During or just before your period, you may feel uncomfortable in your clothes and experience temporary weight gain. This is linked to hormonal changes that happen during your menstrual cycle. Your hormones are likely responsible for water retention, cravings, and mood swings in your period.
It is a common misconception that during your period, your body requires a higher number of daily calories. Unfortunately, your menstruation does not influence your calorie requirement, and your body doesn’t need more energy than usual. Yet, your nutrition can help you alleviate your PMS and menstrual symptoms and regulate your body during this time of the month.
To fight water retention, don’t forget to drink at least 2 liters of fluids per day and be aware of reducing your salt amount. Also, you can drink nettle tea and eat fruits and vegetables rich in potassium, such as bananas, apricots, kiwi, spinach, chard, (jacket) potatoes, and mushrooms. Potassium-rich food helps you drop excess water.
The following recommendations may be helpful if you are experiencing mood swings or are often in a bad mood during your period. Take regular meals containing carbohydrates (every 4-5 hours) to stabilize your blood sugar level and thus counteract the release of stress hormones. When eating carbs, prefer whole grain instead of wheat products, as slow-release carbs in whole-grain flour or oats ensure balanced blood levels. This is also helpful in avoiding cravings. Additionally, eat a handful of nuts per day. Nuts, especially cashews, are rich in tryptophan, which enables the production of serotonin, a hormone that induces happiness.
Omega-3-rich foods can help you alleviate your period cramps. This is because they contain omega-3 fatty acids that can inhibit the production of certain tissue hormones (prostaglandins), which control the rhythmic contraction of the uterus during the first days of the period, triggering the pain.
Thus, make sure to use omega-3-rich vegetable oils, such as canola oil, linseed oil, and hemp oil, and include flax seeds, chia seeds, or hemp seeds in your diet. Additionally, eat a few walnuts daily (rich in omega-3 fatty acids) and 2 servings of fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel) per week.
On the other hand, caffeine can increase abdominal cramps during menstruation. So, only drink a maximum of 2-3 cups of caffeinated beverages (coffee, cola, black tea) daily.
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