You might have heard of advices to avoid this food or avoid that food while on your period – but how about food that you should eat MORE of to help with your menstrual cramps?
Let’s go through exactly what nutrients you need to help tide you through this period (haha)!
#1: Healthy Food
While this may sound like a no-brainer, but It’s true! Eating healthy will help alleviate all kinds of symptoms, even menstrual cramps!
If you’ve been experiencing especially bad ones, try swapping out ‘unhealthy’ fats like saturated fats (found in animal products) for healthier ones like unsaturated fats found in olive oil! If you’re having dairy, opt for low-fat or fat-free products. Generally, studies have found that reducing fat and increasing vegetables in your diet eases monthly cramps, as this decreases the overall levels of inflammation in the body.
#2: (Caffeine-Free) Tea
You might think – Shouldn’t we be avoiding caffeine on our period? Why should we drink tea? That’s where you’re mistaken! Not all teas contain caffeine, and amongst those that don’t, there are actually some which are very beneficial in helping to relieve the menstrual cramps!
One such example is chamomile tea – the most common tea known for its relaxing properties. Drinking this tea increases the urinary levels of glycine, which helps relieve muscle spasms. Glycine will also act as a nerve relaxant. These, plus the fact that drinking something hot is naturally relaxing as well as soothing for the tummy, would give you the ultimate menstrual cramp relief!
Check out some other teas that help with menstrual cramp relief if chamomile isn’t your cup of tea! (No pun intended)
#3: Fish oil & Vitamin B1
Based on a research conducted in 2014, 240 high school female students with menstrual cramps were subjected to a randomised double-blinded experiment whereby they’re assigned to: A group taking fish oil supplements, A group taking vitamin B1 supplements, A group taking both fish oil and vitamin B1 supplements, or A group taking placebo. These teens ingested 100mg of B1 vitamins and 500mg of fish oil supplements a day.
Overall, groups who took any form of supplements was recorded to experience significantly lesser pain than the placebo group. Hence, it can be more or less concluded that these supplements do help with menstrual cramps!
#4: Food high in Magnesium
Magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle functioning, and higher levels of magnesium has been found to be correlated with relaxing the raging contracting muscles causing painful menstrual cramps.
Some examples of food high in Magnesium include:
- Dry almonds
- Boiled spinach
- Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate also contain many other substances that can help with the many period woes. Find out more here!
#5: Food that are Minimally Processed but High in Fibre
Generally, these type of food will help with their anti-inflammatory properties, reducing of bloating, and generally decreasing your period discomfort!
- Papaya (rich in vitamins)
- Chicken, fish, leafy green vegetables (rich in iron, to curb the decrease due to blood lost during menstruation)
- Flaxseed (Rich in omega-3, which has antioxidant properties, reducing swelling and inflammation)
- Walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds (Rich in Manganese, helps eases cramps)
- Brown rice (Rich in Vitamin B-6, help reduce bloating)
#6: Food High in Boron
Boron helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous better. In addition, it also was found to reduce the intensity and length of menstrual cramps.
Examples of food with high concentration of Boron include:
- Peanut Butter
Boron supplements are also an alternative, though you should first consult with your doctor on your suitability to take such supplements!
#7: Water(-based food)
Yes, it all boils down to water. It may sound counter-intuitive to drink water to prevent water retention and avoid the painful bloating during menstruation, but it helps. As mentioned above, warm or hot liquids are especially soothing, as it help increase blood flow and relax crampy muscles.
If you’re the type who dislike drinking water, try opting for these water-based food to boost hydration:
- Berries (Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries)
The best thing is you get to snack on them rather than just sipping on plain ol’ water!
#8: Food Rich in Calcium
A recommended of 1000mg per day for women aged between 19 and 50. Calcium not only helps to build healthy and strong bones, but it also reduces cramping of muscles, especially during menstruation, as well!
Some food high in calcium include:
- Leafy green vegetables (eat your greens!)
- Dairy products
- Sesame seeds
Like Boron, calcium supplements are also an alternative, though you should still consult your doctor regarding taking it as a daily supplement.
Here are more examples of minerals that helps relieve your menstrual cramps and other period woes!
|Mineral||Benefits||Which food has it?|
Try adding these into your diet and see which works best for you, as everyone’s bodies react to various minerals differently!