PMS is a combination of distressing physical, behavioral and psychological symptoms that women and girls experience before their period begins and which regress when their period ends. The most common symptoms are weight gain, bloating, breast fullness, mood swings, headaches, depression, cramp-like pains in the lower abdomen, back and thighs . Since these symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe in individuals, women are advised to seek treatment according to their severity.
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea affects nearly 70% of women of reproductive age in India. Characterized by painful cramps during the first few days of period, dysmenorrhea can have a huge impact on a woman’s daily activities, but health and fitness experts insist that help may be as close as yours. cooking since food is medicine and is deeply linked to our physical and mental well-being.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Kavita Pujar, Senior Obstetrics and Gynecology Consultant at Kinder Women’s Hospital and Fertility Center in Bangalore, revealed, “Consumption of natural nutrients that reduce body inflammation will help reduce menstrual cramps. These foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains of seeds will help reduce cramps.It is advisable to avoid animal products such as milk, meat, etc. uterine lining causing more pain during menstruation.It is also necessary to include nutrients such as magnesium, fiber, vitamin B, calcium in one’s diet to reduce muscle cramps and pain.
Stating that certain dietary and lifestyle changes can be helpful in reducing these symptoms, Dr. Preeti Raheja, gynecologist at Connect and Heal, listed foods that can relieve PMS:
1. Bananas – Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. They can reduce menstrual cramps and bloating.
2. Green and leafy vegetables – Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale are good nutritional inclusions to follow during your period.
3. Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate with 85% cocoa is rich in magnesium and fiber. Cocoa can help reduce menstrual cramps and satisfy sweet cravings. Cocoa helps improve mood.
4. Oranges – Oranges are rich in magnesium, potassium and vitamin C. They reduce fatigue and improve mood.
5. Nuts – A handful of almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds are good snacks during your period.
6. Chamomile Ginger Tea – These have a calming effect and help reduce nausea and bloating.
7. Water – Drinking enough water keeps the body hydrated and reduces fatigue.
Highlighting foods to avoid during menstruation, Dr Preeti Raheja warned against fried foods, high salt foods, caffeine, milk and dairy products.
According to Pratiksha Kadam, Chief Dietitian at Reliance Hospital, Navi Mumbai, herbal foods should be included in the diet which will increase the fiber content. A high-fiber diet combined with a low-fat diet can reduce the intensity of pain during menstruation, she said.
Options to consider:
1. Fruit – Two servings per day: Orange, lime, banana, apple and all seasonal fruits can be eaten. Avoid fruit juices
2. Vegetables – Four servings a day: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, cabbage, tomato, carrots, sweet potatoes, Indian yam or suran
3. Whole grains such as less polished rice or brown rice, wheat, Jowar, Rajagira atta, Nachani (in the form of ladoos, dosa or chapatti), Daliya or oats
4. Legumes – Moong, red chawali, rajama, kulith, chola, chanaa, matki. Make sure pulses are eaten as sprouts and are thoroughly cooked
5. Nuts (to be consumed in number of 4 to 5) in varieties and seeds (Sabja seeds are commonly called sweet basil seeds), acacia gum dinkk or gondh (can be made into a drink or ladoo)
6. Hydrate with more liquids like water, curd, lemon juice (without salt), buttermilk, green tea
Pratiksha Kadam revealed that foods to avoid during and before menstruation to reduce pain include:
1. Avoid salt can help reduce water retention, abdominal bloating, breast swelling and pain
2. High caffeine can cause irritability, poor sleep, and menstrual cramps
3. Refined flour (maida) – white bread, biscuits, refined cereals, cakes, rusks, etc.
4. Excess consumption of fatty foods and junk foods like burgers, samosas, vada pav, donuts, etc.
5. Avoid excessive consumption of red meatpork, dried fish and poultry
Pratiksha Kadam advised, “A balanced diet high in fiber and low in fat can help provide antioxidants, prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Estrogen production is reduced by avoiding excess non-vegetarian, processed foods, oils, fried foods, etc. Replace non-fibrous foods with grains, beans and vegetables, fruits and nuts. You can try to gradually change your diet and monitor the next menstrual cycles. The changes will be positive and will help reduce menstrual cramps.
Prakriti Poddar, Global Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing at RoundGlass, recommended:
1. Fenugreek seeds (Methi Dana) and cumin seeds (Jeera) – Researchers believe that this common ingredient contains chemicals called alkaloids that have a pain-relieving effect. They block sensory receptors, reducing the brain’s perception of pain. Fenugreek seeds can be consumed as a water-based drink used to soak them overnight or as a powder mixed with lukewarm water. Cumin seeds are a powerhouse of anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic antioxidants. The best way to consume these seeds is to boil them in water and then drink them like tea.
2. Turmeric (Haldi) – It contains curcumin, a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Adding this golden spice to your meals or tea can help reduce uterine contractions and therefore cramps.
3. Dark chocolate – You never need a reason to eat dark chocolate, but nasty cramps are definitely worth snacking on this magnesium-rich food. Known as “nature’s relaxant”, magnesium helps relax the muscles of the uterus and reduce prostaglandins – chemicals that induce uterine contractions causing menstrual cramps.
4. Fruits: Bananas and melon – Bananas are rich in magnesium, which helps reduce the intensity of pain and also relieves bloating. Eating muskmelon helps regulate menstrual flow and also relieves pain caused by cramps.
5. Vegetables: Broccoli and Kale – Dark leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium and calcium, which help reduce pain caused by menstrual cramps.
6. Chamomile tea – Many scientific evidences show that this herbal tea reduces menstrual cramps. A 2010 study found that drinking this tea a week before menstruation and during the first five days of menstruation for a month benefited women who suffered from painful periods.
7. Also, sipping warm water helps. It increases blood circulation and therefore menstrual flow, which reduces the occurrence of cramps. To keep your energy up during these days, snack on dates and figs. Studies have shown that dried figs reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.