Managing PMS Cravings: The Right Foods To Have During Periods

This article is authored by Dr. Shweta U. Shah. A practicing homeopath, she follows a patient-centred perspective, emphasizing the benefits of natural remedies and herbs, homeopathy and whole food nutrition.

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For many of us, periods aren't quite the happiest time of the month, given that we tackle a range of uncomfortable symptoms. Admittedly, things can get pretty rough and difficult when a woman's period shows up for its monthly visit! It’s hard to define exactly how you feel during your menses. You may be super grumpy and blow your top off; or tears may flow all day long. It could possibly be that your appetite is going crazy, given that your serotonin levels decline during the periods. Some women say they have a tough time buttoning their jeans – it’s bloating, relax, you haven’t gained weight! In the days preceding the period, the body tends to store up fluids and sodium causing bloating and distention. What’s more, when you lose blood, you lose iron which is why you feel rundown and exhausted. Some have to endure severe menstrual cramps causing them to double up in pain. It’s a slew of symptoms that we go through!


However, instead of popping OTC drugs to deal with these monthly symptoms, it makes more sense to ensure that you know what foods to eat during periods and what foods to avoid during the period. Here’s what your diet should be like when on the cycle.

3 Foods to eat during periods

When on your period, you are losing blood as well as going through speedy hormonal shifts. To help you cope well with the flurry of symptoms, here are 3 nutrient-dense super foods to eat during your period, which you must integrate into your diet:

• Beans: Beans, pulses, lentils and legumes are packed with loads of magnesium and fibre. Magnesium can help increase serotonin levels appreciably, thereby battling those menstrual blues; while fibre fights bloating and diminishes water retention. Beans are of special importance in effectively dealing with cramps, constipation and diarrhea that are fairly common during the menstruation period. What’s more, magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and quickly allays excruciating menstrual cramps. So, make sure that you add dals, lentil soups, khichdi, rajma curry, chole and add beans to your salads, pasta and rice dishes during those five days.

• Cumin seeds: About 3 to 4 days prior to your period, your body stores up on sodium and fluids, making you feel bloated and gaseous. Amp up on jeera to de-bloat. The cumin seed is an impressive carminative, i.e. it effectively and instantaneously helps get rid of gas and abdominal distention. It is perfect when it comes to tackling belly aches and pains related to flatulence and bloating associated with PMS. Jeera is also packed with iron, magnesium, and calcium and provides some amount of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids – all of which are beneficial for period-linked woes. So, kick-start your day with a glass of jeera paani! You can try Tata Sampann Jeera Powder which is made from whole spices with their natural oils. These natural oils impart rich flavour and provide health benefits. Jeera used in Tata Sampann Jeera Powder is sourced from the Nagaur region of Rajasthan, known for its Jeera.

3 Foods to avoid during period

There are certain foods that you need to avoid when on your period. While it might be very appealing to reach out for these to comfort your out-of-control hormones, you are in effect doing a ton of harm to yourself:

• Caffeine: Caffeine causes the blood vessels to constrict; when this happens, it intensifies the cramps. So, steer clear of coffee, tea, carbonated drinks, and chocolate.

• Sodium-rich packaged foods: In the days leading up to your period, your body begins storing sodium and fluids. When you're already bloated, consuming foods that are jam packed with excess sodium such as fried potato chips will aggravate the situation.

• Sugary foods: Foods having a sugar overload – cookies, cakes, candies and flavored yogurts – all affect estrogen, testosterone, and serotonin levels. Furthermore, large amounts of sugar cause the blood sugar levels to get erratic, thus triggering uncertain mood swings.

3 Foods that help with period cramps

Here are 3 really powerful menstrual cramp tamers:

• Ginger: Fight those distressing menstrual cramps with ginger! Gingerols in ginger are robust anti-inflammatory agents that successfully deal with inflammation. The root is a powerful spasmolytic agent as well, and banishes stomach cramps. In fact, experts proclaim that ginger might just be the marvel drug that works miracles!

• Bananas: The fruit is absolutely ideal to deal with PMS-related cramping as well as to help balance out mood swings. Have 2 a day.

• Chamomile: Chamomile is exceedingly soothing for the uterus as well as the nerves. It significantly decreases the intensity of cramps and quells depression and anxiety too.

So, load up on these nutrient-dense, delicious foods you can eat during period - to get you through the monthly pain and discomfort. Also, never skip meals and make sure that you drink ample water to stay well hydrated and handle your period symptoms better. Here’s to having a less troublesome period!


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