene in your pants, and you’re rightfully pissed about it. OK, your hormones also have something to do with it. Assuming you’re not pregnant, this is when progesterone and estrogen levels are at their lowest, which is why you’re likely feeling fatigued and crampy.
While some women describe wanting to eat all the sweets these few days, researchers don’t believe there is any physiological reason for the snack attack. It’s thought to be more of a culturally reinforced way to deal with the stress of bleeding all day and night.
Hey, sounds like a legit reason to me. Thankfully, once Aunt Flo checks out, your estrogen starts to climb and then drops again suddenly, while your progesterone still remains low. Here are some ways you can feel a little better once your period starts through ovulation.
Up the Iron
Makes sense, no? You’re losing blood (and therefore iron), so you’ve got to put more in your body to compensate. The most absorbable sources of iron include red meat, poultry, and fish, but if you’re vegetarian, try dark, leafy greens; dried beans; peas; and lentils. Adding a little vitamin C to the mix can also help you absorb that iron a bit more efficiently.
Get More B12
Vitamin B12 functions in energy metabolism and red blood cell development, and since you’re walking around like a zombie, now’s the time to get more. While vitamin B12 is naturally only found in animal products such as eggs, milk, cheese, meat, fish, and poultry, you can now find it fortified in some nondairy milks too.
Walk It Out
Being a woman and bleeding for five to seven days sucks, right? And I get it, you probably just want to Netflix and chill with your steak and block of cheese, but research suggests that exercise might help.Vigorous exercises in the management of primary dysmenorrhea: a feasibility study. Kannan P, Claydon LS, Miller D. Disability and rehabilitation, 2014, Sep.;37(15):1464-5165. While the evidence is mixed at best (it’s difficult to measure people’s objective pain), exercise is a good distraction from discomfort and can help boost those feel-good endorphins.
Days 12-16: Ovulation Phase
Now is either the time to get busy in the bedroom or the time to avoid it (depending on your family-planning goals). It’s that special point in your cycle when an egg is released and helplessly waits for nice sperm to play with. Estrogen levels tank, and we see the rise in the testosterone hormone, a combination that gives you a major boost in energy and mood. You’ve only got a few days to soak up this high, so work it. And also follow these simple tips to take full advantage of the energizing phase.
Power Up the Protein
You’ve got boatloads of energy and will be feeling your most badass yet. Fuel your days with a combination of protein like eggs, fish, meat, poultry, legumes, and yogurt with some satisfying high-fiber vegetables, fruits, and 100-percent whole grains.
Go Beast Mode in the Gym
Human nature is really an incredible thing, programming women to have their most ferocious energy during the few days they need to hit the sheets hard and baby dance the night away. But if you’re not actively trying to conceive, now is the time to put your power song on and kill it in the gym. Whether you’re a CrossFit junkie, Pilates fiend, or fierce Spin-master, you’ll want to sweat it out this week.
Days 17-28: Luteal Phase
Hey, you really didn’t think that was going to last, did you? Just when you start feeling damn good, reality punches you in the gut and calls it cramps. Once the egg is released, the corpus luteum is left behind, releasing enough progesterone and estrogen to thicken that lining back up. The hope is that there’s a fertilized egg hanging around to implant, but when that doesn’t happen (hello, birth control), we get hit with the ultimate cocktail of misery: cramps, headaches, aches, mood swings, fatigue, and bloating before the period comes. And we have to deal with this crap every month.
Research has found that it’s not just a popular rom-com theme. We actually do tend to eat more when we PMS.
This is around the time when a lot of us start reaching for the comfort foods: cupcakes, potato chips, pints of Chunky Monkey. Research has found that it’s not just a popular rom-com theme. We actually do tend to eat more when we PMS: One study found a jump of about 500 calories per day from the follicular to the luteal phase of our cycle, and most of those calories came from carbs (not shocking).
There’s a number of theories around why this is. One is that progesterone promotes fat storage, leading us to eat higher amounts of fatty foods. It’s also speculated that the jump in estrogen and progesterone causes our feel-good hormone serotonin to drop, so eating chocolate (and other mood-boosting foods) may help us manually make up for the deficiency. Others propose that there are increased metabolic needs during this phase since there are increased metabolic energy needs in the ovaries at this time.
