We’ve all heard the saying that ‘you are what you eat,’ but for many of us, this is a term we use without truly considering its impact. However, from both a mental and physical standpoint, there are undeniable benefits to implementing a healthy diet. For women, especially, there’s evidence that eating according to bodily cycles can help to ensure utmost health all month long, as well as reducing period pains and PMS. As such, while it’s no replacement for hormone therapy or period pain relief tablets for individuals experiencing severe symptoms, eating right while on your period can go a long way towards helping you feel better during those difficult days. But, what exactly does a ‘good’ your time of the month period diet entail?
FRESH IS ALMOST ALWAYS BEST
While you might be tempted to pick up anything out of a packet when period cramps set in, fresh foods are almost always best for helping to reduce symptoms and boost energy levels. Leafy greens are especially valuable as they’re high in iron, which is precisely what you need to battle everything from fatigue through to pain and dizziness. Fruit can also be great for satisfying the inevitable sugar cravings that many of us experience while on our periods without all of the refined sugar that we’d otherwise find from reaching for less-healthy sweet treats. The vitamin content in fruits like figs and pears can also be great for helping to reduce bloat, while water-based options like watermelon can be fantastic from a hydration standpoint.
Speaking of hydration, drinking enough during your time of the month is also fundamental from a health perspective. As such, while it’s not specifically dietary, you also need to make sure that you’re consuming ideally between 8-10 glasses of water each day. This is because your body is already losing fluid, and topping up that reserve is the only way to avoid common period symptoms like headaches or migraines. Further hydration options, like peppermint tea are also thought to be a great option after 2016 studies revealed links to the soothing of PMS, as well as menstrual cramps themselves.
KNOW WHAT YOU CAN’T EAT
While knowing the right foods to eat is an undeniably crucial aspect of period-based self-care, knowing what not to turn to is also crucial for ensuring your health and happiness. Processed foods are especially at the top of this list as chemicals can worsen bloating while high sodium content exacerbates water retention. Outside of this, the candy and snacks that you’re so likely to reach for can also leave you feeling worse than you did previously when sugar highs wear off. Make sure, too, to avoid consumption of alcohol, which can aggravate fatigue and boost menstrual flow at a time when that’s the last thing you want.
Applying these dietary pointers during your next period could be a game-changer, helping you to feel better, stay sharper, and enjoy a healthier you even after your period comes to an end.