Many women experience cramps, mood swings, acne, tiredness and general ickiness during and around their period. But as it turns out, you may be making your period symptoms worse by eating the wrong foods.
Certain foods can cause inflammation, bloating and tiredness, which during your monthly period can lead to discomfort. On the flip side, you may be eating a hormone-unfriendly diet even when you’re not on your period, leading to women’s health issues. Here are the dos and don’ts on what you should eat during your period and beyond for a calmer, more enjoyable cycle.
DON’T Eat Inflammatory Fats During Your Period
While healthy fats are very important for your hormonal cycle, there’s evidence that too many saturated fats and/or proinflammatory can cause discomfort during your period. In fact, according to Bustle, eating too many saturated fats can even lead to increased period pain.
So what exactly are saturated and pro-inflammatory fats? Saturated fats tend to be found primarily in animal meats, though they’re also found in coconut oil. Unsaturated fats can be an issue too, especially if they have high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation.
Long story short, stay away from red meat, coconut oil and omega-6-rich vegetable oils like sunflower seed oil, grapeseed oil, soybean oil, corn oil and cottonseed oil. But feel free to consume monounsaturated or omega-3-rich fats, such as avocados, olive oil and nuts.
DO Consume Whole Grains During Your Period
Your body will naturally crave carbohydrates during your period, and that’s totally okay. Just make sure you’re eating wholesome grains such as brown rice, potatoes, buckwheat, millet and maybe even some sourdough bread. If you consume white, non-whole grain products, they’re likely to spike your blood sugar, leading to energy crashes that will only make your period symptoms worse.
DON’T Go Crazy With Salty Foods
While salty foods may sound great during your period, they’re going to do more harm than good in the long run. A healthy amount of salt is obviously okay, but if you overdo it, it will only lead to bloating and water retention.
DON’T Eat A Lot of Sugar
Much like refined grains, consuming a ton of sugar is going to give you unstable energy levels. If you’re craving chocolate, that’s because your body is naturally low on magnesium during your period. Instead of giving into candy cravings, make a healthy smoothie with raw cacao powder.
DO Support Your Cycle Throughout the Month With Healthy Fats
While you may want to trim back your consumption of saturated fats during your actual period, fats are actually crucial for giving you a healthy cycle. During your non-period weeks, be sure to eat an abundance of fats (yes, even a few saturated fats) to make sure your hormones can be properly and abundantly manufactured.