When you’re on your period you can benefit from adjusting your diet to meet the specific needs that your body has during that time of the month. In fact, during menstruation, your body needs more energy and increased amounts of certain essential nutrients. Making some dietary changes might also alleviate certain nasty period symptoms, like cramping, bloating, and mood swings.

1. Lentils

Women following plant-based diets sometimes find it hard to receive the recommended daily intake of iron, as the highest concentrations can be found in foods like meat, fish, and seafood. Depending on how heavy your flow is, your body needs a larger amount of iron than usual, so you should focus on including iron-packed foods in your diet. Lentils are an excellent plant source of iron, and as such, they can help you fully replenish your iron reserves.

2. Calcium-fortified drinks 

Calcium is mainly found in dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt. During menstruation, an increased intake of calcium helps improve your mood and relieve menstrual pain. Calcium-fortified beverages, such as fortified almond milk and fortified fruit juices, can help you easily receive the recommended daily intake. Be sure to check the nutritional label of your preferred brands, as not all fortified drinks are the same.

3. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds can be a very healthy, nutrient-packed snack to eat during your period. They contain a substantial amount of protein, unsaturated fats, and fiber, as well as high concentrations of magnesium and manganese, minerals whose levels tend to drop due to hormones released during menstruation. Including lots of protein and fiber in your diet will help you keep your blood sugar stable and avoid giving in to food cravings.

4. Dark chocolate

If you are craving chocolate during your period, don’t resist. Chocolate can affect the levels of endorphins and serotonin in the brain, making you feel happier and more relaxed. It is also high in calories, giving you a lot of energy, and contains significant amounts of iron and potassium, two minerals that your body needs in increased amounts during your period. If you want to receive all the health benefits of chocolate, try to consume good quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content.

5. Kale

Dark leafy greens, like kale, collards, and spinach, are a staple food in any healthy diet, as they are packed with multiple valuable vitamins and minerals. One of the minerals they are particularly rich in is magnesium, which can help relieve PMS symptoms, reduce period pains, and improve digestion. They are low in calories and can be consumed on a daily basis, allowing you to easily receive the recommended daily intake of magnesium and load up on vitamins.

6. Bananas

Bananas contain a combination of essential nutrients that make them a perfect snack for women on their periods. They are an excellent source of potassium, which helps reduce menstrual cramping, as well as magnesium and vitamin B6, which can improve your mood and reduce water retention and bloating. Also, if you are one of the many women who experience irregular bowel movements during your period, eating bananas can help you regulate your digestive system.

7. Avocados

Healthy fats should always be included in your diet, and avocados are one of the best sources of healthy fats for vegetarians and vegans. Eating more healthy fats during your period will help balance your hormones while giving you a much-needed energy boost. Avocados are also rich in minerals like potassium and magnesium as well as fiber, so eating them can help reduce bloating and cramping.

Adapting your diet to your body’s specific needs during your period can help you avoid some of its nastiest symptoms, like cramping, mood swings, digestive irregularities, and bloating. Focus on eating the right types of food and stay happy and healthy throughout the whole month.

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