But it’s not all bad news. Research has also found that levels of the satiety hormone leptin (a.k.a. the hormone that says, “you’ve eaten enough, stop eating”) tends to be higher during the luteal stage of menstruation. In other words, if we just listen to our bodies, we can satisfy our cravings with smaller portions and nourish our bodies in more balanced ways.
Make a Craving Diary and Plan
Always notice you’re going for the cookie jar at 3 p.m. each day? Have a snack with a combination of fiber and protein at 2:30 p.m. to nip that hunger in the bud.
Since we know our hormones might lead us to unknowingly devour chocolate, manage the craving with portion control. Allow yourself a mindful portion of dark chocolate (or ice cream or chips) along with a satisfying snack to curb hunger.
Make Healthy Convenient
We know how easy it can be to grab a handful of candy when it’s sitting at the edge of your desk. Use this to your advantage by swapping the sweets for healthier food. One study found that people who kept fruit on their counter instead of candy, cookies, and soda were able to better manage their weight. Make healthy eating a no-brainer by putting cut-up pieces of fruit and veggies in clear baggies and containers at eye level in the fridge, and hiding the treats in opaque containers in the back of the pantry or fridge.
Go Low GI
Carbs are the snack of choice during the luteal phase, but by choosing better carbs, you can get the same mood-boosting benefits without the dreaded crash. Swap white bread for 100-percent whole grain, white rice for quinoa, and candy for fruit to get the best nutrient bang for your carb buck.
Skip the Salt
If hormones have left you feeling like a bloated blimp, then go easy on the all-you-can-eat sushi and soy sauce. Skip the takeout, salty snacks, and frozen microwave meals this week and reach instead for an easy homemade meal. By cooking at home, you can better control the amount of sodium going into your food, and use more fresh and dried herbs to add flavor and seasoning instead.
Head Out for a Run
Research has found that 24-hour energy expenditure actually increases 2.5-11.5 percent in this phase, likely due to the increased caloric intake. Try to balance out some of those extra little indulgences, take your mind off your cramps, and boost those natural endorphins with a good sweat session.
We’ll leave you with this: While there’s no argument that being a woman can royally suck sometimes, hopefully, these tips will help ease the monthly drama and keep you feeling like a rock star year-round.
15 Best and Worst Foods for Your Period
We’ll be the first to admit that a Midol or two can be a woman’s saving grace when her period shows up for its monthly routine of causing havoc. But seeing as how we still need to eat several times a day, wouldn’t it make sense to make sure the foods we’re putting into our body are the best choices for our lives during our cycles? That’s why we’ve set out to discover exactly what to eat — and what not to eat — on your period.
Here’s what’s up: There are a number of commonly-consumed foods rich in nutrients that help your body fight back against the wrath of your out-of-control hormone and symptoms. Meanwhile, experts have identified a number of things you should avoid because they can make symptoms (like bloating and cramps) even worse.
To help you better cope with the most painful and annoying aspects of both PMS and your period, we pulled together the foods that can either help or hinder your hopes for feeling more normal. Check ’em out and then don’t miss these best foods for women!
First, The Best Foods To Eat On Your Period
If every month, like clockwork, you get wild cravings for cookies and are as emotional as you did the first time you watched The Notebook, you’re not alone. The tears are flowing and your appetite is going wild because your serotonin (the mood-boosting, feel-good hormone) levels have dipped. Carb-rich foods (like those cookies calling you like a siren song) help to increase the amount of the hormone in your system. That’s why those cravings are so hard to say no to—your body is hunting for a hormonal overhaul.
Instead of caving to your inner Cookie Monster, turn to a healthy source of complex carbs like whole-grain bread. The raisins in the Ezekiel 4:9 Cinnamon Raisin Sprouted Whole-Grain Bread provide natural sweetness to nip your sugar craving in the bud while the vitamin B6 and manganese-rich whole grains help boost your mood. “Whole wheat toast can provide us with the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin,” says April Bruns, RDN, LD, a registered dietician with Clear Springs Foods. “B vitamins are essential during a woman’s cycle because they help our metabolism by releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates also provide us with fiber, which helps with bloating and constipation and helps us feel full with fewer calories.” Toast up a slice as a mid-morning mood-boosting snack.
“PMS can be worsened by low serotonin levels, making a woman feel moody or sad. Our body does not make serotonin, but we can naturally increase our serotonin levels by eating foods high in tryptophan,” Bruns tells us. “Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and can aid in improved mood, less depression, and better sleep. Pumpkin seeds are an overlooked source of tryptophan that can easily be tossed into salads, smoothies or eaten as a snack.”
