That time of the month has arrived again, and along with it comes the dreaded menstrual cramps and stomach pain. While cramps can range from dull aches to sharp intense pains, they affect up to 90% of menstruating women. The pain is caused by contractions in the uterus as it sheds its lining. Prostaglandins chemicals that trigger muscle contractions are often released in large amounts during your period, causing the uterus muscles to contract intensely.
Though menstrual cramps are very common, the pain can be debilitating and interfere with regular activities. While over-the-counter medications provide some relief, your diet can play a key role in easing period discomfort. Certain foods have amazing properties that can act as natural remedies and period comfort foods to alleviate cramping and stomach pain during your cycle. Let’s look at some of the best options:
Stay Hydrated with Water, Teas, and Juices
One of the top recommendations is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and unsweetened beverages. Dehydration causes cramps to intensify, so make sure you are getting enough fluids. This keeps your body from retaining water and prevents bloating. Herbal teas like chamomile, green tea, fennel, and peppermint can relax cramped muscles with their anti-inflammatory properties. Tart cherry juice is rich in antioxidants and may reduce pelvic pain. Coconut water replenishes electrolytes and minerals lost during your period.
Add Anti-Inflammatory Ginger
Ginger is great at combating inflammation that contributes to uterine cramping. Drink ginger tea, use ginger powder when cooking, or eat candied ginger to ease nausea and provide relief. Getting more ginger in your diet helps relax muscle contractions and headaches associated with periods. It also boosts circulation in the uterus to flush out clots and prostaglandins. Ginger is an excellent period comfort food.
Load Up on Magnesium-Rich Foods
Magnesium is a wonder mineral that helps regulate muscle functioning. It prevents muscle tension, relaxes uterine walls, and acts as a natural pain reliever. Load up on dark leafy greens, avocados, almonds, cashews, squash, and dark chocolate for a healthy dose of magnesium. This mineral is also important for regulating hormones and neurotransmitters that influence menstrual cramps. These magnesium-rich foods are ideal period comfort foods.
Eat More Vitamin B6 Sources
Studies show that women with sufficient vitamin B6 levels suffered less pain during periods. Vitamin B6 helps control blood sugar and estrogen levels which may impact cramping intensity. Eat foods like grass-fed beef, poultry, pistachios, tuna, baked potatoes, and bananas to increase vitamin B6 intake.
Try Tofu and Other Soy Foods
Soy contains isoflavones that help reduce prostaglandins hormone-like substances that trigger uterine cramping. Eating tofu, tempeh, and edamame increases estrogen in the body, providing a balancing effect to ease period discomforts. Soy also provides protein and omega-3s for better nutrition.
Include Anti-Inflammatory Omega-3 Foods
Omega-3 fatty acids have powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate menstrual cramps and pain. Foods rich in omega-3s include walnuts, salmon, tuna, olive oil, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. These provide other benefits like improved mood, hormone regulation, and heart health.
Eat Yogurt for Healthy Probiotics
The probiotics in yogurt help promote better gut health and combat inflammation contributing to menstrual cramps. Go for unsweetened Greek yogurt for higher protein content. The nutrients in yogurt like calcium, potassium, and B vitamins also assist in relieving period symptoms. Always choose plain, unflavored yogurts without added sugars.
Avoid Gas-Causing Foods
Foods known to cause bloating and gas will only intensify cramps during your period. Stay away from beans, lentils, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, soda, alcohol, and high sodium foods. Limit dairy if you have lactose intolerance. High fiber foods may also aggravate cramps for some women.
The key is paying attention to your body’s response and identifying problem foods that exacerbate cramps or stomach pain. Keeping a food diary may help determine your personal triggers. With some dietary tweaks and smart food choices, you can achieve significant relief during those challenging days. Follow these nourishing foods for a healthier, more comfortable period!