Opt for foods low on salt, high in iron, protein and calcium.
Photograph*: Kind courtesy Elsa Holsk/Instagram
Menstrual cramps affect approximately 50 percent of female population across the world.
According to a 2016 study by Prof John Guilleaud from the University College London, menstrual cramping, for some can be as 'bad as having a heart attack.'
The symptoms of pain and uneasiness start as early as a week before the actual period (pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS). This includes bloating followed by fluctuating cravings.
When you are on your period, first thing you ignore is food.
Are you getting all of your dietary needs during your monthly period? Or are you just a slave to chocolate or junk food?
These food alternatives will help ease cramping while keeping you on a healthy diet.
1. Healthy versions of the foods you’re craving
It’s still okay to satisfy your food cravings during your period.
Dietitian Edwina Clark, head of nutrition and wellness at Yummly tells Glamour that there are healthier ways to do it.
She suggests choosing peanut butter, yogurt with granola, dried fruit, and nuts to indulge sweet and fat cravings.
2. Low-salt snacks
A lot of women can relate to having an intense craving for all things salty during their period.
Dr Caudle says this is problematic because it could worsen the bloating that often comes with PMS. Remember salt causes water retention and bloating.
3. Foods high in calcium
Clark tells Glamour that previous research has suggested that calcium can lessen the severity of PMS.
Try going for dairy products, leafy greens, tofu, or other foods high in calcium when you're cramping during your period.
4. Iron-rich foods
Naturally, losing a lot of blood means you’re more prone to anemia.
To fight this, Clark recommends eating red meat, seafood, poultry, leafy greens and fortified cereals.
Studies have also found a link between saffron and PMS relief.
Making sure to get about 30 milligrams a day should be enough, says Clark.
Just add a few flakes of saffron from a spice container into soups, teas, and sauces.
Commonly used to treat an upset stomach, ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can also help ease period pain caused by cramps.
Just like saffron, ginger goes well with teas or sauces; it can also be blended into smoothies.
7. Nuts and seeds
Being high in vitamin E, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils can help prevent menstrual migraines.
8. Fibre-rich foods
Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can help ease constipation, which is common during your period.
According to Dr Jennifer Caudle, getting enough fruits and veggies can remedy this problem.
Omega-3 fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, which means they lessen period cramps.
The best sources of omega-3 are fish like salmon, trout, sardines, and anchovies.
Not a fan of fish? You can still get a healthy dose of omega-3s from fish oil capsules or omega-3 supplements.
So, go for low-salt foods such as homemade french fries or unsalted popcorn.
Making these simple dietary changes will help ease discomfort during that time of the month while also making sure you’re getting enough nutrition.
Don’t worry, you can still indulge in that delicious bar of chocolate, once in a while.
Lead image used for representational purposes only.