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Women's Health

What you can eat during your period to help with pains

Thu 6th February, 2020

Reviewed by: Dr. Vamsee Thalluri

When the blood moon approaches cravings can creep in, emotions can surge, and the stomach cramps hurt like an absolute bitch.

A lot of women turn to the usual combo: painkillers and a hot water bottle. But there are actually a lot of benefits in making the right diet choices to help ease the cramps.

Fair warning: This isn’t going to be a list of things you’re likely gonna be craving, but it is a list of foods that might help take the edge off your cramps. Worth it.

Dark chocolate

Okay, this one is manageable if you’re a dark choccie lover. Rich in both magnesium and iron - it’s great for replenishing your natural stores of these vitamins which can dip during your period.

Studies have shown that magnesium reduces the severity of PMS symptoms. What’s more, people who have magnesium deficiencies are more likely to suffer severe PMS symptoms.

Leafy green vegetables

With reduced iron levels during your period, it’s important to up your intake of iron-rich foods. You can combat the usual symptoms of low iron like fatigue, bodily pain, aches, and dizziness, with a good dose of leafy greens.

Vegetables like spinach and kale boost your iron levels. Women with heavy flows are far more likely to have low iron levels during their period, so get some greens into ya!

Turmeric

Turmeric comes with anti-inflammatory benefits. Its main active ingredient is curcumin which has been found to reduce the severity of PMS symptoms by nearly 60 per cent, particularly those centred around your stomach such as bloating and cramping.

Peppermint tea

Peppermint tea has long been considered a soothing balm, but studies have also found that it can make your PMS symptoms more manageable.

Not only can it help ease cramps, but it can reduce the symptoms contributing to nausea and diarrhoea (aka period poo).

Ginger

The best natural anti-inflammatories mother nature provides. Try putting some fresh ginger in your tea to tell your tummy and cramps to calm the F down.

Fish

Fish has a lot going for it: iron, protein, and the all-important omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce the intensity of period pain.

Results from one study found that women who took fish oil were able to reduce the amount of ibuprofen they needed to combat period pain by increasing their intake of omega-3.

Drinking lots of water

Water. Your body can’t get enough of it! Drinking enough water can actually help prevent water retention and make you feel far less like a bloated whale.

Based on Australian Government recommendations, women should be aiming for around 2.1 litres per day. Just keep in mind that these figures are based on average weight in adult women and your needs could be different.

So how do you know if you’re drinking enough water? Health experts explain dizziness, dry mouth and headaches are some ways your body is telling you it needs more water. You should be going to the bathroom every three to four hours and the colour of your pee should be relatively pale.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it will help you get started. Begin by adding some of these into your diet and keep an eye on what your symptoms are like when the next wave of pain rolls around.