Menstruation: Your Food Guide for Before, During and After Periods

For women, the monthly menstrual cycle is an important part of their bodies and life. Eating right is very important during this time. Nutritionist Minacshi Pettukola speaks about just how incredible a woman’s body is and all that it endures every month. She explains that while these monthly changes are completely natural, it is extremely vital to fuel the body in the right way before, during and after periods. In addition to helping nourish the body, it supports the ‘uterus owners’ to manage “cramping, bloating, headaches and fatigue plus hunger” associated with “that time of the month.”

Here is a detailed nutrition guide as suggested by Minacshi:

Before Periods

Women face lowered FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) with increased oestrogen and progesterone levels. PMS generally takes place during this period and can aggravate issues like bloating, cravings, irritability, fatigue and mood swings.

What to take: Dark leafy greens, plant proteins, essential fatty acids and fibre-rich foods such as kale, spinach, apple, orange, banana, quinoa, nuts, tofu, lentils and beans, dark chocolate, and a lot of hydration.

During Periods

On the first day of your cycle, it is essential to amp up energy and intake natural relief causing foods to maintain these levels to avoid painful periods.

What to take: A diet rich in iron and magnesium-rich foods, fatty fish, whole grains, dark chocolates and yoghurt. Hot peppermint tea or ginger tea. Stay hydrated and move around as much as possible.

After Periods

Increased levels of oestrogen in the follicular phase push the release of LH (luteinizing hormone) when the process of ovulation begins around Day 14. Nourishment is key during the ovulation period.

What to take: Load up on Vitamin B, lean proteins and calcium. Consume Iron-rich foods including certain meats, spinach, dark leafy greens, legumes and dairy. Healthy carbs like oats, brown rice, fruits, fibrous veggies, lentils and strawberries. Fibre-rich foods such as flaxseed, nuts, seeds and wholegrain bread and cereal. Focus on hydration and movement.

Please note: Avoid excess consumption of salt as it leads to water retention causing a bloated feeling during periods. Avoid consuming too much spicy food as it can upset the stomach and also cause acid reflux.

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