It’s beautiful that the female body has the ability to create life. Or at least that’s what we ladies repeat over and over again while curled up on the bed in fetal position wondering why our body punishes us for not being pregnant.
I’ve historically had pretty painful periods. That’s why I was surprised a few months ago when my symptoms were actually fine. It so happened that the week prior to the period, I’d done a clean eating challenge. Turns out there are a lot of scientific explanations about how your eating habits can effect your PMS.
So if you are looking to make your period a somewhat endurable experience (who isn’t?) these are the things you should be eating:
Menstruation can make women feel bloated, constipated or have diarrhea. Fiber will keep things moving and help alleviate that awful bloated belly. Besides, foods high in fiber like broccoli, raspberries, Brussels sprouts and artichokes have amazing nutrients you need anyway.
You likely crave sugar, chocolate and fatty foods during this time of the month. This is because your shifting hormones can lower your levels of serotonin in your brain, which in turn triggers PMS symptoms, according to WebMD.
Those types of food are all carbohydrates, but not the good kind. They give you a fast fix, but your body will be better off if you fill it with complex carbohydrates instead.
Complex carbohydrates can be found in peas, beans, whole grains and other vegetables. They won’t give you an immediate fix like chocolate will, but they wil keep you happier longer.
If the world feels like it’s going to end once a month, you need more foods like salmon, chia seeds, nuts, soybeans, spinach, seafood and flaxseed oil.
A 2013 study discovered Omega-3 foods may reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, nervousness and inability to concentrate that come from PMS.
Not getting enough sleep will only heighten any irritable feelings you have on your period. If you have trouble sleeping, try eating bananas, oranges, tomatoes, pineapples or oats to get a natural intake of melatonin, a chemical that makes you sleepy.
But if your period makes your mouth break out in canker sores, avoid the oranges, pineapple and tomatoes.
Several types of Vitamin B are helpful in lowering PMS symptoms, but they have to come from natural sources. Taking a vitamin in pill form won’t do it, because interestingly enough, taking a B vitamin did not lower any effects of PMS, according to this study.
Vitamin B-12 is found naturally in lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish, dairy, fortified tofu and soymilk.
Foods with Vitamin A can help the health of your skin. Dermatologist Ellen Marmur said it helps with acne, psoriasis and eczema. So if your skin tends to get spotty with acne on your period, incorporate spinach, kale, romaine, carrots, bell peppers and squash into your diet.
One of the main keys to eating right is to prevent crisis mode. You tend to eat the unhealthiest when you are overly hungry. Prepare before you get to that point by keeping healthy snacks in the house and making sure each of your meals includes protein, since this keeps you full longer. Proteins are most abundant in foods like greek yogurt, nuts, cottage cheese, tofu, beans, lentils, seeds, meat, fish.