Don’t you love it when your best friend or partner gets you gifts? Don’t you love it more when it’s your favorite snack? And man oh man! Don’t you want to just hug them a lot tighter when you are on your period? Trust me I know how it feels because we have all been there!
The craving, the yearning to just indulge in a slice of cheesecake, takes away the worry about my cramps; at least for some time. So, what is it that makes our hearts melt and put our minds at ease when we have certain types of food? What should you eat and what should you not eat during your periods? What are the best period comfort foods you can try? Grab some munchies and your notepad, because you are gonna learn a lot today!
Best Period Comfort Foods To Eat!
In all these years of bearing the pain and discomfort of periods, we all know that it’s no walk in the park and that it’s nothing like what they show in those easy-going sanitary pads, tampons, or menstrual cup ads. For some, it is excruciating pain; like needles throbbing from the insides, and if not the pain, it’s the uncontrollable rush of emotions and mood swings caused by the hormonal changes inside the body.
Periods are physically and emotionally exhausting and draining. It’s that time of the month when you need to give extra attention to your body and mind. You eat what you become and so, you must be careful about what you eat during this time. To understand all these better, let’s get into the deets.
What Are Period Cramps?
Period cramps(1) are caused by the throbbing or cramping of the uterus before or during periods. The contraction of the uterus muscles can help it shed the lining faster. Sometimes, a high number of contractions pushes the blood vessels, which briefly cuts the flow of oxygen in the uterus. This lack of oxygen may cause pain in the lower belly. For some, this can be just a slight discomfort while for some, it can be a nightmare. PCOD-diagnosed women might experience extreme period cramps.
The type of care required to ease the pain can vary from person to person. Hot water bags, hydration, kegel exercises, best period comfort foods, and whatnot! Period pain is real and unless you have experienced it, you are no one to judge it merely. But what you should also understand is that this might not be the only reason for cramps. If your pain persists for more than 3 days continuously, you must consult a doctor as this could indicate something severe and risky.
Some of the reasons for your cramps could be :
- Uterine fibroids
- The lining of the uterus grows outside rather than inside. This condition is called Endometriosis.
- The lining grows into an adjacent muscle
- Lack of estrogen
- Bacterial infections
Hormones are responsible for everything periods related! And yes, the craving for a spicy taco or a sweet piece of cake is all due to this culprit. The changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone can make us crave carbs and sugar. During periods, the body activity is high and this can drain us of all the happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin. So, eating sweet and starchy foods can actually put us in a better mood(2).
Hence period cravings are completely normal and can happen to everybody. The only way to satisfy it is by indulging in it. So, now let’s get into the fun part. Let’s talk about the best period comfort foods! Yay!
Best Period Comfort Foods – Must Try For Happy Periods
1. Low Fat Yogurt
Yogurt is at the top of the list of the best period comfort foods. It enhances the nourishment of good bacteria in your vagina and aids to fight infections like yeast infection. Women tend to experience yeast infection pre or post-period and yogurt helps in reducing such infection.
2. Dark Chocolate
I know, I know. Not everyone is a fan of dark chocolate. But if you are a lover of 65% and more cocoa, you are saved because eating a small amount of highly concentrated cocoa may help you relieve the pain of cramps. This is because this chocolate has everything in it to put you in a better mood. It is just one of the best period comfort foods!
Have it as you like it. Eggs in any form, shape, or size are best for your body anytime but especially during periods. It’s high in proteins and has vitamins as well. Trust me, eggs can put on some good fight with PMS.
4. Kale and Spinach Juices
Eat your green lovelies because leafy vegetables contain iron which can help replenish the lost blood. Put it in your salads, your smoothies, or juices. Doesn’t matter how you take it, just make sure you include greens in your foods.
The potassium, magnesium, and calcium in bananas can help relax the muscles and can reduce the intensity of cramps. So, just have a banana in your bag at all times, make it your quick snack and have it on the go. One of the best period comfort foods to eat!
Oily fatty food cravings can be mellowed down by having fries. This can bring down stress, because who doesn’t love these small strips of quick happiness?
7. Fatty Fishes
Make fatty fish your besties during this time of the month because they are rich in omega-3. They are best for weight loss and help reduce pain.
If you are a tea person, then you are halfway there. Soothing, stress-releasing teas like chamomile and blue pea teas can deal with a lot of discomforts caused during periods. Chamomile is very effective in calming your nerves as well as your uterus.
Hey you coffee person, don’t frown because I got you too. A cup of hot black coffee is also a stress reliever. If coffee makes everything right for you, there is nothing stopping you, go on and grab one – have it cold, have it hot, have it however you like it. But have control over the amount of your intake because, for some people, it can go wrong.
10. Pumpkin seeds
A bowl of pumpkin soup with some toasted crunchy pumpkin seeds can elevate your mood obviously because of the nutrients present in it. They wake up the happy hormones and can take you on a joy ride. It works, do try it!
Water is the holy elixir. Sip on water throughout the day, hydrate, and keep on hydrating; more than how much you do on your non-period days because whatever else you do is going to be in vain if you do not hydrate yourself.
What Not To Eat During Periods?
Alcohol is bad any time, day, or month of the year. Have you noticed your blood turning brownish to black the day after a party where you had a lot of alcohol? That is your body’s cry for help. That brown blood is telling you to stop taking alcohol because it’s just not good for your body, especially during periods. Just think of a hangover combined with PMS before you take a shot. Now put down that glass and sip on lemonade.
Avoid/limit the consumption of spicy foods as these can cause diarrhea and severe cramps. Spicy foods can also mess up your gut health which can also lead to abdominal pain.
Red meat contains iron. But it also contains prostaglandin compound which helps in contraction and gets rid of the uterus lining. That’s a good thing. But the body produces prostaglandin on its own and additional intake can cause high contraction leading to severe cramps.
Eat everything in moderation. Having too much sugar or salt can lead to bloating, water retention, and headaches. Have sodium-rich foods, don’t try to make them up with salt.
Go-To Cramp Remedies
Not a vigorous one but a good amount of exercise will ease your period cramps. Doing Yoga can elevate your mood and relaxes your body with good stretches.
A must tool for a woman to own is a hot compress. Hot water bags or microwaveable hot compresses will relax stubborn menstrual cramps and back pain.
Gentle massage over the tummy will definitely be a relaxer. Proper massages can soothe the pain that came with endometriosis.
Lastly, if nothing works out then OTC meds or Ibuprofen definitely acts on your menstrual pain.
It’s tough to go through period days without holding onto above-mentioned remedies and consuming the best period comfort foods hence ensure that these are handy at your home.
You Are What You Eat
Don’t you agree? The food you eat can affect you physically and emotionally because why else does an ice cream or a popsicle make you smile, make you feel elated? The food that can feel like a hug to you may not be the one I like. Our preferences about food and our connection to certain types of cuisines can be different. The hormonal changes during periods can stir up all of our emotions and some types of foods can really make you feel lighter. It is important that you listen to your body and give it what it needs during this time of the month.
Give in to the cravings, and quench the thirst because when everything else seems unsolvable, food can give you happiness. You can try out different tastes according to your mood, some of your friends find spicy food makes them happier or some might dig into a bowl of ice cream to relax their stressed nerves or some might prefer homely food made by their mom.
Anyhow the ultimate goal is to make yourself feel better during these awful days. Comfort foods during periods differ from person to person and it’s a trial and error method every time. Maybe the best period comfort foods that fits you well this time might not be effective for your next period. Hence, pamper your inner child with your choice of favorites just like when a crying kid smiles licking a lollipop.