Written by Monali Bordoloi and published on 02 June 2021.
Love your pizzas and pickles? But do you know that there are foods you should avoid eating during periods? Read on to know why you should give up certain foods when you have menstrual cramps
Swathi has recently re-joined a multi-national company after a sabbatical of two years for childbirth. She always had a difficult time during her menses as she suffered from severe abdominal pain, menstruation cramps and discomfort in the back. Now, Swathi dreads the days of her periods; she struggles to cope with the pressure of the job and a demanding toddler at home along with her periods pain.
Like Swathi, many women suffer in silence, while the periods pain disrupt their day-to-day activities. Due to unbearable pain, many women start taking painkillers. However, it is not safe to pop a pill every month as this may have long-term side effects.
"Just like right foods can help manage periods in a better way, wrong foods during periods can increase the chances of periods pain, stress, sleepless nights and other symptoms of the monthly cycle."
- Priya Kathpal, nutritionist
But do you know that just by avoiding certain foods, you can beat your periods pain? Yes, some foods are considered 'bad' for periods pain. So, tick these off your diet, especially during that time of the month, to fight periods pain better. Read on to know what not to eat during periods!
Priya Kathpal, a leading nutritionist from Mumbai says, "Just like right foods can help manage periods in a better way, wrong foods during periods can increase the chances of periods pain, stress, sleepless nights and other symptoms of the monthly cycle."
1. Salty Food: When you are menstruating, even if you are tempted, avoid eating foods like chips, namkeens, savories, etc. Avoid all types of packed food as it contains a lot of sodium. By reducing these foods, you are sure to see some improvements in your premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Why you should not eat: Periods are often accompanied by bloating due to water retention. Cutting down on salty foods helps reduce bloating.
2. Refined flour (maida): If you love pizzas, pastas, white breads and parathas, give these foods a miss during your periods.
Why you should not eat: Refined flours like maida cause constipation and gas in the stomach which lead to indigestion. As the nutrients are removed from refined grains like white rice, maida, these can cause fluctuation in the blood sugar level too.
3. Sugary food: Have you noticed that your cravings for all things sweet increase during your periods? Avoid sweets and other sugary drinks during your periods.
Why you should not eat: Sugary food imbalances the blood sugar level during periods. Such fluctuations lead to mood swings and tension. Sugar in the food also increases the severity of abdominal cramps, making you feel fatigued.
4. Fried food: Deep-fried food like bajjis, pakodas and french fries should be avoided when you are having your periods. Also avoid heavy food like red meat, whole-milk dairy products. Foods which are high in fats can lead to inflammation in the body which in turn increases the risks of PMS symptoms like cramps, back pain, etc.
Why you should not eat: Saturated fats and the trans-fat present in fried and fatty food contribute to periods pain and symptoms like tenderness in the breasts. Also, foods that are high in fats can lead to inflammation in the body which in turn increase the risks of PMS symptoms like cramps, back pain, etc.
5. Excessive coffee and tea: Do you often sip numerous cups of coffee or tea to cope with uncomfortable menstrual symptoms? If yes, try to cut down on the number of cups of coffee.
Why you should not drink: The caffeine in coffee and tea is known to increase discomfort from cramps. The dairy intake during periods days should be limited too. If you must drink, have some black coffee or black tea without milk. Or else try the comforting herbal tea like ginger tea, chamomile tea, etc.
6. Alcohol: Steer clear of alcoholic drinks if you want to spend your monthly cycle days without any aches and pains.
Why you should not drink: Several studies suggest that higher levels of alcohol consumption raise the estrogen levels in our body which will lead to severe PMS. It is bad for mood swings during periods too.According to Priya, "Initially, alcohol may seem to take the edge off periods pain and anxiety, but you'll eventually end up feeling worse. It could cause your menstrual cramps to last longer. Alcohol may even deprive you of a good night's rest by disrupting sleep in the second half of the night."
7. Fizzy drink: Avoid carbonated drinks if you suffer from periods pains.
Why you should not drink It leads to bloating and the added sugar in these fizzy drinks increases abdominal cramps.
8. Processed Food: If you eat pickle with every meal of the day, avoid it during your periods. Processed food like pickles, instant noodles, papads, canned and frozen foods should be avoided during periods.
Why you should not eat: As your hormones fluctuate during periods, processed food can make it worse. Ingredients present in processed food do not go well with hormonal balance during periods.
With some attention to diet, light exercise and a good night's sleep"you can manage your pain during periods better. Make the right food choices to help ease the discomfort of periods as food can make a huge difference in how you feel during those days.