If you’re cranky and seem to snap at the drop of a hat when it’s that time of the month, reach for these little bullets that can ease your symptoms. Just one ounce of the seeds serves up 75 percent of your day’s magnesium, which can make you feel more positive and ward off water retention. The nutrient can also help relax your blood vessels, nixing painful headaches, too, according to research in Magnesium in the Central Nervous System. Mix pumpkin seeds into your salads and veggie side dishes for a touch of crunch and some much-needed relief.
Having a hard time buttoning those skinny jeans that just fit a couple of days ago? Breathe easy: you didn’t gain weight! In the days leading up to your period, your body begins storing sodium and fluids. Instead of trading in your favorite pants for sweats and leggings, try munching on honeydew melon to de-bloat. Bruns suggests increasing your intake of water-rich foods such as melon instead of reaching for a salty, bloating snack. “Melon is made mostly of water and is a natural diuretic, which means it can help cure that puffy feeling you get during your period. Foods high in water will keep your body hydrated, reduce cramps and help improve your mood,” Bruns says.
What’s more, research suggests the fruit contains a compound called Cucumis melo, a diuretic that helps flush excess fluid from the body. That sugar and alcohol-filled daiquiri you’re craving, however, does the opposite. The bottom line? Skip the fruity cocktail and stick with the fruit if you want to zip up your pants. Bookmark these foods to stop belly bloat for more smart bites!
Yes, you read that right! Popcorn is a powerful solution for the same reason Ezekiel bread is beneficial; it’s a whole grain that boosts the production of serotonin. “Whole grains cause the body to release insulin which promotes tryptophan absorption. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which can help us have a better mood, decreased depression, and improved sleep,” Bruns tells us. “The key is combining a whole-grain snack, like popcorn, with a protein source of tryptophan. Try sprinkling spices with no salt on air-popped popcorn and tossing in a handful of nuts while you’re watching your favorite late-night TV.
Stick to unsalted varieties to keep salt-induced bloating at bay while simultaneously improving your mood. So go ahead, pop a fresh bag and turn on Netflix. If there’s any time you get a free pass to binge-watch Scandal guilt-free, it’s this week. Just pass on the red wine.
If you typically feel so blue you want nothing more than to lie in a dark bedroom during Mother Nature’s monthly visit, we may have the cure you’ve been looking for: saffron. A British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology study found that consuming the yellow-hued spice can significantly reduce feelings of depression.
How? The spice increases serotonin levels, which typically drop before menstruation. Although saffron is one of the most expensive spices, a little of it goes a long way. Use it to whip up African, Middle Eastern, and European-inspired dishes and reap the PMS-busting benefits. The only caveat? You’ll need to crawl out of bed to do your cooking or cajole your significant other into whipping up dinner.
“Not only are omega-3 fats good for our heart and brain,” Bruns says, “but they can also help women relieve some PMS symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods such as chia seeds and rainbow trout. These healthy fats can help ease period cramping due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rainbow trout is also rich in high-quality protein loaded with B vitamins, helping you gain energy and stabilize mood swings.”
If you can’t keep your eyes dry and cry at the drop of a hat, you probably need a nutritional fix. Adding some omega-3s to your plate may just do the trick. Harvard researchers think the nutrient may function as an antidepressant, although they aren’t sure exactly which mechanisms are involved quite yet. Some researchers believe the nutrient makes it easier for serotonin to pass through the cell membranes; in turn, making the effects of serotonin more powerful.
While omega-3s can be found in salmon, enriched eggs, and grass-fed beef, we like chia seeds because they are portable and easy to pop into just about anything. Add the small, but mighty seed into cereal, smoothies, and homemade baked goods to boost your intake and keep menstrual blues at bay.
Before we even get into their benefits, you should know this is leading to a brownie recipe. Beans are a magnesium-rich food that helps boost serotonin levels and diminish water retention. Since a woman’s period can cause a lot of discomfort on digestion, accelerating menstrual cramps, foods high in fiber and magnesium can help with cramps, constipation, and diarrhea that may be experienced during that time,” Bruns explains. “Magnesium acts as a natural muscle relaxer, giving women relief from menstrual cramps. Beans are a great combo of fiber and magnesium and can quickly be tossed in salads, soups, or wraps for a nutritious meal.”
