We all have our own cravings during our periods. Why? During the time leading up to our periods, and a short while after our monthly menstrual cycle, our bodies are naturally in a “breeding state.” This basically means our estrogen levels peak during its fertile time causing our bodies to desire a higher calorie consumption to help fertilize the ovulated egg. Along with cravings come those pesky and painful periods pains, (yes, the alliteration was completely necessary). Fortunately, there are ways to mix your cravings for delicious foods with your burning desire for pain alleviation and decreased bloating.
Forget about diamonds ladies because chocolate is a girl’s best friend. Dark chocolate is not only good for the heart and soul, it’s wonderful for mood swings as well. Research shows that the antioxidants in dark chocolate can help fight sugar cravings and send positive triggers to your overall mental state. What woman doesn’t love an excuse to indulge in some dark chocolate? Just the idea of it makes me happy!
Flaxseed has been considered to help alleviate cramping during the most painful time of the month. Evidence from research shows that flaxseed may aid in reducing your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes. For those of you nearing towards menopause, a study published in 2007 showed that women who consumed a few tablespoons of flaxseed twice a day saw a 57% decrease in their hot flash intensity. So tossing a couple tablespoons in your yogurt, smoothie, breakfast foods, or baked goods may have more benefits than previously anticipated.
Whole grain foods have a mild impact on your blood sugar levels and are high in fiber and protein content. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, replacing your carb sources with whole grains may help reduce menstrual pain. When you’re body isn’t reacting negatively to regular white breads or sweets, it’s basically more at homeostasis and in control.
Adjusting your diet in general to include more foods with zinc, calcium, and B vitamins may aid in reducing bloating and also alleviates cramps. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that calcium-rich foods such as fish, broccoli, tuna, almonds, soymilk, etc., may help reduce the severity of menstrual pain due to its benefits in muscle contraction.
Some things you should stay away from are alcohol, red meats, and caffeine. While caffeine may be a harder one to control, alcohol should definitely be avoided. Let’s stick to eating our feelings instead of drinking them. Red meats contain prostaglandins, which contributes to painful menstrual cramps and discomfort. For the time being, indulge in foods that will make you feel better versus attacking your pantry and fridge during a time when you feel like the Hulk.