10 Foods to Eat On Your Period
I don't know about you, but I have the most miserable menstrual cycle in the entire world. I'm not exaggerating; think about everything that sucks about periods and times that by like 7 days and that's me. You too? Well, then you've come to the right place. I used to be that girl that would skip school and be bedridden the whole day because my cramps got so bad. Not even the classic Midol could remedy my pain. Through lots of experimentation and dreadful times-of-the-month, I like to think that I've finally figured out what helps me to alleviate cramps and reduce any bloating/inflammation that occurs while our lovely friend is in town. Like I said, pain killers like Midol and Ibuprofen never did the trick for me, so instead I learned to turn to the real medicine: food, herbs, and teas. Below I've listed 10 of my favorite and most effective foods to incorporate into your diet while you're menstruating that will help to reduce cramping, bloating, body aches, and inflammation!
They key is to stick to three things: healthy fats, anti-inflammatory, and iron-rich foods. While comfort food is usually what we crave, eating the foods I've listed below will actually make you feel better inside; and honestly, these are the foods that my body now craves when I'm on my period (because my body actually needs these things).
1. Coconut Oil- I use coconut oil regularly, but during my time of the month I especially make sure to up my intake of it. It's anti inflammatory, speeds up metabolism, and helps to regulate hormones. Maybe it's just because I'm always craving smoothies while I'm on my period, but my favorite way to use coconut oil during this time is to add half a tablespoon into my smoothies. It adds this smooth and almost silky texture to it!
2. Pumpkin seeds- This is more of a preference, but I love pumpkin seeds because they're low in carbs, high in omega-3s, and taste so yummy! Healthy fats help to fight inflammation, so if you aren't into pumpkin seeds, you can also sub with almonds or walnuts. Pumpkin seeds, however, have loads of magnesium in them which can help relax your muscles and ease cramps. Instead of grabbing handfuls and eating them as a snack (because hello, ya girl got portion control problems), I just throw a small handful into my smoothies and get my fix that way!
3. Avocado- Not only are avocados a source of healthy fats (and freakin' delish), but they also are chalk full of potassium. Eating foods rich in this mineral will balance water fluids to reduce bloating, relax muscles to combat cramps, and relieve the body from any overall stress. All praise to the most highest aka Avos.
4. Dark chocolate- Yes, I said it. You can have your goddamn dark chocolate and eat it to. Because of it's high amount of magnesium, dark chocolate will help to relieve body aches and cramps while enhancing your overall mood at the same time! Just make sure you're buying dark chocolate that's at least 70% cacoa or cacao. I like either Eating Evolved signature dark chocolate or Alter Eco in their blackout dark chocolate flavor ( it's 85% cacoa!); both have only 4 ingredients or less!!
5. Salmon- Salmon is a great source of Omega-3s, which are definitely the most effective anti inflammatory substances. If you aren't a big fan of salmon (I got this meal from fitlifefoods!), you can try other fatty fish like Mackerel, Tuna, or Trout! Pair it with some quinoa like in this photo or half an avocado, and maybe have some (or lots of) dark chocolate for dessert and that is what I call a healthy, feel good night!
6. Banana- Like avocados, bananas are filled with potassium, so you're going to help regulate any water retention and minimize bloating by eating them. Switch out your berry smoothies for banana smoothies during your time of the month, or snack on some 'nana and almond butter, and I guarantee you'll experience a lot less cramping!
7. Ginger- Something I've been adding into my diet a lot recently is fresh grated ginger. Ginger is so awesome at aiding digestion, but even better at relieving pain. If you were like me and raised on ginger-ale when you were sick as a kid (who am I kidding, I still have a sneaky can of canada dry when I have a tummy ache hehe), it's because the ginger in the soda helps soothe a sour stomach! I put fresh grated ginger into my smoothies in the morning and not only love the digestive help, but really love the overall taste it adds!
8. Maca Powder- This is pretty much the ultimate herb. Maca helps to balance female hormones, increase sex drive, boost energy, and promote regularity of your cycles. The main reason I started to add it to my smoothies is because when it comes to my time of the month, all I want to do is lay on the couch and binge watch Disney movies. And cuddle. And never ever move. So basically, I'm really lethargic when the period comes around and I find Maca powder just helps to increase my energy, keep me productive, and actually make me feel happier!
9. Spinach- Remember when I said iron-rich food? Well, spinach is your iron fix! If you tend to have heavier periods, you may or may become deficient in iron since you're losing a lot of blood (that sounds gross, but it's true lol). Making sure to intake extra iron during menstruation can prevent you from feeling both menstrual symptoms and iron deficiency symptoms like headaches, brain fog, fatigue, etc.
10. Cacao- Last, but certainly not least is the legendary Cacao. This has been such a "trendy" super food for the last couple of years; however, when it comes to your period, it really is a good idea to incorporate it into your diet. Cacao is packed full of many vital minerals and elements like magnesium, calcium, iron, anandamide (the "bliss" neurotransmitter), and vitamin B which all contribute to hormone balance, increase in energy, and overall mood! Also, Cacao is a great substitute for chocolatey desserts. Blend into smoothies, oatmeal, hot chocolate, or anything else your little heart desires!
Listen gals⎯ when I say my periods suck, that is an understatement. So, when I tell you that these foods and herbs have truly helped ease my cramps, bloating, and other miserable symptoms, I really mean it! Let me know if any of these help you, and if you have any tips and tricks to ease your period, please share it with me! You can find me on my socials or leave a comment below.