When choosing a can to prepare, stick with no-salt-added varieties. Sodium can make your body hold onto water, undermining the bean’s bloat-busting effects. Bonus: These small but mighty seeds are antioxidant-rich and loaded with other good-for-you nutrients like iron, fiber, copper, zinc, and potassium.
Add beans to salads, soups, or whole-grain pasta and rice dishes. Craving something more indulgent? Here it is, folks, the healthy bean brownies we promised: Blend 15 ounces of black beans and 1 cup of water together in a blender. Combine with a package of organic brownie mix and combine until smooth. Bake in a greased baking dish for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F. Enjoy!
Now, The Worst Foods To Eat On Your Period
“You may have heard that calcium helps with cramps, but that’s not the case when it comes from dairy,” warns registered dietitian Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN. “Dairy naturally contains arachidonic acids, that stimulate prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that can intensify menstrual cramps.” So if Advil tends to be your BFF, ditch the yogurt and milk à la Khloe Kardashian and load up on other sources of the nutrient, like edamame, greens, nuts, and chia seeds, suggests Smith. And if your go-to PMS treat is something cold and sweet like ice cream, be sure to check out these dairy-free frozen desserts!
“When women lose blood during their period, they’re also losing iron which is why many ladies are left feeling rundown and tired,” Smith tells us. But fight back the urge to size up to fight the fatigue. “Caffeine causes blood vessels to constrict, and that includes those that feed the uterus. When this happens, it can bring on more intense cramps,” Smith explains. Aside from steering clear of things like coffee, tea, and soda, be sure to avoid hidden sources of caffeine (like chocolate, coffee- and chocolate-flavored snacks, as well as certain nutrition bars, multivitamins, and vitamin-infused beverages)—especially if you’re period often leaves you doubled over in pain. If you can’t perk up without a dietary crutch, at least make the switch to half-caf or decaf beverages (both of which still contain a bit of caffeine), or try some of these best foods for energy!
Does your period leave you looking more bloated than a pufferfish that just guzzled a gallon of water? Your love for all things salty may be to blame. “In the days leading up to your period, your body begins storing sodium and fluids. And when you’re already bloated, eating high-salt food will only result in more water retention,” warns Smith. If you’re hankering for salty deliciousness if too hard to ignore, pair it with an extra cup of water (or better yet, some slimming detox water) and a second food that’s a natural diuretic (like asparagus, parsley, beets, lettuce, and ginger). Looking for low-sodium alternatives to some of your favorite treats can be another effective way to keep your stomach flat.
“A week or two before your period, hormone levels change. Estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease. These changing hormone levels can cause your body to retain more water than normal, explains Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD. “And like excess salt, consuming too many carbs can make the bloating worse.”
If your period often leaves your energy zapped, you may have heard that upping your iron intake can help. But before you load up on red meat (one of the most potent sources of the stuff), consider this: Like dairy, burgers, meatballs, and taco meat all contains arachidonic acids. That means you may be boosting your energy while simultaneously worsening your cramps. Ouch!
“Something like a chickpea burger or a fresh wild salmon filet will provide some iron along with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, too, making it a smart swap,” Smith tells us. Pair either option with some green leafy vegetables for an additional dose of energy-boosting iron.
“Large amounts of alcohol can slow stomach emptying, which can contribute to feeling heavy and bloated you may already experience during your period,” warns Rumsey. “Plus, alcohol also can cause you to retain water, so you can feel more puffy and bloated. This is exacerbated by alcohol’s diuretic effect, as a dehydrated body will retain more water than a hydrated one. Counteract this by keeping your alcohol intake to a moderate amount of one or two drinks per night, and alternating each boozy drink with a glass of water,” she adds.
Processed, sugary foods like cake, cookies, candy bars, and soda (and even hidden sugar bombs like flavored yogurts and BBQ sauce) can shift levels of estrogen and testosterone, decreasing serotonin levels, explains Smith. “Pair that with the fact that sugar causes blood sugar levels to rise and drop, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for some crazy mood swings. Plus, too much sugar also makes you feel extra run-down and tired.” For even more ways to cut back on the sweet stuff, check out these easy ways to stop eating so much sugar.
RELATED: The easy guide to cutting back on sugar is finally here.
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Good Period Food: What To Eat When You’re Menstruating
This week on the blog we’re talking about period food: what to eat when you’re menstruating. You may not realize, but the foods you eat before, during and after your menstrual cycle can have a huge effect on your period. Now, I’m not writing this blog post to tell you that you need to go vegetarian, or vegan or gluten-free to have a pain-free period but I am going to tell you that eating a little healthier overall can alleviate a lot of those horrible symptoms when Aunt Flo is in town.
