How to Stay Healthy During Menstruation Cycle – Foods that You Should Eat and Avoid Ummm… a big box of Hershey’s kisses waiting to be devoured by me. We (me and the box) looked at each other. I was about to relish the third one. But, suddenly, a villain entered and stopped me from doing this. Why, why on the earth would someone stop me from doing this? It’s ‘that time of the month’ and I should eat what I like to stop being crabby! However, that villain aka my elder sister had better reasons not to eat chocolates. She even had pieces of advice to subside irritation during periods. For instance, she asked me to have enough calcium during my chums. Instead of dairy products, I should give prominence to non-dairy calcium like broccoli and almonds. Interesting, isn’t it? This post is dedicated to all those women who do not know what to eat, what not to eat and how eating influences menstruation cycle and the moods during that time. What to Eat During Menstruation Popcorn Wow! Popcorn!! Corns, when eaten whole, are quite beneficial during the menstrual cycle. And popcorns are whole cereal. Consuming popcorn releases serotonin that helps improve the mood that goes for a toss during periods. However, here is a caution though. Do not opt for salted popcorn or those that are high in salt. This is because it might result in bloating. Pop the corn at home and voila! Your happy meal is ready. Seeds Yep, very much. Both pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are interesting, delicious and healthy. One of my friends is not able to control her emotions during this particular period. And while she blames her inherent nature for this, it is actually a nutritional deficiency. Hence, seeds are a big savior. If you are one of those who gets anxious and antsy during periods, including omega-3 rich foods in your diet can go a long way. Chia seeds are a good option. On the other hand, pumpkin seeds are beneficial as well. They are loaded with magnesium and boosts up the mood in a jiffy. Plus, they are good to keep water retention at bay. Going by the experts’ say in this, pumpkin seeds also relieve the menstrual headaches. Whole Wheat Bread I feel perpetually hungry at the time of menstruation. In fact, I crave for unhealthy foods during this time. All this time, I did not know who to blame. But science helped me a lot in this. You know what, serotonin – a hormone, needs to be blamed for this. This hormone is responsible for boosting your mood and when the levels dip, you gobble up a big packet of potato wafers or anything you feel like. So, what is the solution? Have foods that are rich in carbohydrates as such foods are brimming with serotonin. You can relish whole wheat grains (rich in complex carbohydrates, Vitamin B, Vitamin E, magnesium, etc.) without any guilt and even stay stress-free. Saffron Have milk infused with saffron during this time to ease the blues. Once again, saffron raises the levels of serotonin and makes you feel good at the time of menstruation. You just need 2-3 strands of saffron to become happy. There are tons of recipes that can be prepared using saffron or include in the comfort food that you eat. This doesn’t require much hard work, does it? Chocolate What?! Chocolate? I just asked you not to eat chocolate at the prologue of the post and now, I ask you to eat it… Nope. There are a whole variety of chocolates available. However, I ask you to eat dark chocolates. They are quite good for those who feel down during the menstrual period. As opposed to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher amount of chocolate. They are also low in sugar. Consuming a piece or two won’t harm. In fact, it will pep up your mood instantly. Dark chocolates are brimming with antioxidants – good for your skin and they are also rich in magnesium – good to boost your mood. What more! They up the levels of serotonin and make you happy. It will not increase your weight drastically and also satiate your cravings. Beans Yes, baby, I am talking about beans. I have bean, oops, been talking about the benefits of magnesium and its benefits during menstruation. Beans, again, are rich in magnesium. Plus, they make you happy as they are rich in serotonin and they also prevent water retention that generally takes place during periods. If you are like me who loads on an antioxidant-rich diet, then beans are a must for you. If you are still not convinced to eat beans, you should know that they are high in fiber (keeps your weight in check), iron (gives you strength), zinc (good for hair) and potassium as well. They are quite versatile food and can be added to so many recipes. Yogurt Yogurt fan, are you? I am one. Yogurt is quite delicious, healthy and filling as well. Combine it with fresh salads, sprouts or even rice or bread and a meal is ready to be devoured. If cooking is therapeutic for you, then churn out some delicious recipes using yogurt during periods. This calcium and protein-rich food help alleviate symptoms of PMS and also assists in relaxing your muscle. A probiotic food, yogurt is good for digestion as well. Melon Periods not only make you cranky but they even make you feel bloated. In fact, sometimes, that favourite frock of mine made me look odd