Periods are usually not a fun time. Mood swings, low energy and cramps are just a few of the annoying symptoms. One of the worst symptoms is the cravings, and before you reach for (and devour) something unhealthy, find out what the best foods to eat on your menstrual cycle are.
If there was ever a more important time to eat your greens then this is it! Your iron levels naturally dip as you lose blood, so it’s important to replenish your body’s supply with iron-rich foods. Foods like spinach, oysters, red meat, kale, collard greens and swiss chard are the best when you are menstruating because they are filled with iron. You can incorporate them in salads or saute them in risottos and stir fries. The options are endless! If you don’t like the taste of them throw a handful of spinach into a berry smoothie, I promise you won’t even be able to taste it.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which play an important role in relaxing your muscles and steadying your nerves. This will help to deal with cramps and crankiness. If you don’t like fish, reach for walnuts or avocados which are also full of Omega-3’s. According to a female friend, her favorite dish when she has her period is grilled salmon with a squeeze of fresh orange juice and rice sautéed with spinach and kale.
Okay, okay before you get too excited you need to read this. I am not talking about milk chocolate, or chocolate cake, or chocolate cookies. I am talking about the highest percent dark chocolate you can find! The higher the better, and this is because it won’t contain as much sugar (which is a big no no). Dark chocolate has antioxidants and it also is a source of magnesium, which reduces mood swings and helps to regulate serotonin – the happy hormone! Munching down on a few squares a week will also help to satisfy your cravings.
Whole grains are an excellent source of magnesium, which reduces muscle tension. In addition to this they have B & E Vitamins which help to combat fatigue and depression. One great thing about whole grains is that they keep you feeling fuller for longer, so if you eat them every few hours you won’t end up hungry and cranky at the end of the night. Just like fruit, the fiber in whole grains can help you stay regular, especially during your period. Whole grains also include complex carbohydrates, which provide important vitamins and minerals.
Now is the time to get creative with yogurt parfaits, smoothies and sauces. Yogurt is a source of calcium which can help to reduce PMS and relax your muscles. It also contains live cultures which promote healthy digestion. If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium try broccoli, kale and almonds instead. Yogurt also contains live cultures to promote healthy digestion.
Bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, magnesium and also contain B6 and other vitamins which help to boost your mood. They also help to regulate bowel movements, which is something a lot of people struggle with when they are menstruating. Think of them as the happy fruit! Bananas can also reduce water retention and bloating while also keeping you, ahem, regular
I know having your period can be no fun but instead of accepting the fact you will have a tough week, you can make a few small changes to make it easier on yourself. Your body is an amazing thing, and it’s incredible how it will respond if you put the right things in it. Enjoyed it? don’t forget to share!
Credits: The EKOsystem, SHAPE MAGAZINE, Kristin Chessman,