What Food Helps With Period Cramps: 10 Best Foods

There are little to no permanent cure for period cramp, but if you want temporary relief, that’s where food comes in! Want to know what food helps with period cramps? Read on!

It is no surprise that food is our saviour, not only in everyday life but also when it feels like your uterus will explode from the pain.

Menstruation or periods is a natural biological process in which blood and tissue from your uterus come out of your vagina. This happens once a month and is one of the most common signs of puberty in girls.1

The ovaries release the egg once a month during the ovulation period and are ready for fertilization. If it becomes fertilized by a sperm, then it leads to pregnancy. However, if the egg remains unfertilized, the lining breaks down, and the blood comes out of the body through periods.

The onset of periods in girls is nature’s way of preparing girls for pregnancy. Now you must question the hows, whens, and whys, but I am not here today to talk about that. I will simply help you to make your situation better by telling you what food helps with period cramps.

What are Menstrual Cramps?

Menstrual cramps are cramping pains in the lower abdomen just before and during your periods.

During your periods, the muscles of your womb contract and relax to help shed the built uterine lining. When you experience pain, it means your muscles are at work. But yes, food can help, read on to know what food helps with period cramps.

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) facts and symptoms

Premenstrual syndrome refers to mood, behaviour, emotions, and physical health changes. It has a wide variety of signs and symptoms, it is estimated that every 3 women out of 4 women experience PMS.

However, some women do not even know when they are experiencing the symptoms of PMS.

Premenstrual symptoms2 include acne, depression, headache, mood swings, anxiety, sore breasts, muscle cramps, constipation, bloating water retention, diarrhea, pain in the back, lower abdomen, and joints, excessive hunger, lack of concentration, weight gain, and many more.

For every woman, the symptoms vary from each other. They might be unnoticeable sometimes, however, you don’t have to worry about them and do not let them control your life. The simple changes in your lifestyle will help you to deal with your PMS.

The exact cause of PMS is not clear yet. However, there are some reasons which are believed to be the cause for it, Some of the causes of premenstrual syndrome 3are discussed below:

what food helps with period cramps
By: Kitzcorner on Shutterstock

1. Decline in Hormone Levels:

We do know that levels of estrogen and progesterone4 drop during the time of your month. According to many doctors, this decline in hormone levels may trigger the symptoms of PMS.

2. Chemical Changes in the Brain:

The neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine5 have several impacts on your brain and your body. They also have important functions, such as regulating mood, emotions, and behaviour. Any change in these transmitters might also trigger PMS.

3. Life Style Factors:

Certain lifestyle habits may also lead to PMS, these lifestyle habits include excessive drinking, lack of sleep, smoking, lack of physical activity, not eating a balanced diet, and many more. Changes in these habits might help you to improve symptoms of PMS.

4. Depression

As you must know, food makes us happier, and hence can help with periods, but what food helps with period cramps? Whatever you love and whatever suits you!

Living with a mental disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder can also lead to PMS. PMS symptoms might start anytime after your ovulation period and last up to 5 days or until your menstruation.

If you cannot control your pmsing, it’s time to see a doctor, there are many diseases associated with it. Please see a doctor as soon as possible and at the right time, so you don’t have to regret anything.

What Food Helps with Period Cramps?

Foods to Eat and Avoid During Periods | GIRL-O-LOGY

There is nothing much you can do if you experience little pain in your lower body during your menstrual cycle. It is a common and normal part of your menstrual cycle. However, for some people, the pain is just unbearable.

Some women might experience other symptoms such as weakness, dizziness, muscle and body pain, headache, and nausea.

In cases like these, it becomes necessary for women to take a healthy diet to make their menstrual cramps a little bearable. Below are the foods that help reduce menstrual pain during your cycle.

1. Water

You must be wondering why we have listed water when answering what food helps with period cramps.

Water! Water! Water! Yes, I know it’s not a ‘food‘ but it’s important. How often has your mom told you to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily? Did you listen to her? If yes, it is great for you.