Best foods to eat on your period
When it comes to eating and drinking on your period, the number one tip I can give you is to stay hydrated. It’s commonly recommended the average person should drink about eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Not only does staying hydrated make you look like you have the skin of a newborn, it also helps with brain and muscle power. When my period comes, not only did I used to be insanely fatigued but I was also sore. I would have period cramps, but overall my body would feel super achey. As soon as I started drinking more water daily, I noticed a boost in my overall health both physically and mentally, especially when it came to my period. I’m more alert, my cramps aren’t as severe and my body doesn’t feel achey breaky 24/7.
If you’re looking to calm your period cramps even more, fruit (specifically blueberries and blackberries) can help fight off those uterus ninjas. Since berries are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, they can help balance out the hormonal changes your body is going through during your cycle. On top of that, berries are believed by some to help with low estrogen levels, which causes some to lose sleep during their period. Taking all this into consideration you might want to pop some berries into your breakfast cereal during that time of the month.
Iron Rich Lentils and Fish
Replace proteins that can make your period symptoms worse (like red meat – see below) with fatty fish and delicious lentils, and you just might see a boost in your energy levels during your period. While menstruating, your iron levels can take a hit, especially if you have a heavy flow. Salmon and other oily fish, coupled with a side of lentils, can help you regain some of that energy and shake the sluggish feeling of being on your period.
Foods to avoid when menstruating
Next, let’s get into the foods you should avoid on your period (and enjoy in moderation when you’re not on your period). Eating the wrong foods during your period can exacerbate your symptoms like bloating, mood swings and decreased energy levels. No one needs that, so at the very least try and wean yourself off the following food groups for the duration of your cycle. This is what not to eat when you’re on your period:
1. Salty food
I feel like this should seem obvious but not a lot of people know that foods with an excess of salt cause water retention and bloating – not just on your period! The hormones that come along with your period already cause bloating, so you don’t want to add to this by inhaling a bunch of salty food and drink like fast food, canned soup, frozen dinners or soda.
If you’re not a functional human being before your first cup of coffee, I feel you. But, drinking coffee during your period can actually make your cramps worse. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the blood vessels in your body constrict. This can cause the vessels that feed your uterus to tighten, making your period cramps even more painful than they already were.
There’s a ton of debate surrounding the health benefits (or lack thereof) of coffee, but as a general rule of thumb you should try to stick to a max of one cup of coffee per day, especially if we’re talking about period food and drink. If you can cut it out during your period, kudos to you (I haven’t managed that much self-restraint yet).
Your blood sugar levels are all over the place when you’re menstruating, and sugar only adds to the rollercoaster. Sugar is inflammatory, so it has the ability to make your cramps feel worse during your period. It can also make you super bloated whether you’re on or off your period, and no one wants that.
Ever heard of a sugar rush? It’s a real thing. Eating a ton of sugar can give you an immediate ‘high’ or burst of energy, however it comes crashing down just as quickly. Your menstrual cycle makes you tired, and adding in a sugar crash will have you falling asleep at your desk. Sugar is a definite no-no when it comes to what you should eat on your period.
I would just like to say that aspartame isn’t any better. In my opinion, sugar and aspartame aren’t the devil if either are enjoyed in moderation – but, if you’re looking to keep your period as pain-free as possible, maybe stay away from the donuts for that week…
4. Fatty meats
I personally love steak, so this one is a little upsetting for me. However, red meat really isn’t the best thing to be putting in your body in general, not just when you’re on your period. Having a diet high in saturated fats can cause you to break out more intensely before your period and can exacerbate bloating and breast tenderness during your menstrual cycle.
A diet high in saturated fats can also increase the level of cholesterol in your blood, which down the road increases your chances of a heart attack or stroke. In my opinion, something like red meat should be a food you treat yourself to occasionally. Trust me, I’m helping you in the long run. Fatty meats taste good, but they’re a food to avoid when you’re menstruating.
Ah, dairy. There are truly so many debates surrounding dairy – I’m not even going to get into the arguments. However, when we’re talking about foods to avoid while you’re on your period, I will say that consuming a lot of dairy during or outside of your menstrual cycle can make Aunt Flo a lot worse. Foods like milk, cheese and ice cream contain arachidonic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid that can increase inflammation and cause cramping.
