Project WeCan : Break The Stigma

Did you know that not only your hormones but your diet could also be the reason for most of your physical pains during menstruation? All those cramps, headaches and all the other uneasy and uncomfortable pains can be reduced by a food regiment which would also balance and regulate your menstruation cycle. There are many nutrients that should be given special attention to decrease these pains and also specific food that you should stay away from.

The common symptoms that most women go through during their menstruation are known as PMS (premenstrual syndrome). All these symptoms are usually caused by the lack of a specific nutrient. When someone usually talks about a healthy diet, we instantly think that it would be something unfavorable but that’s not true. As you know, most of the important nutrients we require, are included in our day-to-day meals. Therefore, it would be easy to start paying attention to some specific nutrients that would benefit us during that special time of month.

How could we smoothen this inflammatory process?

Let me remind you that menstruation itself is an inflammatory process. Therefore, following an anti-inflammatory diet to smoothen the reaction is the end goal. It would decrease almost every symptom and it would make sure that no pain would stop you from engaging in your daily activities. Ibuprofen is a common anti-inflammatory medical drug that is taken by many women to numb the pain away. On a healthier approach, you could add a few anti-inflammatory herbs, spices, vegies or fruits to your diet. Food that are high in antioxidants such as citrus fruits, kiwi, berries, sweet potatoes and bell peppers are also some ingredients that you could easily include in your diets. Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, parsley, mint and dill seeds are a few herbs and spices that you could use to prepare your day-to-day meals. Ginger helps with nausea and body aches but if you consume more than 4g of ginger in one day, you could end up with heartburns and stomachaches. So always remember, too much of anything is not good. 

What can we do to minimize the side effects caused by the loss of blood?

One of the major factors that affect the health is the loss of blood. Excess loss of blood could also result in Anemia which is caused by a deficiency in healthy red blood cells. With blood loss, it’s important to up the iron, vitamin C and B vitamins to help promote blood cell production and prevent anemia. it’s common to experience a dip in your iron levels during your period, particularly if your menstrual flow is heavy. This can lead to fatigue, bodily pain, and dizziness. Therefore, consuming food rich in Iron such as beef, leafy greens, egg yolks, a tasty dark chocolate, beans, tofu and plenty more food are available to everyone including vegans and vegetarians. Food rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin B12 and B6 should also be considered. Quinoa is rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, and magnesium which allows you to feel full and have energy for a long time after eating it. Yogurt is an important food that could help with yeast/bacterial infections caused.

What can we do to feel more comfortable?

Cramps are one of the most unfavorable yet common symptoms that almost every woman experience during their menstruation. Many factors such as deficiencies in calcium, boron, omega-3, fiber and skipping breakfasts affect cramps. To prevent or reduce the severity of the pains, a high-fiber diet consisting of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, seeds or nuts along with a few plant-based meals could be taken. Increasing the intake of food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseed oil, avocados, salmon and walnuts could decrease these pains and it is also proven to reduce depression which could help mood swings during menstruation. Most nuts rich in omega-3 are a great source of protein and also contain magnesium and various vitamins. Food like peanut butter, prunes, chickpeas and banana’s have boron which could also help with cramps. Staying hydrated is one of the key points during menstruation. Consuming water-rich fruits like watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, celery and berries would also help with hydration. Peppermint tea is also one of the best remedies because it helps with nausea, diarrhea and cramps. 

What food and drinks should we be cautious about?

We’re sadly going to have to cut off some of the favorites off the list if you want to have a pain free period. Don’t worry though because there are plenty of replacements. Who doesn’t love a good meal of junk food with carbonated drinks and treats full of calories and sugar right? But all these cravings are going to have to wait because if not, the symptoms will get worse along with a brutal flow and bloating. Instead of frying food in vegetable oils and corn oils, try using olive oil. Try to cut down the intake of food with omega-6 fatty acids such as processed food, mayonnaise and salad dressings. Sweet fruits can easily satisfy your sugar cravings without eating a lot of refined sugars which can cause your glucose levels to spike and then crash. Eating non-starchy vegetables like beans and 100% whole grain bread is preferable than eating simple carbohydrates like sugar, refined grains and starchy vegies like potatoes and corn. Excess alcohol is a general threat to the system but it also worsens symptoms of headaches and mood swings. A 2016 study found that caffeine intake is not associated with PMS and the current recommendations for women to reduce caffeine intake during menstruation is a popular yet false myth, which I’m guessing is good news to the most of you caffeine addicts. You see, this whole diet thing doesn’t sound that bad, does it? I guess you would be more cautious with your nutrient intake during your menstruation from now on.

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