It’s well known that certain foods can affect our menstrual cycles and hormonal balance. So it makes sense that your period would be affected by major lifestyle changes, like becoming vegan. Whether you’re opting to be more sustainable, you want to live cruelty-free or you’re simply aiming to be healthier, you will notice a change in your body when you switch to plant-based foods.
Here’s how being vegan can affect your period…
Period pain and acne
Consuming dairy can have a huge effect on period pain levels, especially if you’re prone to heavy periods, or if you have endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)! Cow’s milk contains over sixty different hormones, including testosterone, insulin and a protein called A1 casein, which can increase inflammation in your body. Cutting out milk and other dairy products could help to improve your cramps and prevent acne.
Lighter flow periods from being vegan
Eating the right foods as a vegan could help reduce the heaviness of your flow. Grains, seeds and legumes contain phytoestrogens (CITE), which are great for our health when consumed in moderation, and help to make periods lighter.
However, the saying rings true– you can have too much of a good thing.Too much phytoestrogen can suppress ovulation (CITE), so a chickpea-only diet won’t do you any good. Make sure you get that balance!
We’re all too familiar with the blood loss we experience during our period, and we know that losing blood means we lose iron too. As a vegan or a vegetarian, you do need to be more conscious of youriron intake in order to keep it topped up. Tofu, leafy greens and lentils are all rich in iron. Your body absorbs iron best when it’s combined with vitamin C! Check out which other vegan foods you should to help with period pain.
If you’ve recently switched from a meaty diet to a plant-based one, you might notice some weight loss. There’s much more fat in meat, eggs and dairy than in plants, so as a vegan or vegetarian some people have to work a bit harder to keep the junk in the trunk. Avocadoes, seeds and nuts are high in healthy fats, so make sure you get plenty.
Sudden weight loss can result in an irregular menstrual cycles. If you’re worried, check out when you should see your doctor.
Switching to veganism is great for the planet and animal welfare, but make sure it’s good for you too! Vegans need to plan meals to ensure they don’t lack essential nutrients like vitamin B12, omega 3, protein, zinc… all of which can affect the menstrual cycle.
If you’ve taken the plunge to a plant-based diet or you’re just trying something new for Veganuary, keep an eye out for any major changes in your cycle.
We’d recommend using a period tracker app to understand your body better and identify what is or isn’t unusual for you.
Any big dietary change can take a little while to adjust to – so no matter what you’re eating, make sure you do your research and include ingredients that are good for your body and mind.