Diet and nutrition are a crucial aspect of our menstrual cycle. What you eat during each phase of your menstrual cycle impacts your overall physical, emotional, and mental health.
Nutrition and the menstrual cycle complement each other more than you might think, and certain food groups help reduce and manage any symptoms you may experience during each phase.
Menstruation is the phase most associated with a time of misery, exhaustion, and mood swings, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s completely natural to feel that, to have a little less energy, a little aches and tightness right now. DIET can be a great way to boost our energy levels, improve our mood, and reduce stomach pain and muscle cramps.
What we eat impacts everything from physical health to mood to weight and more, so it’s no surprise that it has a huge impact on our cycle as well. This happens because throughout the month different levels of hormones like estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are affected by the food we eat. Just as these can be thrown off balance by certain foods, they can also be supported by others.
In general, eating whole foods can benefit you throughout your cycle to help maintain hormonal balance. Not leaving too much time between meals and avoiding foods high in sugar will help manage blood sugar to avoid cortisol spikes that contribute to mood swings.
Keep in mind that during specific phases of your cycle, your eating may be driven by food cravings, or you may not want to restrict yourself and binge as much – this is completely a normal sign. Here are some key nutrients to include that could help reduce negative symptoms and promote better physical, mental, and emotional balance during your cycle.
Key nutrients to support the menstrual cycle
Iron plays an important role in energy production, oxygen transport and blood rebuilding, which is important during menstruation. There are two types of iron from the blood: heme iron and non-heme iron. Chickpeas, lentils, quinoa and kidney beans, kale are good sources of iron. But here is the important thing, it is very important to combine iron rich foods with vitamin C to increase their dietary absorption in our body.
Iron supplementation is crucial for women with anemia, thalassemia, and other blood disorders. It is very important to contact your qualified GP to understand supplementation in detail.
Magnesium is found naturally in a variety of foods, the mineral plays an important role in helping over 300 enzymes perform various chemical reactions in the body, such as building protein and building strong bones. Magnesium is found in plant foods like legumes, dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, soybeans, brown rice, pumpkin seeds, and some other poultry products.
Vitamin C plays a role in infection control and wound healing and is a powerful antioxidant capable of neutralizing harmful free radicals.
Did you know? Vitamin C improves the absorption of non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods such as green leaves. Drinking a small glass of 100% fruit juice or including a vitamin C-rich food with meals can help boost iron absorption. Vitamin C can be destroyed by heat and light. High cooking temperatures or prolonged cooking times can break down the vitamin.
Some fruits and vegetables that are the best sources of this vitamin include citrus fruits, peppers, strawberries, tomatoes, and certain other cruciferous vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega 3 fatty acids play a vital role in cell structure and function. They help support healthy skin and hair during menstruation. It is essential to focus on foods such as flaxseeds, seaweed and fatty fish sources.
OMEGA3 can also be taken as a supplement. Please note that it is very important to consume supplements under the prescription of your doctor and dietitian.
Fiber is still an important part of a healthy diet, but most of us don’t get enough of it. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Fiber helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to control hunger and blood sugar. It’s important to include these sources of fiber – oatmeal, chia seeds, lentils, apples, and other fruit and vegetable sources.
Diet and exercise also provide a range of health benefits and improve your period experience. Studies indicate that women who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from period pain, cramps and mood disorders.
(But be careful, listen to how the body reacts to training during menstruation – this tells if your body needs the much-needed rest – rest.)
Here are some tips for women with severe periods:
? Avoid stimulants such as green tea and coffee in high doses.
? Exercise for part of the day.
? Develop a regular bedtime routine.
? Reduce stress with yoga or meditation.
? Avoid heavy meals or foods just before bedtime.