You can do more than just use the right period products to make that time of the month more comfortable. Period pains can be made easier when you eat the right foods too.
Here’s our list of 9 foods that’ll help soothe your stomach during your time of the month to let you power through your period!
1. Dark Chocolate
Now you no longer need an excuse to indulge. Not only does dark chocolate satisfy your sweet tooth during your period, but it’s high in potassium which helps your muscles to function, ideal for when those cramps come!
2. Peanut Butter
When that sudden hunger strikes, peanut butter is the perfect solution for snacking. Just a couple of tablespoons will fill you up with protein, healthy fats and fibre. Plus, peanut butter is full of vitamin e which helps with cramping and inflammation.
Whether you like them scrambled or sunny-side up, eggs are a great way to fight PMS. Vitamin D, B6 and E have been proven to help reduce the symptoms of the cycle, and luckily, eggs are full of them!
4. Leafy Greens
There’s no better time to start on the health hype than before or during your period. Leafy green vegetables like kale and broccoli are packed with calcium which help to relieve muscle tension during cramping.
It’s time to get drinking! Ginger kills two birds with one stone. It helps to relieve the inflammation and pain associated with period cramps, and is often used to soothe upset stomachs – a symptom many experience during this time of the month.
Manganese, copper, vitamin C, B1, B6… name it, it’s probably in it. The vitamins in pineapple help to relax your muscles, making a great solution for combatting menstrual cramps.
Bananas might be the answer to calming down those menstrual cramps. Packed with potassium, they can help prevent muscle pains and fight that bloated feeling. It’s a win win in our eyes!
If you’re still struggling with the cramps, try adding salmon into your meals. Just to name a few benefits, salmon is rich in fatty acids which helps with menstrual cramps, it’s a source of vitamin D which helps absorb calcium (a mineral that maintains muscle), and filled with B6 which may stop those moods from swinging.
We’re advocates of staying hydrated anyway – water is essential for your body to function! But drinking even more water during this time of the month can help out with both the bloated belly and cramps.
If you’re not a fan of the taste, try infusing different fruits and herbs like lemon, strawberry, and mint, into your water.
Foods to avoid on your period
Some of our biggest food and drink vices can hinder how comfortable our periods are. While we don’t recommend indulging in these during your time of the month, everything is okay in moderation.
Loading up on caffeine from the exhaustion of having a period can be tempting, but caffeine can cause water retention, bloating, and headaches, all of which are often present when you’re on your period anyway.
Can you drink alcohol on your period? Well, in short, consuming alcohol on your period can worsen headaches, cause bloating, and dehydrate you. It might also worsen headaches and cause digestive issues like diarrhoea, which we already know can be part of your period poos. Plus, who wants to be hungover AND menstruating?!
We absolutely encourage you to eat chocolate and ice cream and whatever else will help you feel better on your period but be warned! Eating too much sugar can cause a spike in energy followed by a dreaded sugar crash. If you’re already mood swingin’, sugar overload will only worsen this.
Similar to caffeine, excess salt intake (for example eating processed foods) can cause water retention and uncomfortable bloating, which is likely to be happening during PMS and your period.
5. Spicy food
For those who can’t handle your spice, rejoice! You can be reassured knowing that avoiding spicy food will help avoid diarrhoea, stomach pain, and nausea. And to those who are heat fanatics, maybe save the challenges for another week.
6. Red meat
You might think that losing iron during our period means it can be made up for in consuming red meat, and in theory you’re right! But red meat also contains high levels of prostaglandins. Your body already produces prostaglandins during your period (uterus contraction and shedding of lining), but excess may result in cramps.
Other ways to help menstrual cramps
Your food consumption isn’t the be all and end all when it comes to menstrual cramps. You might follow the rules to a T and still get period pains. If this is the case, there are other methods that you can try:
- Switching some items for vegan food to help period pain
- These yoga positions to help ease period pain
- Try these tips for running on your period
- Natural pain relief to reduce cramps
Remember that your period pains should never stop you from doing daily activities. If you’re worried about them, be sure to check in with your OBGYN or doctor.