Many women experience menstrual pain and, alongside the various other options available, the natural solution of eating certain foods might be able to help you alleviate those symptoms. Here, we’re going to look at ten foods you should consider adding to your diet if you want a little relief from menstrual pain.
Yogurt is an excellent snack, especially when you’re looking for something that’s filling but that isn’t going to knock your blood sugars too out of whack. There is also some research to suggest that both calcium and vitamin D can help reduce the symptoms of PMS, so a low-fat dairy option works well. Low-fat milk and cheese could just as easily fit here, too.
In general, a little extra fruit in your diet can help you manage your insulin levels, which can fluctuate during the menstrual cycles, causing mood swings and cramps. There are some specific fruits that can be extra helpful, however. Bananas, for instance, are loaded with potassium and vitamin B6, both of which are known to help relieve bloating. Inflammation is a big cause of period pain, as well, and pineapple is known to help reduce the impact of inflammation by way of containing bromelain.
As mentioned, keeping your insulin levels steady can help you stave off period pain, bad moods, and heavy cravings. Complex carbs can play a big role in helping your body manage its insulin more gradually, which can then alleviate some of the symptoms of PMS. One of the easiest ways to get some whole grains into your body is to eat a bowl of oats for breakfast. You can even chop up some bananas or add some other fruits so you’re getting two of those foods that can best help at once.
As mentioned, vitamin B6 is said to help fight bloating, and eggs are full of the stuff. Vitamins D and E are also both able to work with B6 in order to fight the symptoms of PMS. All of these nutrients have been found to reduce PMS symptoms when introduced into your diet. Eggs are also a really good source of protein, which is great for your general health. One egg yolk a day isn’t going to have too much of a detrimental impact on the levels of cholesterol in your blood, either, so don’t worry too much about that.
Another source of vitamin D, alongside a whole host of other vital nutrients, is wild salmon. It’s also a big source of vitamin B6, which has been shown in some studies to have effects of reducing irritability, not to mention breast tenderness. Salmon is also one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may have some impact on the emotional health symptoms of PMS, such as in reducing feelings of depression, anxiety, and feelings of nervousness or poor focus.
Lamb steaks (or other lean meats)
Iron is one thing that a lot of women have trouble keeping in their bodies, so you should ensure that you’re taking steps to avoid a deficiency. After all, when you are menstruating, you lose quite a bit of iron. Lean meats such as lamb steaks can help you load up on the mineral before your period begins. Otherwise, you could be at risk of anemia, which isn’t going to help any of your other symptoms. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you may want to consider other options such as iron supplements.
Dark leafy greens
Kale, spinach, and other dark leafy greens are other good non-meat sources of iron. Though you might want to take iron supplements on top of them, they can definitely help you manage your iron levels well enough. When you get anemic, you can end up feeling sluggish, low on energy, and weak. This can make symptoms such as headaches and depression become a little more severe and can make you a lot more irritable in general. There are plenty of ways to take kale in smoothies, as well, if you get sick of chewing on leaves, and steamed broccoli is a good replacement, too.
For a lot of people, nausea is one of the big bad symptoms that can be most distracting when you’re experiencing PMS. Bloating and gas are two more problems commonly experienced when Aunt Flo stops by. To that end, ginger is well known to be effective at helping calm your stomach, which can ease all of these symptoms. You can take it in just about any form and it will be just as effective.
Tea of almost any kind is great for helping you calm and soothe your mind, which can help you ease the anxiety and irritability that comes with PMS. This particular kind is also free of caffeine, which you shouldn’t be having too much of when your period is approaching, as it can increase the intensity of symptoms like breast tenderness. Even better, still, chamomile tea contains elements that are known to relieve muscle spasms, which can reduce the physically painful symptoms of PMS.
Drink more water
Water retention is a cause of the bloating and some of the pain that we experience during PMS, but did you know that drinking more water may actually be able to help your body retain less water? It might seem a little hard to imagine, but it is true. Aside from drinking water, you generally want to keep your hydration levels up, so eating foods that are high in water content such as berries, melon, and cucumber (all of which are pretty great snacks in their own right) can be just as effective.
Every woman is different and, as such, different combinations of the foods above might be what you need. Keep trying to find the foods that work for you and check out the 100% natural tonic from Scarlet if you want a little extra help beating back menstrual pain.