Foods to Eat During Periods

Do you struggle to handle menstrual aches and pain while taking care of your toddler? Here is a list of 10 foods which can reduce your discomfort during that time of the month.

By Monali Bordoloi  • 10 min read

Foods to Eat During Periods

Neeta always had a painful menstrual cycle with abdominal pain, backache, menstrual cramps and mood swings. Now, with a one-and-a-half-year-old son, she finds it even more difficult to manage menstrual cramps along with the little one's demands. The toddler’s tantrums irritate her even more during that time of the month and she often snaps at her son. Since she is breastfeeding her son, she hesitates to take painkillers. Wouldn't it be nice if we knew the foods to eat during periods to reduce our menstrual cramps? Ofcourse. 

Many women with small kids can identify with Neeta. With families becoming nuclear, the mother alone takes care of the child, even if she is in severe discomfort and often feels overwhelmed because of it. Usual remedies for menstrual cramps like applying heat pad on the abdomen, mild exercises, resting on the bed might not work for all. However, the good news is that you can reduce your menstrual cramps by eating certain kind of foods. We bring you 10 superfoods that provide relief by keeping menstrual pain under control.

Niyati P Likhite, dietician, says, “Food definitely plays an important role in managing menstrual cramps. Eating the right kind of food will give you an edge to deal with this discomfort better. Include lots of vitamin-rich, protein-rich, iron-rich food in your diet. Magnesium and healthy fats should also be there in your food.”

What to eat during periods:

Do you know that when you get cranky due to menstrual cramps, your cravings for unhealthy food increases? So, to stay on the course of healthy eating and to ease your aches and pains during that time of the month, try eating these foods during the days you are bleeding. These will keep your menstrual cramps under control.

Priya Kathpal, a leading nutritionist from Mumbai suggests that women include the following ten foods in their diet to manage their menstrual cramps better.

1. Bananas for period cramps: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Nutrients like Vitamin B6 in bananas are known to give relief from menstrual cramps. Women often complain about bloating during their monthly cycle. Bananas are a rich source of potassium which helps reduce water retention which in turn reduces bloating.

How to eat: You can have bananas any way you like, after a meal, as a snack or in your breakfast, make sure to include this fruit during those days of the month especially.

2. Dark chocolate during period: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Now, you can enjoy your favourite bar of dark chocolate without any guilt. Studies suggest that dark chocolate helps in reducing pain during periods. It can also lift your mood during those tiring days. Cocoa in dark chocolate uplifts your mood naturally. But remember, white chocolates with added sugar can make your period pain more severe.

How to eat: Try to relax with a bar of dark chocolate once you feel those aches and pains during periods.

3. Green leafy vegetables for period pain: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

We all know that green leafy vegetables are good for health, but did you know that the bunch of spinach (palak) can simply help you reduce your menstrual cramps and pains? The nutrients present in green vegetables like vitamin E, vitamin B6 and magnesium are known to fight periods cramps, which bothers women the most in those days.

How to eat: Eat it as salads or cook it with a little amount of oil and have it as part of your meal.

Watch the video below where Luke Coutinho, celebrity nutritionist, talks about managing menstrual cramps and PMS in a healthy way.

4. Ginger during menstruation:

Foods to Eat During Periods

If you suffer from painful menstruation, try ginger tea for relief. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger helps in easing the pain. It is also used for nausea and for stomach upset, symptoms that sometimes accompany menstruation.

How to eat: Boil few slices of ginger in some water. You can add a pinch of black pepper and honey. Drink this tea regularly or during your periods to get relief.

5. Yogurt during period:

Foods to Eat During Periods

Do you know, research suggests that those women who consume 1,200 mg of calcium, experience 30 per cent fewer pre-menstruation symptoms (PMS) like cramps, abdominal pains, backaches, etc. Yoghurt is a natural source of calcium, which helps the body to fight issues related to menstrual cramps and discomfort. 

Priya Kathpal says, “A bowl of yoghurt can help balance your calcium levels during your menstrual cycle. Women must ensure that they are eating enough calcium-rich foods regularly, but during that time of the month, it is even more important.”

How to eat: You can eat yoghurt or curd regularly along with your meal.

6. Avocado during periods: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Butter fruit or avocado is rich in protein which is required to fight menstrual cramps. Also, the Omega-3 present in avocado acts as an anti-depressant. Priya adds, “Avocado can help balance hormones naturally during your monthly cycle.”

How to make: Make an avocado salad or have it as chutney.

7. Lentils for periods: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Do you know that your daal and sambar can help in your fight against menstrual cramps? The lentils are complex curbs, eating it regularly produces a chemical in our body named serotonin. This chemical is responsible to make you relax during tiring times. Regular consumption of lentils is also linked to less severe PMS symptoms.

How to eat: You can include lentils in your sambhar, and make curries with chickpeas and rajma, etc. in your diet.

8. Fennel seeds for periods:

Foods to Eat During Periods

If your menstrual aches are making your life miserable, try fennel seeds. As it has anti-inflammatory properties, it can work as over-the-counter painkillers. Fennel seeds also have some muscle calming properties which is useful during those uncomfortable days of the month. It also helps in bloating during those days.

How to eat: You can dry roast whole fennel seeds and have it after meals or anytime you like. Or else, you can also boil some fennel seeds in water and drink it water once it is cool.

9. Pineapple for during periods: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Do you know that the humble fruit pineapple can be your knight in shining armour when you are suffering from menstrual cramps? Pineapple is considered as a natural muscle relaxant. Drink plenty of pineapple juice to ease the aches and pains of menstruation.

How to eat: Make a pineapple salad or include pineapple juice as part of your breakfast.

10. Walnuts to eat for periods pain: 

Foods to Eat During Periods

Walnuts, considered good for boosting memory, is also good for menstrual cramps. The Omega-3 fatty acids present in walnuts have anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It also has magnesium which helps relax the muscles.

How to eat: You can eat walnuts between meals as snacks or in some sweet preparations.

Meal plan during your monthly cycle:

When you are menstruating, avoid spicy, fried food and instead go for light foods to avoid indigestion issues.

Breakfast during periods: During your monthly cycle, start your day with one glass of milk, one boiled egg, and banana. Vegetarians can opt for oats porridge with fruits like strawberries.

Lunch during periods: During that time of the month, your lunch can be rice, chicken with grilled vegetables and one cup of yogurt. Vegetarians can go for daal with brown rice with spinach-cottage cheese (palak-paneer) curry.

Snacks to have during periods: Have 5 to 6 walnuts, pumpkin seeds for snacks. Instead of regular milk tea, try ginger, black pepper, and honey tea.

Dinner to eat during periods: For vegetarian, dinner can be 3-4 multigrain chapatis with daal or soya curry. Non-vegetarians can opt for grilled fish with rice.

Dessert to eat during periods: Indulge in a bar of dark chocolate for dessert or go for light fruit salad.

Exercise to do during periods: Skip the gym if you are not comfortable to exercise during your monthly cycle. Instead, go for walks. Give your body some rest during that time.  

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