These are only some of the main foods that can contribute to an extra-blah period. I’m not saying you need to cut these foods out entirely, but I’m saying especially during your period, it helps to be conscious of what you’re putting in your body. Not only can it improve your dreaded time-of-month, but it can help add a little pep in your step year-round. Who doesn’t want that?!
If you’d like a helping hand or just some backup protection during your period, check out our range of period panties for teens.
Looking for sweet, sweet PMS relief? Try these delicious foods.
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably feeling hardcore cravings for carbs and chocolate in the days leading up to your period. But for true relief—both physically and mentally—from the most annoying period symptoms, registered dietitian and The Better Period Food Solution author Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, knows which foods are scientifically proven to help.
“When you’re dealing with your menstrual cycle, certain remedies probably come to mind. Advil, Motrin, hot water bottles…You might not think food has anything to do with managing your cycle,” Beckerman says in the latest episode of You Versus Food. Spoiler alert: it definitely does. “Eating with your cycle in mind can help balance your hormones, ease period cramps, and help regulate your cycle,” she says.
For example, Beckerman recommends loading up on foods rich in magnesium (like spinach and pumpkin seeds) in the week leading up to your period, a mineral which she says helps fight fatigue and cramping. Oh, and amazing news: dark chocolate has magnesium, too.
As for what to eat on your period, Beckerman says it’s a good idea to add more iron-rich foods like lentils and tofu to your diet, since you’ll be a little lower in the nutrient during this time. Not getting enough can lead to feeling sluggish.
These are just a few of the 28 (!) foods Beckerman says can help make your period more manageable and less…well, terrible. Check out the video for the complete list, and hey, have some dark chocolate while you watch.
These gluten-free brownies are made with PMS-fighting ingredients, too. And this gentle yoga flow can help ease cramps.
How can you make your period come faster?
Share on PinterestHormonal birth control can change a menstrual cycle.
The only reliable method for changing a menstrual cycle is by using hormonal birth control. However, diet, exercise, and stress reduction may also help.
There are no ways to induce a first-ever period. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a person’s first period will typically arrive between the ages of 12 and 13. ACOG also estimate that 98 percent of females will have a period by the time they are 15.
The following sections discuss methods that may help induce a period in someone who has already had a menstrual period.
Hormonal birth control
Using hormonal contraception, such as birth control pills or the ring, is the only reliable method of taking control of the menstrual cycle.
The combined pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin, is the most effective method for controlling periods. People take hormonal pills for 21 days, then stop taking them or take a dummy pill for 7 days. They have their period in these 7 days.
People can stop taking the hormonal pill early to make their period come earlier.
Note that if a person does not take their birth control pills as their doctor prescribes, they may be less reliable in terms of preventing pregnancy.
People can also skip their period using birth control, which doctors generally consider safe. Learn about the safety of skipping periods with birth control here.
Gentle exercise may loosen the muscles and help a period come a little faster. However, the evidence for this method is anecdotal, and research has not confirmed that it works.
Some people have irregular periods because of vigorous exercise regimes. Exercising in moderation could help to restore the hormones needed to bring back a regular menstrual cycle.
Scientific research shows that high levels of stress have links to menstrual irregularities.
Finding ways to relax and de-stress may help, particularly if a person finds that their period is late or absent due to stress.
Gentle yoga, journaling, meditation, and time with friends and loved ones can all help to keep stress levels down.
Believe it or not, sex and orgasm could also help to bring on a period.
The combination of the hormones produced during sexual activity and uterine contractions during orgasm may help to dilate the cervix and help the uterus begin to shed its lining.
Diet and weight
Changes in a person’s body weight can affect their period. Low body weight can cause irregular periods or may even cause periods to stop entirely. This is because the body needs some fat to produce hormones related to menstruation.
Having a high body weight or experiencing a sudden change in weight can also cause irregular menstrual cycles.
Some people may notice that certain foods can delay or speed up their period and affect how heavy the flow is and its duration. This may be due to the relative fat, protein, and other nutrient content in foods.
Extreme calorie restriction or excessive exercise can both have an impact on the reproductive hormones and affect ovulation.
