What to Eat During Your Periods

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
What to Eat During Your Periods

Pain in the lower abdomen, bloating, fluid retention, headaches, mood swings, irritability... these are just some of the symptoms that the vast majority of women have to deal wit before and during their period. In addition to staying well hydrated, relaxing and performing moderate physical activity, it is also important to make some changes to your normal diet. These should help alleviate the aforementioned symptoms and make this torturous time of the month more bearable. OneHowTo gives you some pointers on what to eat during your periods. We'll advise you on what you should eat and what you should avoid like the plague.

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Importance of diet during periods

Before and during your period, many women experience changes on both a physical and emotional levels. Physical changes include pain and bloating, discomfort, constipation or diarrhea, breast tenderness and fluid retention. Emotional changes such as irritability, changes in mood, low self-esteem are common symptoms.

To alleviate these symptoms during your period, be careful with your diet. Eat plenty of foods with nutrients that help ease hormonal imbalance and the aforementioned symptoms. Doing so will have a positive effect on your overall well-being. You'll feel much better and have much more oomph for carrying about your day as if it was any other day of the month.

What to Eat During Your Periods - Importance of diet during periods

Foods rich in potassium

Potassium is one of the recommended nutrients to eat during your periods. This mineral is essential to health as it helps maintain balance in the liquid level in the body; supports bone health and is crucial in the nerve impulse transmission. With this in mind, you should boost potassium consumption during menstruation as it will help greatly with fluid retention, bloating, gas and emotional symptoms.

The foods with the most potassium are:

  • Vegetables such as collards, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, watercress, artichokes, potatoes.
  • Fruits such as bananas, melons, strawberries, coconuts, tomatoes and cherimoya.
  • Nuts like walnuts and peanuts.
  • Soya.
What to Eat During Your Periods - Foods rich in potassium

High fibre foods

It is also essential to eat enough fiber, which is around 25 to 30 grams per day, according to nutritionists. Fibre is great for reducing estrogen levels, which increases during menstruation. It also helps digestive health and thus prevents conditions such as indigestion, gas, abdominal inflammation and constipation.

The following are particularly high in fiber:

  • Vegetables such as artichokes, chard, broccoli, peas, turnips, asparagus and cauliflower.
  • Fruits such as plums, blueberries, kiwi, avocado, apples, pears, persimmons and oranges.
  • Whole grains.
  • Nuts such as walnuts, almonds or pistachios.
  • Sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
What to Eat During Your Periods - High fibre foods

Foods that increase serotonin

As aforementioned, emotional symptoms are common during menstruation, including mood swings, anxiety, nervousness and irritability. To boost your emotional well-being and alleviate ups and downs, nothing beats food that stimulate serotonin production in the body. This is a neuro-hormone that is responsible for balancing mood and helping considerably with stress and anxiety. It is no wonder, then, that is it known as the "happiness hormone".

Some foods that help increase serotonin are:

  • White meats like chicken and turkey.
  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines and trout.
  • Vegetables like spinach, cabbage, squash, watercress, artichokes and arugula.
  • Fruits such as pineapples, avocados, papayas, mangoes and bananas.
  • Cereals such as wheat, oats, corn, rye.
  • Legumes such as soybeans, lentils, chickpeas.
What to Eat During Your Periods - Foods that increase serotonin

Iron-rich foods

Although this is recommended for all women, this nutrient is particularly important for those who suffer from heavy periods which last a long time. If you fall into this category, get plenty of iron-rich foods into your diet. This mineral is essential for the formation of red blood cells and in preventing anemia. This condition has symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, dizziness and headaches. In addition, it has been found that iron is also excellent to relieve cramps that can be caused by uterine contractions a the time of the month.

Some of the most iron-rich foods include.

  • Vegetables such as spinach and Swiss chard.
  • Fruits such as figs, plums, grapes, mango and dried fruit.
  • Meats such as beef, pork or lamb.
  • Fish such as anchovies and sardines.
  • Cereals such as wheat germ and brewer's yeast.
  • Legumes like soybeans, lentils and chickpeas.
  • Nuts and seeds like pistachios and sunflower seeds.
What to Eat During Your Periods - Iron-rich foods

Foods rich in vitamin B6

Under the vitamin B group umbrella, you can find vitamin B6. This plays an important role in the body. Not only does it improve muscle performance and increase energy production, it also acts as a natural diuretic and helps regulate the nervous system and hormonal activity. It is a nutrient that will prevent the accumulation of fluid in the body and will keep you in high spirits throughout. In addition, it alleviates muscle weakness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration, etc.

Foods with vitamin B6 are:

  • Meats like chicken, beef, liver and pork.
  • Fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, halibut and herring.
  • Fruits such as bananas and avocados.
  • Nuts like walnuts and peanuts.
  • Garlic.
  • Potatoes.
  • Oats.
What to Eat During Your Periods - Foods rich in vitamin B6

Foods to avoid during your periods

There are foods or ingredients out there that can make your time of the month altogether more miserable. They can aggravate symptoms and leave you feeling down in the dumps. Below is a list of food you should stay clear of throughout your period:

  • Red meat and very fatty foods.
  • Foods rich in salt.
  • Foods rich in sugars.
  • Caffeinated drinks or food.
  • Alcoholic beverages.
  • Moderate dairy consumption (no more than 2 portions per day).
What to Eat During Your Periods - Foods to avoid during your periods

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What to Eat During Your Periods, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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