in it during menstruation. Funny it seemed to me. Wearing good clothes make me happy during this time but it is opposite at such occasions. Initially, I thought that periods made me gain weight but a chat with my dietitian friend made me realize something. The truth was that female body retain sodium i.e. salt and fluids i.e. water prior to menstruation cycle. Hence, it is essential that you consume foods that help reduce bloating before periods. And melon is such fruit. It helps flush out the excess amount of fluids from the body. Bananas Haha! How interesting it is!! While periods make you go bananas, you need to have bananas to subside that. My fellow friend, troubled by menstruation, just like me – Have bananas all your life. They are very essential for females, especially during the cycle. Bananas are rich in potassium. They are one of those foods that are good for the mood. Consuming bananas on a daily basis help to regulate bowel movements. Many women face the problem of irregular bowel movements during periods and bananas help alleviate this condition. Green Leafy Veggies There are so many reasons to gorge on these green colored leafy vegetables. However, do not ignore them at least during your periods, lady. With so many varieties available, you cannot go out of options. If you do not like spinach, have collard greens or swiss chard. Basically, greens are loaded with iron and it is required by your body as you lose blood during menstruation. If you are not fond of leafy greens, puree them and hide their benefits in bread or dressings or sauces. Interesting; isn’t it! What Foods to Avoid During Menstruation Caffeine While I write here to avoid caffeine, relishing coffee makes me feel good during periods. There is a scientific reason to skip caffeine during the menstrual cycle. While caffeine makes you feel good temporarily, it is actually the culprit that causes intense cramps later on. Menstruation makes you lose blood and also iron along with it. However, caffeine constricts the blood vessels and causes cramps eventually. You need to avoid tea and coffee and all things that contain caffeine like soda, some chocolates and cakes and even nutria-bars that contain caffeine as well. There are many options to pep up your mood instead of coffee. I would suggest you have dark chocolates…yummy, it sounds. Sodium If you are not familiar with this, then you should know that Sodium is salt and all things salty. In the list of foods to eat, I have been advising to steer clear of all things salty. This is because salt makes you feel bloated during the menstrual cycle. Drinking more amount of water is must during periods to subside bloated belly – one of the symptoms. The reason being salt retains water in the body and you feel fat prior to periods. Team up non-avoidable salty foods with water to balance it. Dairy Calcium is unobjectionably good during periods. But, it is suggested that calcium from dairy should be avoided during periods. Calcium helps treat cramps at the time of the menstrual cycle. But it is required that you opt for non-dairy calcium. Dairy might lead to intense cramps in some cases. Stock up on non-dairy calcium before periods as in almonds and other nuts, chia seeds, greens, etc. Sugar If you are like me, a huge piece of cake would be enough to pep you up during periods. However, the culprit here is sugar. Bakery products, ice-creams, cakes, pastries, coffee, soda have an extreme amount of sugar. This is actually not good for your health during periods. Such foods dip the levels of serotonin in your body and spoil your mood all the more instead of making you feel good. The happy feeling you get is temporary. Sugary foods give you energy only for short periods and in the longer run, they actually drain you out. The crux is – No Sugar during periods. Alcohol A pint of beer is not the solution for everything and not at least, period annoyance. There are so many reasons that you should avoid alcohol during the menstrual cycle. Alcohol makes you feel bloated and it even leads to water retention. You need to stay hydrated during periods and alcohol is the reason for your dehydrated body. Even if you are invited to a party and drinks are unavoidable, you should make sure that water accompanies every glass of drink (which should not exceed two). Conclusion Periods! The most dreaded period. However, as they are inevitable, you should accept the phase and move on. Do not place them on a pedestal. Instead of adjusting your calendar based on periods, let them come and go, without any trouble. You might be wondering how come some women are happy all the time – whether they menstruate or not? However, the reason of their good mood all month long is not the absence or presence of periods. The reason is that they eat good food, exercise and laugh more. A nip here and a tuck there in your lifestyle is enough to have happy periods. Period. Periods are usually no fun – mood swings, low energy and cramps are just a few of the annoying symptoms. One of the worst symptoms is the cravings, and these usually aren’t the healthy salad and veg type! Before you reach for (and devour) that whole mud cake, find out what the best foods to eat on your menstrual cycle are.