Our painful, unfriendly monthly visitor is an unavoidable experience for us women. We are all too familiar with cramps, fatigue, and mood swings. Fortunately, there are foods we can eat to alleviate those feelings and help us manage our period more effectively.
Consider the first time your mother or another mother figure in your life explained to you what a period was. Was it an awkward explanation, an out-of-date video explaining how your body would change, or a strange show-and-tell involving a variety of feminine hygiene products? If you do not, consider yourself fortunate. Regardless of how your experience went, do you recall discussing how, during magic lady time, you might crave anything ooey, gooey, salty, or sweet? Probably not, but that’s all right. We’ll get started shortly.
To avoid feeling bad, redefine the term “good stuff.”
When you’re cramping and irritable, you know that a hot fudge brownie sundae topped with extra fudge, nuts, and whipped cream will cure everything. The issue is that those sugary treats can have a significant impact on your insulin levels.
Foods that are excessively sweet and sugary will raise your insulin levels, and elevated insulin levels can result in hormonal imbalances in other female-factor hormones. That is why you should begin a low glycemic diet at least a couple of weeks prior to your expected period.
If you consume a high carbohydrate and sugar intake during your period, you may feel bloated or backed up. Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may experience irregular menstrual cycles, which can result in additional complications. However, when your blood sugar levels fluctuate, you note that you may experience frequent fatigue or headaches.
How to rewire your brain to overcome those cravings
While you are unlikely to go from loving brownies and chips to appreciating salads overnight, it is possible to gradually make healthier choices. Doctors recommends making healthy swaps not just around period time, but also changing your overall eating habits to make it easier to stay on track when your cycle begins. For instance, she suggests that instead of reaching for your favorite chocolate dessert, you reach for a small piece of dark chocolate.
Should you take supplements during your menstrual cycle?
This is a case-by-case scenario. Some women are vitamin D deficient, or they may not eat well in general, resulting in a deficiency of B-complex vitamins. Supplements may be beneficial in these instances. A few studies conducted on women who frequently experience premenstrual mood disorders discovered that vitamin B6 supplements can actually help a little bit. However, there is still much research to be done on period supplementation.
She adds that another area of research is determining whether omega-3 supplements can help with cramping and the inflammatory aspects of menstruation.