Cramps, bloating, headache, and fatigue are some common issues that women experience during their periods. As such, while the body needs rest, it is also important for one to ensure that it gets proper nourishment — not just during menses, but before and after too.
Diet and nourishment can play a pertinent role in controlling period related issues to a large extent, said nutritionist Minacshi Pettukola.
“All that cramping, bloating, headaches, and fatigue plus hunger are all associated with ‘that time of the month’. A woman’s body is just incredible, and what it can do and goes through month on month is just mind blowing. Monthly changes are natural, but fuelling the body in the right way before, during and after can help not just nourish the body at this time but also manage any related issues,” she said.
“We face lowered Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) with oestrogen and progesterone levels. PMS is most likely to occur during this period, and that can trigger things like bloating, cravings, irritability, fatigue, and mood swings,” she explained.
What to have: Include dark chocolate, plant proteins, essential fatty acids and fibre-rich foods such as kale, spinach, quinoa, nuts, tofu, lentils and beans. Keep yourself hydrated.
What to avoid: Avoid over-consumption of salt as it causes water retention that can lead to feeling bloated during your period. Also, avoid too much food since it can upset your stomach and even cause acid reflux.
This is the first day of your cycle. As such, it is imperative to maintain your energy level. Have natural relief causing foods to avoid any pain or discomfort.
What to have: Eat iron and magnesium-rich foods such as whole grains, fatty fish, dark chocolates, and yoghurt. Hot peppermint or even ginger will help reduce cramps. Stay hydrated and try to move around as much as you can (nothing too intense), she mentioned.
Increasing levels of oestrogen in the follicular phase trigger the release of LH, and the process of ovulation begins around the 14th day. “Nourishment is super important during this ovulation period,” she remarked.
What to have: Now it’s time to load up on B vitamins, lean proteins, and calcium. Iron-rich foods like certain meats, spinach, dark leafy greens, legumes, and dairy can help.
Good carbs like oats, brown rice, fruits, fibrous veggies, lentils well as fibre-rich foods like flaxseed, oats, nuts, seeds, wholegrains and cereals. Movement and hydration are equally important again.