Picture this: You’re on your period, you’ve been experiencing cramps days before your period even started, you’re moody AF, and to top it off, all you want to do is eat everything in sight.
So what should you do when the first thing you want to reach for is that slice of pizza, cake, or donut? (We’re guilty of all of the above). We hate to be those people, but nutrition and eating healthy really is important, especially when you’re trying to combat menstrual cramps. Yes, your brain might believe that slice of junk will make you feel better, but in the end, it will only make you feel worse.
We’ve put together a handy little list that will help you ease menstrual cramps FAST.
Eat foods high in Magnesium
Did you know that magnesium helps reduce anxiety, along with sleeping problems, headaches, and PMS? It eases menstrual cramps by relaxing the uterine muscles in the uterus and reduces the prostaglandins that cause menstrual pain. To incorporate more magnesium into your diet, try eating cashews, soybeans, almonds, spinach, avocado, bananas, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate — THE LIST IS ENDLESS! Magnesium supplements are also a great option.
FATS – the healthy kind
Fatty acids are the precursors of hormones, aka their building blocks. This means that good fats make good hormones, and bad fat makes bad hormones. If your hormone balance is off the charts, take a look at the kind of fats you’re eating on a daily basis. Good fats can be derived from olive oil, avocados, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, and salmon (of course, there are plenty more). Salmon also contains vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and iron, which also contributes to alleviating menstrual pain.
Two words: anti-inflammatory. Vitamin E balances your hormones and can limit the amount of blood you lose, meaning it might make your heavy flow well…not as heavy. Sunflower seeds, broccoli, spinach, almonds (we’re seeing a trend here…), Brazil nuts, asparagus, hazelnuts, and leafy greens are all foods high in vitamin E that would be great to eat during your period.
Not only is zinc an important nutrient for our health (it helps keeps your skin, hair, teeth, bones, immune system, muscles, and brain, healthy!), research has shown that zinc can help reduce PMS symptoms and cramps, how amazing is that? There’s a funny correlation that shows our zinc levels are low right before our periods – meaning PMS is at its peak! To add more zinc into your life, eat foods such as shellfish, beef, pork, and chicken. However, if you eat a plant-based diet, it’s harder to absorb the zinc from plants, so a good alternative would be zinc supplements!
DON’T FORGET TO DRINK WATER
Stay hydrated! Drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day will help reduce bloating. While you’re at it, stay away from sugary and salty foods/drinks during your period.
Want to know more ways to ease your period cramps? We have six easy tips you can follow to make your period a little more bearable.