For all women, being on their periods every month is inevitable; this is something we have to go through half our lives, no matter how wretched it makes us feel. Some a few unfortunate women, periods are harder than others, with heavy bleeding, cramps, nausea, and muscle pains.
Although periods are a natural process all women have to endure through, there are some ways that you can make these days tolerable. During your period days, the type of foods you avoid is just as important as the food that you do eat, to give your body the comfort it needs. Every single woman in this world has their favourite comfort foods during their periods, but there are some things you should avoid or limit.
Here is a list of all the different foods and drinks that should be avoided for extra comfort during these difficult days.
- Sugary Drinks and Sodas
We all love sodas, but they should be limited during your period. Sodas, carbonated drinks, caffeinated drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks – these can all make you bloated, which can be uncomfortable during your periods. On the other hand, these drinks can actually dehydrate your body and you definitely need to stay hydrated during your menstruation.
While many of us can’t actually start our day without a cup of strong coffee, this is something we should try to avoid during our periods. Too much caffeine can increase our heart rate and blood pressure and aggravate some of the more prominent symptoms of PMS.
Some women actually get diarrhea during their periods; you can avoid this problem by limiting your coffee intake during the day.
Coffee should be limited to that one morning cup, or you could switch to some of the healthier alternatives of caffeine that can actually help with the symptoms of a period, i.e. green tea, black tea, chamomile tea, ginger tea, etc.
No one eats spoonsful of salt, but we do eat a lot of food with a liberal amount of salt in them. Chips and crackers, French fries, salted nuts, stir-fried vegetables – all of these foods have raw salt sprinkled on them. Salt, just like carbonated drinks and sodas, can make you feel bloated. During your period, it is always better to avoid raw salt or limit your salt intake. During your period, you should also avoid sprinkling raw salt on your salads or snacks.
Just like salt, too much sugar can also make you feel moody anxious or depressed during your periods. The temporary blood sugar spike from sugar can also make you feel drained after the crash. So, it is better if you limit your sugar intake by a little during your period, by cutting back on desserts, drinking black coffee or limiting white bread.
Drinking alcohol can help drown away your emotional pain, but it doesn’t help with period cramps. Rather, alcohol can dehydrate your body, worsen your period symptoms and lead to diarrhea; if you drink too much when you are having your periods, it can actually mean a terrible hangover with worsened symptoms of headache, vomiting, nausea, dizziness, bloating and fatigue.
- Spicy Food
Spicy food might seem like a good idea if you lose your appetite during your period, but for some women, spicy food leads to an upset stomach. If this is the case with you, it is better to avoid spicy food during these days as it can lead to diarrhea, stomach cramps, stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Spicy food won’t be a bother if your stomach is used to them, but it is best to avoid them during your period if you have trouble tolerating them.
- Red Meat
Certain red meat, too, should be avoided. Red meat is high in prostaglandins, which is a compound that helps in the contraction of your uterus and also in getting rid of the uterine lining. During your period, this same compound leads to heavy menstrual flow and cause cramps.
If you love red meat, it is a sacrifice you should make during your period if you don’t want to suffer from cramps or lose too much blood.
- Processed Food
Anything that is processed, i.e. fast food, frozen meals, instant noodles, canned soups and beans, spiced pickles, bacon and jerky, ham and sausage, canned fruits, pre-cut salads and vegetables, salted nuts, chips, etc. are all loaded with salt, preservatives and many other unknown ingredients, mostly chemicals.
During your periods, it is important that all women eat freshly prepared home-cooked or restaurant-cooked meals instead of processed meals and foods bought directly from the supermarket. These added ingredients and preservatives can interfere with all the hormones that are active in your body at this time and aggravate your period symptoms.
- Fatty and Oily Food
Anything that’s fatty and full of oils can lead to period cramps, give your gas and diarrhea, and make your skin sensitive. In fact, a woman’s skin is already sensitive and prone to acne when she has her period, but fatty and oily food can worsen the condition.
Deep-fried snacks, oily fish and chicken curries, French fries and burgers, whole-wheat cream on desserts – these are the unhealthy snacks you should avoid during your period.
- Full-fat Dairy Products
Although milk is important for women of all ages, it is preferable to skip drinking milk and eating other dairy products during your period. Full-fat milk, cheese, cream, and butter can cause abdominal and muscle cramps, as they are high in arachidonic acids.
For extra nutrition, you can opt for buttermilk or low-fat milk, which are just as nutritious and actually recommended during periods.
- Refined Grains
Most of us tend to say away from refined grains anyway, but this is especially important during your periods. Almost everything we love and crave for is made from a refined grain, i.e. white rice, white bread, white flour, and white pasta. Even breakfast cereals are made from white flour, and also contains sugar. White bread, cereals, tortillas, pizza, pasta, noodles, crackers and cookies, biscuits – these are all the food made from refined grains that we should avoid.
Store-bought candies are all loaded with sugar, salt, preservatives and artificial flavouring agents and as much as you are craving them, candy and chocolate bars, and other similar snacks, should be avoided during your period. They will give you gas and make you feel bloated, and can also lead to diarrhea and menstrual cramps.
On the other hand, if you are seriously craving something sweet, a good candy option is dark chocolates. They are good for your health and will also give you comfort when you are having cramps.
Periods are a hard time for most women. However, we do have to go through them for more than half of our lives. Knowing the foods that can aggravate our period symptoms and pains can actually help us live these few days with the minimum comfort and pain, and not dread the arrival of our periods every month.