If you didn’t, it is time for you to listen to her and start drinking 10-12 glasses of water every day. It becomes even more important to drink water during your menstrual cycle.

It has many benefits, the most important thing is that you will stay hydrated for the whole day and reduce dehydration headaches. Drinking lots of water will reduce bloating too.

2. Leafy Green Vegetables

Nothing is healthier than leafy green vegetables to eat during your menstrual cycle. It is seen that many women experience a reduction in their iron levels which also causes body fatigue and body pain.

Eating iron-rich foods can help increase your blood levels which might reduce body and muscle pain. The iron reduction can increase if you have high menstrual flow, it also helps with muscle tension.

Leafy greens include kale, spinach, broccoli, collards, and many more.

3. Dark Chocolate

Does Dark Chocolate Help Relieve Period Pain? | MFine

What food helps with period cramps that are also tasty? Chocolates!

Many women crave chocolate during their periods. However, chocolate contains lots of sugar. In cases like these, we have dark chocolate for rescue. Eating dark chocolates during your periods might help you with your mood swings.

It is also rich in iron and magnesium. A study found that women with magnesium deficiencies are more likely to have PMS symptoms.

4. Peppermint Tea

Replace your caffeine intake with a much healthier option, peppermint tea. It was discovered in research that peppermint tea could reduce PMS symptoms and can reduce menstrual pain and nausea.

5. Ginger Tea

Ginger tea for menstrual cramps

It has been proved that a cup of ginger tea helps improve severe PMS symptoms. It contains inflammatory effects, which are useful in soothing period cramps. Moreover, it can also help you with bloating issues and nausea.

There are many benefits of this but have side effects too. It can increase your metabolism and will help you with weight loss. However, consuming too much ginger can lead to heartburn and stomachaches.

6. Nuts

What food helps with period cramps that are also good for your brain?

If you like eating nuts during your periods, you might try eating almond-based cookies or maybe add these nuts to your smoothies as these are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. They are also a great source of magnesium and vitamins.

7. Yogurt

What food helps with period cramps that are also fresh and provide energy?

Many women complain about the yeast infections they get during or before their periods. In this case, yogurt can prove to be helpful.

Foods rich in probiotics such as yogurt can nourish the good bacteria in your vagina and help you to fight infections. Moreover, it is also rich in magnesium and other important nutrients.

8. Tofu

What food helps with period cramps that are also easily available and inexpensive? Tofu!

Tofu is one of the best sources of protein, and you should include it in your diet, especially during your periods. The best part of tofu is that it is vegan, so vegan people can consume it.

9. Fruits

What food helps with period cramps that are also good for the skin? Because we know you hate pimples which break out during periods.

Water-rich fruits such as cucumbers and watermelons will ensure you stay hydrated all day. Sugary foods such as bananas, mangoes, cherries, oranges, and grapes might be helpful to curb your sugar craving without actually eating unhealthy and lots of unrefined sugars.

10. Lemon juice

Can we drink lemon water during periods?

What food helps with period cramps that also aid in weight loss and minimize bloating?

Lemon juice is rich in vitamin C, which will help boost iron absorption. Moreover, it is also rich in fibre, which can be considered the best food for preventing muscle spasms.

Other foods that you can include in your diet are eggs, salmon, fish, chicken, turmeric, flax seeds, foods that are rich in iron levels, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Foods to Avoid During Periods

7  Food to Avoid During Periods

Certain foods can cause a lot more discomfort in your menstrual cycle. So, it is better to avoid these foods, especially in your cycle.

1. Too Much Sugar

It is okay to consume sugar healthily, but overeating sugar during your periods might worsen your mood. If you are experiencing mood swings, you must look at your sugar consumption once. Consuming less sugar will help you with your mood swings.

2. Red Meat

Red meat is highly rich in prostaglandins. During your periods, your body produces enough prostaglandins to help your uterus contract and thus result in menstrual flow.

However, a high level of prostaglandins might result in unbearable cramps. So, it is better to avoid red meat during your periods.

