Many individuals crave French fries doused in salt and brownies double decked with fudge and studded with chocolate chips when their body is ravaged by the crimson horror. Instinctual wisdom preaches that when you feel poorly, junk food comforts the soul. Yet, nutritionists agree, healthy food can soothe some menstrual symptoms.
Periods can usher in mood swings, headache, full-body aches, bloating, diarrhea, cramps and fatigue. “A lot of these symptoms are related to fluctuations in the hormones, however what we eat can certainly affect those symptoms,” nutritionist Louanne Howard said.
She advises that women minimize their salt intake five days before their period and during their period. Salt causes fluid retention, which can lead to more bloating. Other foods to stay away from include processed foods and sweets. Howard encourages women to satiate their sweet cravings with fruit or whole grains before they beeline it to the candy counter.
Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages can make already irritated stomachs more upset and bloated. Indian Chai tea and green tea are good alternatives to a cup of joe.
Foods to indulge in include calcium-rich foods, fruits and starchy vegetables like peas, avocados and sweet potatoes as well as legumes. If your inner chocoholic comes out during the red scare, chocolate milk or low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt are good ways to keep the cravings at bay. Howard also suggests eating small pieces of antioxidant-rich dark chocolate.
When falling off the roof – a period euphemism used by 1950s dames – it is important to munch on high-iron foods because blood loss equals iron loss. Howard recommends eating iron fortified cereals, leafy greens, legumes and nuts.
Some natural foods to fight cramps include fresh dill; sesame seeds; pumpkin seeds; pineapple, which can relax muscles; parsley and bananas which can comfort aches and pains; celery, which fights bloating; and hummus, which can uplift moods and improve sleep.
As always, exercise and drinking lots of water are a must during this time “period.”
“It is very important to pay attention to your diet,” Howard said. “It is difficult because you are dealing with these other symptoms. Getting enough sleep and exercise and eating a balanced diet will help you navigate your period.”
The Period Tracker app for the iPhone is a handy tool to help women track their period cycles and lengths. The period tracker lite is free and a more deluxe version is available for $1.99. The app calculates period start dates and lengths as well as when its user is the most fertile and ovulating. It also allows users to enter their symptoms, mood and weight on each day of their period. Charts and logs keep track of period length, symptoms, moods, body temperature and body weight from period to period. Who knew that Aunt Flo could be so quantified? She is a predictable dame.
See recipe below for a chocolate fix. Information for this article was taken from Huffingtonpost.com and www.gurl.com.