Just about everything concerning the human body is connected to diets. The saying we are what we eat is not just your grandmother’s folk wisdom; it has very real applications to our lives. This is true for all facets of your bodies, including periods in women. There is increasingly more evidence that the state of a woman’s period depends on their diet.
Researchers believe a diet that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids is the key to eliminating or reducing bothersome PMS symptoms. An omega-3 rich diet includes a diet rich in fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon. It also incorporates foods like flax seeds and chia seeds which are non-fish sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids are able to quell some of the most obnoxious PMS symptoms, such as moodiness, irritability, anxiety, breast tenderness, sleep problems, cramping, and general aches and pains. It does this thanks to the important omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These particular omega-3s play a role in regulating sleep and managing mood by improving brain cell functionality. It is able to do this primarily due to its ability to boost the production of serotonin, the hormone responsible for regulating mood and reducing pain. Serotonin production is typically curbed during a woman’s premenstrual week thanks to plunging estrogen levels.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Although consuming omega-3 fatty acids during the week leading up to your period and your actual period is important, they should still be consumed with other essential nutrients. Make sure to eat plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D; each plays an important role in keeping the body healthy during the period.
Protein is important because it is a valuable source of iron and zinc, two minerals responsible for red blood cell production. A woman’s period causes significant blood loss, making red blood cell production important.
Some great protein sources are:
- Fortified bread
Calcium has been shown to play a role in achieving menstrual regularity and ovulation. A consistent cycle can be a real blessing when it comes to managing the symptoms of a period and its effect on your daily life.
Some great calcium sources are:
- Bell peppers
- Orange juice
- Whey Protein
Vitamin D functions as a potent anti-estrogenic and anti-progesteronic compound. A vitamin D deficiency can lead to an extended period and unforeseen menstrual cycle disorders. The important vitamin also plays a significant role in reducing uterine tumors from forming, making it pretty essential to having a healthy period.
Some great vitamin D sources are:
- Herring and sardines
- Cod liver oil
- Canned tuna
- Fortified foods
Foods to Avoid
Avoid eating animal fats, caffeine, and salt which can aggravate the symptoms of PMS. Caffeine can be especially problematic to consume during a woman’s period. They can reduce sleep quality, increase menstrual cramps, and cause irritability. Naturally, it is probably impossible to completely cut all of these foods out of your diet. Periods are synonymous with cravings after all. But you should do your best to reduce how much of them you are including in your diet. This means no binging on French fries and potato chips (even though this can be a challenge).
It is also important to eat a wide variety of different foods so that you have nutrient diversity in your diet. Don’t forget to prioritize fruits and vegetables as they tend to have large quantities of various vitamins and minerals that your body can make use of.