We’ve talked about the types of food that helps with menstrual cramps, now, let’s dive into the forbidden category of untouchables when you’re on your period!
(Psst, read on for a neatly summarised infographic at the end!)
#1: Fatty Food
To be specific, avoid food high in saturated fats. While it’s a known fact that they are generally bad for your health, saturated fats are especially detrimental for you during your period. Saturated fats occur naturally in many foods, but the majority come mainly from animal sources, including meat and dairy products.
They have a strong influence on oestrogen levels, causing you to experience breast tenderness, mood swings, bloating and many other PMS-related symptoms. In addition, not only will saturated fats increase inflammation, hence causing increased menstrual cramps, they also contain arachidonic acid – a producer of the nasty prostaglandins, the hormone responsible for uterine contractions and thus, menstrual cramps.
Lastly, all the extra oil from these saturated fats will lead to even more breakouts – Stay clear from the nasties!
Instead, opt for lean cuts of poultry and meat!
Yes, even on the worst days, try to avoid that glass of wine or can of beer. While alcohol may be a temporary relief for menstrual cramps, it might actually cause it to get worse. Alcohol increases oestrogen levels, which is related to all the period symptoms you experience such as mood swings or breast tenderness. Still not convinced? Alcohol’s diuretic nature increases levels of water retention, causing you to, yep you guess it, look and feel more bloated.
Instead, opt for some coconut water keep you hydrated yet avoiding the bloat!
#3: Carbonated Beverages
It comes as no surprise that those fizzy sodas will increase levels of bloating. While it’s a minor inconvenience when not on a period, these aerated drinks could actually worsen your menstrual cramps if you drink them while on your period.
Caffeine might be sustenance to some, but it’s one of the worst beverages to drink while on your period. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor that causes blood vessels to constrict. In turn, this may cause vessels leading to the uterus to tighten, increasing menstrual cramps. This constriction will also cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, leading to tension and anxiety attacks. The surge in oestrogen levels due to the caffeine would also lead to worsened period symptoms such as bloating. Overall, caffeine on your period is just a big NO-NO!
Instead, opt for some caffeine-free herbal tea options!
#5: Salty & Processed Food
As if the hormones released while on your period that causes bloating isn’t enough,
Salt is just a recipe for increased discomfort and bloatedness. To top it off, processed food are typically packed with sodium. Reduce your sodium intake and stay away from those chips!
#6: Refined Sugar
I know, I know, sweets are your comfort food during your menstruation. However, your blood sugar level is on a roller coaster ride during your period, and by intaking even more sugar you’re adding fuel to the fire and disrupting your natural sugar levels even more by letting it rise and drop drastically. This can lead to intense mood swings and tension in your body, hence the increased cramps. In addition, sugar is also inflammatory, worsening the menstrual cramps further.
However, you need not completely cut sugar out of your diet! You can opt for natural sugars like fruits, figs or dates, which will keep your blood sugar levels more stable.
#7: Fried Food
Most fried food contain trans-fats and hydrogenated vegetable oil. These increase inflammation and oestrogen levels, leading to worsened menstrual cramps, and other period symptoms.
Opt for grease-free snacks!
Now that you know what food to steer clear of during your period to prevent unwanted menstrual cramps, say hello to a pain-free period!