Here’s How Diet Can Affect Menstrual Health, What Foods to Avoid, and What Foods to Include

While menstrual symptoms can be challenging, incorporating specific foods and nutrients into your diet can offer significant relief. (Image: Shutterstock)

Understanding the foods that benefit menstrual health and those that could exacerbate symptoms can make a significant difference.

Many women experience distressing symptoms during their menstrual cycle, such as pain, cramps, mood disturbances, and bloating. While these symptoms are often considered a routine part of a woman’s monthly cycle, the role of diet in relieving or exacerbating these symptoms is profound and worth exploring. This is because proper nutrition guarantees hormonal balance, which is essential to regulate the menstrual cycle.

A balanced diet supports liver function, essential for breaking down excess hormones that could otherwise exacerbate menstrual symptoms. Let’s delve into these connections, offering information and guidance on dietary options to optimize menstrual well-being.

  1. Balance diet:Dr. Manmohan Singh, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Nirvasa Healthcare says, “Ensuring a diet rich in specific nutrients can greatly alleviate menstrual discomfort. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in salmon, flax seeds, and walnuts, are powerful inflammation reducers. Likewise, calcium and vitamin D, abundant in foods such as tofu and broccoli, not only promote bone health but also help control menstrual cramps and mood swings. “Fruits like watermelon help maintain hydration, while iron-rich leafy greens can prevent menstrual fatigue and promote menstrual health.”
  2. Lean meat:For those with heavier periods, lean meats like chicken provide essential iron to prevent anemia. Zinc and fish oils have also shown promise in relieving menstrual discomfort. Although dietary sources are preferable, supplements such as vitamins B6, B1, E, and magnesium may offer relief. However, it is best to consult your doctor before starting any supplements.
  3. Hydration and Probiotics:Staying hydrated with water and herbal teas, such as chamomile, can combat bloating. The probiotics in yogurt and kombucha promote a healthy gut, which is vital during menstruation.

While menstrual symptoms can be challenging, incorporating specific foods and nutrients into your diet can offer significant relief.

Foods to approach with caution

  • Excess salt and sugar:Eating foods high in salt and sugar can worsen bloating and mood swings.
  • Limit caffeine:Too much caffeine can cause irritability and worsen cramps. It can also exacerbate headaches and disrupt sleep, which will increase discomfort. Therefore, it is best to consume caffeine in moderation.
  • Spicy and junk food:Eating spicy foods can cause digestive problems in some people, aggravating stomach upset. Similarly, junk food, due to its high salt and preservative content, could exacerbate water retention and bloating, further intensifying menstrual cramps.

Combining dietary changes with other remedies can offer a holistic approach to managing menstrual discomfort. Performing light exercises, applying heat through warm compresses, and gentle massages on the back or abdomen can also be relaxing.

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