“That time of the month” can come with many questions, like what to eat (and avoid) during your period, how to reduce bloating, and what to do about creeping cravings.
Here are some tips on how to feel your best during a time many usually don’t.
Why Does Bloating Happen
Bloating is a prevalent symptom of early menstruation. But why exactly does this happen?
When early menstruation symptoms arise, it is usually during the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle when the hormones estrogen and progesterone shift. During this phase of your cycle, the lining of your uterus gets thicker, which is another reason why bloating might occur. Of course, other things can come into play, like your genetics and overall diet.
Now that you know why bloating happens let’s get to the good stuff and break down the best foods to beat bloating and stay ahead of the game!
Best Foods to Beat Bloating
1. Unprocessed foods - Before and during your menstrual cycle, you might find yourself craving processed foods—“hello, Taco Bell”—but processed foods typically come with an abundance of sodium which causes your body to hold onto more water. Stick to whole foods more often than not to give your body a better chance of kicking that bloat to the curb.
Our suggestion: Have a backup plan! Think of ways to satisfy cravings at home with healthier ingredients. Fresh home-baked quesadillas? Delicious shrimp tacos? These little tweaks can go a long way in silencing the craving monster.
2. Foods high in potassium - Potassium to the rescue! A high-potassium diet may help decrease water retention in your body. Lower water retention helps reduce bloating.
Our suggestion: Incorporate potassium-rich foods like bananas, leafy greens, avocados, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, and lentils.
3. Probiotic foods - Probiotics are the “good” bacteria in your gut that help with digestive health and regularity. They also aid gastrointestinal symptoms like bloating.
Our suggestion: Add yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, and pickles to your routine to bump up your natural intake of probiotics. You could also speak with a doctor about adding a probiotic supplement to your day.
4. Ginger and turmeric - Ginger and curcumin—the part of turmeric that gives it a yellow color—may help soothe digestive upset, decrease inflammation, and increase gut health.
Our suggestion: Sip ginger or turmeric tea or add them to your cooking!
Best Mood-Boosting Foods During Your Period
Do period symptoms negatively affect your mood? The food you put in your body can significantly affect your mood. The good thing is, unlike most period symptoms, you have control over the food choices you make during this time!
Let’s chat about some foods that can help boost your mood and put you in the best position possible to feel your best during an already rough time!
1. Foods high in calcium - Women who eat a diet high in calcium may show a decrease in PMS symptoms and an increase in mood.
Pro-tip: Say yes to that bowl of greek yogurt in the morning to bump up your calcium game. Add in more dark leafy greens to your day, or some cottage cheese to a yummy protein shake, not only extra calcium but a kick of protein too!
2. Foods high in magnesium - Magnesium may help lift your mood and fight water retention (bloating). Magnesium also helps regulate serotonin, one of the feel-good chemicals in your brain. Make sure to consume foods high in magnesium daily to fight those pesky PMS symptoms.
Pro-tip: Some foods high in magnesium include pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, edamame, and black beans.
3. Foods high in Vitamin B6 - Vitamin B6 has been shown to help reduce irritability and breast tenderness. Win-win!
Pro-Tip: High Vitamin B6 foods include wild salmon, broccoli, eggs, and peanut butter.
4. Foods high in Vitamin D - Vitamin D is right up there with mood-boosting and PMS-crushing foods.
Pro-Tip: Foods high in Vitamin D include wild salmon, dairy products, tuna, and egg yolks.
Incorporating these foods during your day can make a big difference and help boost your mood! Not to mention, increase your ratio of high-quality, real foods!
Other Healthy Lifestyle Habits During Your Period
Lifestyle habits can play a significant role in your period symptoms. Let’s dive into three of these habits a little deeper.
Healthy sleep habits can help with getting sufficient restorative sleep. Because fatigue is a common occurrence during your period, stay on top of your sleep as you approach your period.
The sun is calling! You can get vitamin D from exposure to the sun’s rays. Vitamin D may also boost your mood and improve PMS symptoms. Spend more time outside (bonus if you get a little exercise while you’re out there).
Staying hydrated is always important! Here are a few tips to ensure you’re drinking enough. Beyond that, hydration can help with hunger cravings.
Nutrition is a crucial player as you navigate through your menstrual cycle. Next month, put some of these tips to the test. Explore how you can tweak your habits and behaviors to improve the way you feel.