Menstrual cramps are uncomfortable but, in general, a harmless side effect of menstruation. Some people suffer from bad stomach and back pain, headaches and diarrhea while others don’t even notice their period, except the bleeding.
If you are not one of those lucky women for whom menses don’t constitute more than emptying the cup, you can ease menstrual pain either through medication or other ways. Usually, the pain can be relieved by painkillers, exercise and, for example, a hot water bottle on the stomach.
However, many people don’t remember to pay enough attention to their diet when the bloodiest days of the month are making inroads.
Are period food cravings legit?
Ever feel like certain cravings hit when you’re on your period—and not at other times? Well, according to Justine Roth, R.D., certified dietician nutritionist, your body might be telling you something. “During your period, your body is going through physiological changes,” she says. “Your hormones are out of whack, causing you to crave certain nutrients.”
Apparently, endogenous opioid peptides, or EOPs (amino acid bonds that are always present in your body) could be to blame.
“We’re not 100 percent certain,” she says. “But the theory is that with the presence of these EOPs, you have more cravings.”
What foods should I be eating?
Before and during periods pay particular attention to getting enough of these nutrients:
Magnesium and vitamin B6
The uterus is a muscle, and when contracting during menstruation, it may go over to the state of lactic acid just like other muscles do. Magnesium is an effective aid in the treatment of muscles and gives relief to uterine cramping pains. You can get magnesium and vitamin B6 for example from vegetables, fish, nuts, and almonds.
Fatty acids are important building blocks for hormones. This means that good fats make good hormones, bad fat makes bad hormones. If your hormone balance is changing radically, it is advisable to pay attention to the matter. Good fats can be derived from olive oil and salmon. Salmon also contains vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and iron which also contribute to alleviating menstrual pain.
Vitamin E has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and the amount of leakage. Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils and avocados are good sources of vitamin E.
Also, zinc has been found to relieve menstrual cramps and swelling. Add zinc to your diet a few days before the start of menstruation. Please note that zinc requires vitamin B6 to be absorbed, so be sure that the food you eat contains enough vitamin B6. Good sources of zinc are red meat (especially beef), seafood, dairy products, whole grain cereals and green vegetables, especially peas, asparagus and spinach.
Calcium, whole grain products and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet and contain plenty of vitamins and trace elements that relieve painful periods.
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