Queasiness and stomach cramps often go hand in hand with menstruation, and while painkillers may temporarily provide relief there are natural ways you can ease discomfort. Susan Johns, clinical dietician and distributor of Lunette in New Zealand shares her top tips for managing period pain naturally.
Why whole grains?
Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that stimulate the brain in order to release serotonin, a hormone which makes you feel good. Ever notice that your body feels like it took a thrashing from the inside-out about a week before your period is due? Studies have shown that whole grains can reduce that tension and fight depression because they are loaded with vitamin E and magnesium.
Put it on your plate – almonds, spinach, quinoa, cashews
Your best spud
Vitamin A plays a huge role in saying goodbye to our PMS symptoms. An increase in Vitamin A will fight PMS symptoms, like acne and heavy bleeding, as well as problems that occur like fatigue when vitamin A levels plummet. One sweet potato provides 120% of our daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.
Put it on your plate – kumara, carrots, kale
The good kind of fat
Good fats make good hormones; bad fat makes bad hormones. Simple, right? Keep your saturated fat intake low and boost your intake of unsaturated fats, especially in the week leading up to your period. This’ll help keep your hormones happy.
Put it on your plate – avocado, coconut and olive oil, whole eggs, salmon
B vitamin deficiency, particularly B6, is known to play a role in increasing PMS symptoms such as forgetfulness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and moodiness. Add period pain to the mix and your day just got a whole lot worse.
Put it on your plate – fortified breakfast cereals, chickpeas, chicken, tuna, banana
Nuts about nuts
While your uterus is busy cramping your style, the muscle lining can get fatigued and develop a lactic acid build up, just like your legs after an intense session at the gym. Magnesium, found in high concentration in nuts, is key here to give relief to cramping pains.
Put it on your plate – nuts, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, spinach, fish
Upping your intake of zinc-rich foods a few days before you are due has been shown to have a positive effect on cramps, bloating and inflammation. Zinc needs vitamin B6 to be absorbed, so be sure to pair your zinc-filled foods with foods rich in B vitamin.
Put it on your plate – peas, asparagus, spinach, red meat, seafood.