Women across the world lack access to basic menstrual hygiene products due to various reasons. To create awareness about the same and also educate people about the importance of maintaining good menstrual hygiene, every year May 28 is observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day. The theme of Menstrual Hygiene Day this year is ‘It’s Time for Action’.
Women experience their menstrual cycle every month, during which women lose anything between between 20 to 80 mL of blood (per cycle), indicate studies. To make up for this blood loss, women must consume healthy foods, suggests Daljit Kaur, chief clinical nutritionist at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute. Some foods women should include in their diet are:
There is additional iron loss in women due to menstruation, which they need to make up for. It is important for women to consume iron-rich foods such as whole grain cereals, whole pulses, leafy vegetables like mustard leaves, tofu, bathua, chulai, jaggery, and even dry fruits, eggs and organ meats. Fortified iron foods should be included in the diet, so do read the nutritive value of the products you buy.
Protein should be consumed more during menstruation. The requirement for proteins for women is more than that of men; with blood loss during menstruation being one of the main reasons. Proteins must be consumed in the form of soya, eggs, chicken, red meat, iron fish, pulses (whole), lentils, milk and milk products (variants for lactose intolerant also available).
Vitamin C is required for better absorption of iron. The sources of vitamin C are lemon, oranges, amla, guava, capsicum tomatoes, drumsticks, germinated pulses and lentils (sprouts), and other citrus fruits.
Food for energy
Women may feel weak and also experience low blood pressure due to the blood loss during periods. Which is why they require a balanced diet which includes cereals (whole), nuts and seeds to gain back lost energy.
Fruits and vegetables like apple, banana, mango, strawberries, beans, lentil, peas, and dark leafy vegetables should be consumed to ensure a high fibre diet.
Vitamin B12 is mainly present in animal origin products like liver, meat, egg and milk. This nutrient is stored in the liver, and also helps the body in forming red blood cells, producing cellular energy and synthesising DNA.
Do visit your doctor or nutritional consultant on a regular basis.