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The menstrual cycle can be hard. Do you get extremely irritated by things that usually would not bother you? Your hormones are to blame! Our hormones definitely impact our bodies in many different ways. Between the bloating, the cramping, the cravings, and the mood swings, that time of the month is usually not the best week in any woman’s life. Still, you don’t have to let these problems control your life. Lifestyle adjustments can help you reduce or manage the signs and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. To get through your menstrual cycle with much less stress, scroll through to find out the best foods to focus on while you are on your period. As a registered dietitian, I will give you some tricks about which foods to eat and avoid on your period. Here are a few tips to modify your diet!
1. Satisfy your sweet tooth
Women tend to crave junk food before and during their period due to the fluctuation in hormones. Most women are well aware that processed sweets are not great, but anyone who has experienced a sugar craving before their period will tell you it is tough to make smarter choices. There are options that give us the opportunity to fight sugar cravings. For instance, dark chocolate is a great treat while on your period. Try creating a combination of dark chocolate and almonds! Dark chocolate contains antioxidants and magnesium, which reduces mood swings by regulating serotonin. Make sure you find the highest percent dark chocolate in the store. The higher the better, because it won’t contain as much sugar.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E, which can also relieve period cramps. As you know, processed snacks are pumped full of added sugars. Swapping sugar for natural alternatives like dates or prunes would be a great idea for fighting sugar cravings. They are definitely something to consider if you’re looking to swap out anything processed. It is time to get creative, try to add dates or prunes to your diet by creating new recipes at home.
2. Focus on drinking plenty of water
Sugary, carbonated drinks like soda contribute to bloating. Avoid sparkling water too. Just like soda, the carbonation will increase bloating. Caffeine is also one of the main foods to avoid on your period. When you have caffeine, it increases your bloating discomfort and irritates your uterus, which worsens your cramps. Stick to water instead! Upping your water intake will actually ease bloating. Make sure you keep track of your water consumption throughout the day by using Vivoo.
3. Load up calcium
Yogurt is one of the best foods to eat on your period, as it is a good source of calcium. Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, which can prevent mood swings. You can increase calcium intake by adding yogurt to your diet. Try yogurt parfaits, they are actually a very healthy option for breakfast and snacks. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium, try broccoli or kale instead. Any food that contains calcium can be considered a helpful food for your menstrual cycle.
4. Get magnesium boost
Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle tension as well as mood swings. Also, bananas and peanuts are one of the best mood-boosting foods, which are rich in potassium and magnesium. Try starting your day with a bowl of whole-wheat breakfast cereals or muesli, then have a light snack with a banana and a handful of peanuts. It’s that easy to increase our magnesium levels, and start feeling better fast!
5. Maximize your dietary iron intake
Women’s nutritional needs change during menstruation. Women need more iron than men to make up for the amount of iron they lose in their menstrual period. Around 1 mg of iron is lost for every day of bleeding. The best source of iron is red meat. There are smaller amounts in chicken and fish too. If you don’t consume meat, be sure to choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens to replenish your body’s iron supply.
Please share your feedback below about your experience and your choice of food during your period.
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Read the disclaimer at the bottom.
The menstrual cycle of a woman usually takes 28 days, although not all women are equal and sometimes periods may be delayed or to come earlier. If you have irregular period cycles that are triggered by various causes, including polycystic ovarian syndrome – you might want to know how to induce menstruation naturally.
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Why is it important to induce menstruation?
It is not rare that women and girls for more comfortable holiday use the hormone therapy to accelerate the menstrual cycle. If you are expecting some important event or you just paid holidays right when your period should come, and when you could not enjoy quite free, you can try some inducing period tricks.
Perhaps the best way to regulate the menstrual cycle is starting to take birth control pills. But, for this, you should talk to your doctor, who will recommend the most appropriate for your situation. The pill regulates the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. These pills are often prescribed to women under 35 and can improve other problems like acne.
You should also keep in mind that the weight you have can affect your period: overweight makes you produce more estrogen, which prevents ovulation. Therefore, losing weight is an excellent way to regulate period cycles. There is also the other extreme: losing too much weight or being below ideal weight can provoke amenorrhea or lack of menstruation.
In addition to pills which has already proven manner for inducing of the menstrual period, we can also take a look at some of the natural ways of influencing the menstrual period. If your period is late or you want to boost your period to start a day earlier to finish for some big event, there are some traditional options for this. After ovulation occurred menstrual bleeding will occur 14 to 15 days, and the period cannot be delayed naturally, but you can accelerate her appearance a little bit.
