How To Eat Your Way Through A Happier Period (Plantbased)!
Menstrual cycles are such a good thing because your body is functioning well doing its thing, and yaayy you're not pregnant (unless you're planning for it). Yet, it isn't such a good thing for a bit- thanks menstrual cramps, pain and bloating and all that jazz...
I'm sure many of you go through either the same things as I do or different things. Buuuut... what I've learned over time is that eating certain types of foods during your menstrual cycle definitely helps you feel a lot better.
For me, usually a week before, I start to feel bloated, my breasts get sore sometimes and I have a trouble spot or two on my face. I tend to get moody in different ways too, and feel agitated easily. And during my cycle, the first couple hours or day is usually spent in bed ridden in incredible lower back, lower abdominal pain, a weird feeling leg and an upset stomach. I believe it's called dysmenorrhea.
What happens during this phase is that as estrogen levels increase in your body, you tend to retain water, feel sluggish, tired and moody- which is totally normal, although unpleasant. You're also dealing with inflammation, hence the uneasiness and pain.
What you need to do during this phase is to up your iron levels and vitamin C!!
Low levels of iron, especially during our period (due to loss of blood) can cause a lack in energy levels and we can easily feel fatigued.
Eating iron rich foods will help make up for the blood loss and restore vital energy, reduce the moodiness you may feel and can even help get in better sleeps.
I also use a plantbased supplement brand called NOW for Iron especially during my cycle (be cautious, as higher than required levels of iron can do the opposite of benefit you). This has vitamin C (helps absorb iron better) and some B12 too,
In addition to that, I make sure to eat foods that reduce inflammation, and foods with water content, but also more warming and cooked foods as they will help a lot better during the menstrual phase in terms of reducing pains and cramps.
Other possible nutrients you could need more of:
Magnesium is another important mineral to add to our daily diet to help with
a many health functions. Especially during your period if you don't already, having magnesium rich foods and supplements can help lower anxiety, potential moodiness, and increase energy levels. I also use Natural Calm brand of Magnesium powder from time to time.
B12 and B vitamins:
When you're plantbased or vegetarian, it's really important to keep your B12 levels up. To get your daily intake, use products fortified with B12 like fortified soy milk, almond milk, cereals and tofu. For your menstrual cycle, B6 rich foods also help reduce skin inflammation, cramps and excess oil production as well as acne. I use Pranin Organic A-Z multivitamin supplement powder that includes 45% of daily required amount of B12.
While I don't eat AAALLL of the period friendly foods, I try to mix it up and try to incorporate quite a lot of them into delicious meals and snacks to feel better.
So here's what you should mainly be eating during your cycle:
Dark leafy greens & Veggies
Please use the right and left arrows to see a variety of foods, where appropriate.
Fruits contain a great amount of vitamins, minerals and are a healthy source of sugar to beat your sugar cravings during your menstrual cycle. So why not have something sweet that will make you feel better too?
Other citrus fruits, berries, mango and papaya are also helpful during your menstrual cycle. My favourite fruits during my menstrual cycle are pineapple, banana, citrus fruits (especially to increase my iron absorption when I take my iron supplements).
Herbs and spices
I usually mix turmeric and cinnamon with almond milk, maple syrup once or twice during my menstrual cycle.
Nuts and seeds
Beans and legumes
Whole grains and carbs
These sources of caffeine can help give you that extra kick of energy that you may lack due to hormonal changes and the stress on your body, however stick to just a cup of coffee per day at most and rely more heavily on whole foods to help alleviate your menstrual pains and cramps.
During your menstrual cycle or around your body will be inflamed, tend to retain more fluids so avoiding salty foods will help you in addition to drinking lots of water. Avoiding unhealthy or even refined carb heavy foods will keep you feeling your best. Also, refraining high sugar foods (not that you need to have them often otherwise anyway) will keep your blood sugar and energy levels stable.
But all in all, what may work for me may not work for you.
Every woman's body is different but sticking to eating as much fresh produce, herbs, spices, nuts, grains and seeds definitely help you over giving into excessive junk and processed foods give you little to no benefits.
Although, if there's that ONE thing that you go to for comfort, eat responsibly and enjoy yourself <3
PS- Would you like to see more period friendly recipes in another blog post? Would you also want to know what I do to help reduce and relieve my menstrual cramps (exercises and other things) in another post? Let me know in the comments, badass babes! <3