3. Spicy Foods

Most women crave spicy foods during their periods; however, it is advisable to avoid them for your health. Most people can’t even tolerate spicy food, which might upset their stomachs.

You wouldn’t be willing to take this risk on your periods, would you? So, to be on the better side, avoid spicy foods.

4. Excessive Salt

It is healthy to consume salt healthily as it is necessary for your iodine intake. However, consuming lots of salts, especially during periods, can lead to water retention, which causes bloating.

Feeling bloated may also lead to unbearable period pain. For this, reduce the amount of salt in your food and avoid highly processed food that contains a lot of sodium.

5. Milk and Other Dairy Products

Milk and other dairy products are very important for your body. However, including these in your diet while on your period might not give you the desired result.

The saturated fat in dairy products might increase inflammation, which might intensify your period cramps. It is necessary to consume dairy products and milk in a healthy dose so that there is no calcium deficiency in your body.

6. Processed Foods

Everyone loves to eat processed food. However, the best thing is to avoid them when you are on your period.

Processed foods and other items are made with lots of chemicals and preservatives, which might increase water retention and make you feel bloated. Moreover, a high amount of sodium in your diet is always bad for your health, but it is worse when you are on your periods.

Other foods you should avoid are alcohol, caffeine, soy products, refined grains, high-fat food, and many more.

Other Remedies to Ease Menstrual Cramps

How To Get Instant Relief From Menstrual Cramps And Mood Swings | Home Remedies with Upasana

The best way to ease cramps is to use heating pads. Keep anything warm on your belly, like a heating pad, warm cloth, or hot water bottle.

The next thing you can do is massage your muscles around your belly and abdomen area with essential oils. However, it is suggested that you should always dilute your essential oil with carrier oil.

Be active during your periods. Many women do not even like to get up on their periods. However, certain yoga poses will help you to reduce the pain intensity.

Also, an orgasm can help with easing period pain, this is because your vaginal orgasms involve all of your body, including your spinal cord. The spinal cord signals the release of neurotransmitters, and your vaginal orgasm can trigger your brain to release neurotransmitters such as endorphins and oxytocin.

Endorphins that are released during your orgasms can reduce pain, if it is still unbearable, you can take a pain relief medicine after consulting a doctor. If home remedies do not work out for you, it’s time for you to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do periods are so painful?

This discomfort is triggered by hormones called prostaglandins, which are produced in the uterine lining. Prostaglandins stimulate the muscles in the uterus and blood vessels to contract, which causes pain.

2. How can I reduce period pain?

Applying heating pads or bathing in hot water are also effective ways to relieve period pain, but heating patches offer a discreet, on-the-go option as you can carry them to school, office, college, or wherever you go.

3. What does period pain feel like?

Period pain is different than simple abdominal pain, as it feels like constant stabbing in the lower abdomen and back, along with discomfort in the vagina.

Closing Thoughts

Summing up, your body needs a healthy diet when you are on your period. The best way to survive period pain is to opt for light but nutrient-rich foods.

Avoid skipping meals, as feeling hungry or fasting will only worsen your mood swings and menstrual pain. Take a warm bath and keep your body active. Also, don’t forget to take a rest and peaceful sleep of 7 hours.

I hope you can bear your periods every month with these simple tips!

  1. Wheeler, Maker D. “Physical changes of puberty.” Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America 20.1 (1991): 1-14. ↩︎
  2. Ruble, Diane N. “Premenstrual symptoms: A reinterpretation.” Science 197.4300 (1977): 291-292. ↩︎
  3. Ruble, Diane N. “Premenstrual symptoms: A reinterpretation.” Science 197.4300 (1977): 291-292. ↩︎
  4. DeMAYO, FRANCESCO J., et al. “Mechanisms of action of estrogen and progesterone.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 955.1 (2002): 48-59. ↩︎
  5. Bunney, William E., and John M. Davis. “Norepinephrine in depressive reactions: A review.” Archives of General Psychiatry 13.6 (1965): 483-494. ↩︎

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