But before you decide to accelerate menstruation in any way, make a pregnancy test for early detection of pregnancy, as many things below may negatively affect pregnancy and cause tragic consequences. Therefore, if there is any chance that you are pregnant, do not attempt to accelerate the period.
Here are some of the ways to make your period come faster:
Warm bath and coverings
One of the most popular methods of mild acceleration of the menstrual cycle. Not only that can relax you and applies part of PMS symptoms, but also, the heat relaxes the abdominal muscles, and thus stimulates the blood flow from the uterus. In the same way, act a warm compress, which is applied to a stomach region.
Further Reading: How to Stop Your Period Once It Starts
It is believed that Vitamin C is an emmenagogue. This is another term for a substance that helps induce your period. It is presumed that vitamin C helps increase the amount of the uterine lining, which helps increase your chances that menstruation occurs. Some believe that taking vitamin C supplements or eating foods rich in this vitamin causes the uterus to contract, which gives rise to the menstrual period.
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 60 mg. If you decide to take supplements, make sure not to exceed the recommended dose. Eat lots of papayas, peppers, broccoli, kiwi, citrus fruits, leafy vegetables, and tomatoes. It will be an easy home remedy.
They are good for general health, for the less painful periods, but also with improved blood circulation, a little more intense exercise can “call” your period a little earlier. But do not overdo it, because you can achieve the opposite effect.
Further Reading: 9 Simple Lifestyle Changes To Prevent Lifestyle Diseases
No matter how strange it may sound, but some studies have shown that women who spend many hours together can have harmonized cycles. If some of your friends get their periods earlier, it could also mean that you are going to get yours.
Of course, you must also take care of how you eat. Too salty and heavy food is not good for you because with it you get a feeling of bloating and difficulty, and the arrival of the menstrual period may be able to repay. Eat foods rich in carotene: papaya, carrots, apricots, peaches, spinach, …
Also, eat turmeric. It is believed that turmeric relieves menstrual pain and promotes the regulation of the menstrual cycle. It is a tasty root that is often used as a spice for cooking. You can also make it a healthy beverage. Scientists have not confirmed that can help induce menstruation, but might be worth a try if your period is late. Sprinkle turmeric on rice, steamed vegetables and other dishes that you prepare when you want to force your menstrual cycle. To turn it into a drink, add one teaspoon turmeric 1 cup of water. Spice with lemon and honey, and then pour over ice cubes.
You have to be careful with them. Take them to the permitted amount (preferably only about two cups), and for the rest consults your doctor. Mildest plants of this group, whose tea you can drink to speed up the arrival of the menstrual period are chamomile, parsley, ginger, rosemary, sage, raspberry leaf, angelica, yarrow, …
According to popular belief, parsley can be used to force the menstrual cycle. Curly leaf of parsley and flat-leaf contain substances myristicin and apiol that are believed to contract the uterus slightly. There is no scientific research to support that claim, but some women have found that drinking tea parsley is useful.
To enjoy a tea of parsley:
- Wash and chop 1/4 cup fresh parsley. The fresh variety contains more nutrients than dry parsley and gives it a nice flavor to the tea.
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Pour water over the parsley and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink parsley tea.
Further Reading: 10 Ways to Get Fit Over the Summer
Take a hot bath
There is no scientific explanation for the effectiveness of the hot bath in inducing of a menstrual period, but a lot of women consider it as something effective as it relieves stress. Perhaps it is useful because the hot water relaxes the body, which relieves physical and emotional stress simultaneously. Take time for a good, warm bath when you want that your period comes faster. Add relaxing essential oils to your bath. Essential oils of lavender, citronella, and rose will help you to eliminate stress while taking a bath. Focus on letting your body relaxes completely to get rid of stress. Massage your legs, arms, face, and scalp to improve your circulation.
– Expose yourself to sunlight! Vitamin D is essential to absorb calcium and many other body functions. Deficiency of this vitamin can cause an inactive parathyroid gland and directly affect the sex hormones such as estrogen. Recent studies suggest that diet and taking supplements do not provide adequate levels of vitamin D. Currently, we recommend 15 minutes a day exposed to direct sunlight, leaving uncovered skin areas without any sunscreen.
– Drink 3-4 cups of green tea or other herbal tea a day to boost your menstrual period.
– Eat plenty of foods high in iron during your period (such as meat and egg yolk) to replace the hemoglobin in red blood cells due to blood loss.
– Do not overdo it when you try to induce menstruation, as you could injure your health. Never forget to take a sanitary pad everywhere.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.