Periods are the worst! But what if I tell you that you can avoid certain foods to make your period less bad and less painful?
Avoid Foods During Period: Awful cramps, pain all over the body, irritation, mood swings, and food cravings- all sums up the PMS symptoms. While most of your girlfriends tell you to do this or do that or eat this or eat that on your menstruation, it’s always better to take expert advice than to regret later.
Chocolates and processed foods cause bloating and trigger painful period cramps, hence, eating foods that are nutrient-dense such as fruits and vegetables are your best option. But before I give you all the health insights on foods to avoid during your period, let’s first talk about period cramps and why it occurs.
What is the period cramps?
Period cramps or menstrual cramps are severe pain in a woman’s abdomen that takes place either before or during the menstrual period. The symptoms might continue for two to three days and the pain might range from mild to a throbbing, dull or sharp pain in the abdomen.
A woman experiences menstruation cramps due to the production of prostaglandins. These chemicals stimulate the uterine muscles to contract. The contraction causes us to experience the pain. They may also be responsible for vomiting, diarrhoea, and headaches. Aside from this, the food we eat can also trigger the cramps and other symptoms. That’s why you should always watch out what you’re eating during painful periods. Here’s the list of some of the foods to avoid during the period.
For more details about menstruation, read our article on sound health solution: Menstruation: Periods, Psychological & Cultural Consideration
So what not to eat during periods?
Caffeinated foods such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks are a strict no-no during menstruation. These foods worsen your symptoms, triggering severe menstrual cramps. Consuming caffeine increases your blood pressure and heart rate leading to anxiety, depression and breast tenderness, worsening your PMS symptoms. Hence, instead of caffeinated drinks and beverages, you can opt for herbal teas and just plain water to keep your body hydrated and under the balance.
Food cravings and mood swings are a big part of your period. Snacking on your favourite potato chips or eating lots and lots of ice cream and chocolates in your pajamas might seem fun but it’s not healthy at all. Refined and processed foods such as potato chips, chocolates, bars, commercially manufactured pastries, cookies, instant rice/noodles, white bread contain artificial sweeteners and preservatives that can mess your digestion, resulting in bloating and diarrhoea. To add more, refined foods are often made from simple carbohydrates that your body burns through quickly, leaving you feeling hungry and tired after the initial “rush” of energy wears off.
Well drinking a warm milk might be the first thing you want to do when you have period cramps but experts say otherwise. Dairy products like milk, cheese, cream, ice cream are not recommended as they are high in arachidonic acid which can act as a stimulus to trigger menstrual cramps. You can go for low fat skimmed milk or buttermilk or low-fat cheese if you’re craving for something milky. Dairy products are high in fat that can cause inflammation and irritation, worsening our period pain.
4.Foods with high salt content
Water retention, dehydration and bloating are some of the problems you face during menstruation every month. Consuming foods that contain too much salt can disrupt the fluid balance in the body. Avoid foods such as salty snacks, pickles, relishes, readymade sauces, smoked/cured/canned meat, salty cheese, salted nuts and so on. Steer clear all these foods and eat fresh foods and fruits instead.
5.Fried and spicy foods
Though fried and spicy foods tingle your taste buds, they eventually leave your abdomen in agony! Eating too much fatty and spicy food can cause inflammation in the body. It can also trigger PMS symptoms such as abdominal cramps, back pain, breast pain, cravings and weight gain. Hence, it’s best to steer clear all the fried and fatty foods such as baked goods, onion rings, french fries, cheese and dairy products, fast foods and so on. Instead, you can cook your own food using extra virgin olive oil and eat boiled or lightly sauteed vegetables.
Alcohol is not healthy for any purpose and drinking during the period can elevate your levels of cramps and PMS symptoms off the charts! Though it might seem fun getting drunk, you’ll definitely wake up feeling worse the next morning. Alcohol can cause your menstrual cramps to last longer, a condition known as dysmenorrhea.10 Alcohol may even deprive you of a good night’s rest by disrupting sleep in the second half of the night. Therefore, staying off the tipple and having fresh homemade vegetable or fruit juices is a smarter choice for few days.