Menstruation or the vaginal bleeding that women experience every month can bring about symptoms that can be uncomfortable and distressing. The symptoms include stomach cramps, nausea, fatigue, stomach bloating, diarrhoea, and mood swings.

Although you may not feel like eating during your periods, adding certain foods to your diet is found to play a role in easing your symptoms during this time of the month. 

Let’s take a look at the list of these foods.

What to Eat During Your Period

1. Complex carbohydrates: Studies suggest that including complex carbohydrates (carbohydrates that also contain fibre, thus helping in slow absorption of the carbs into the bloodstream and lower glucose levels) in your diet will help in easing your symptoms during menstruation. Complex carbs also help in elevating serotonin levels. 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps improve your mood and induces a sense of well-being. It is better to avoid simple carbohydrates and choose complex carbs such as beans, lentils, brown rice, and oats. 

2. Dark chocolate: Other than being delicious, dark chocolate is also a rich source of iron and magnesium. Iron is an essential element for the production of blood cells. Dark chocolate also provides a magnesium boost which helps in managing other symptoms such as cramps and mood swings during menstruation. 

Dark chocolate may soothe your cravings and also help boost your mood. You can include a small piece of dark chocolate in your meal plan during that time of the month. 

3. Iron-rich food: Menstruating women can lack iron due to blood loss. Therefore, it is necessary that you include iron-rich food in your diet to maintain the iron levels in the body. 

Your body gets iron from the food you eat and therefore you can include foods such as meat, eggs, and green leafy vegetables in your diet during menstruation. 

4. Lean protein: Loading up on lean protein will help maintain your blood sugar levels and to curb your sugar cravings.  Adequate protein intake can also help in relieving symptoms such as stomach cramps and fatigue. 

Food that is rich in protein helps in regulating your periods and reduces the risk of abnormal menstrual cycles. It helps boost your energy levels and is beneficial for your overall health. Include protein-rich foods such as beans and legumes, low-fat milk, plain yogurt, and salmon into your diet. 

5. Fiber: Having a high-fibre diet will help you alleviate menstrual symptoms such as pain and stomach cramps. Whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts are rich sources of fibre. 

Including these foods in your diet during menstruation will also in curbing your cravings. Fibre also helps to keep blood sugar levels in check. 

What to Avoid Eating

While including certain food in your diet during menstruation can be beneficial, it is better that you avoid some items. These include:

1. Too much salt: Eating foods that contain too much salt can lead to bloating and water retention. Make sure that you avoid processed and fast food as they have a high salt content. 

2. Fatty foods: It is better to avoid fatty foods during menstruation as they can worsen the symptoms. It can promote uterine contractions increasing stomach cramps and adding to your discomfort.  

3. Alcohol: Alcohol can have a number of negative effects and it can also worsen your symptoms during menstruation. Alcoholic beverages can dehydrate you, causing headaches and stomach bloating. It can also cause problems with digestion and lead to unwanted symptoms.

Pamper yourself during your periods to feel good, but make sure you are eating fresh, wholesome, and nutrition-dense food. Don't forget to get enough sleep, and exercise for your physical and mental health.

Disclaimer: This article is written by the Practitioner for informational and educational purposes only. The content presented on this page should not be considered as a substitute for medical expertise. Please "DO NOT SELF-MEDICATE" and seek professional help regarding any health conditions or concerns. Practo will not be responsible for any act or omission arising from the interpretation of the content present on this page.