No matter how happy a person you might be, it’s rather hard to put on a cheerful smile and brace the day when you are on your period. While you try to keep your cool despite your hormones going all haywire, your favorite denim’s button pops open (courtesy, bloated tummy) and makes it impossible for you to stay calm! Worse still, the piercing spasms make you wriggle in pain and each time someone asks you if you’re fine, you feel like screaming at them saying that you are far from “fine”! Instead of reaching out for a pain killer, every hour, reach out for foods that can give you a much-needed respite from the excruciating cramps. Here are the top five natural foods that can help alleviate period pains.
1. Pineapple –While it’s natural to experience major sugar cravings during your period, rather than indulging in candies and cakes, opt for a bowl of fruit salad and make sure it contains pineapple! Pineapples contain high amounts of the enzyme bromelain that aids muscle relaxation and thus reduces the incidence of period cramping. Pineapples are also rich in manganese, a mineral that helps regulate menstrual flow. Women who consume a diet deficient in manganese experience 50% increased menstrual flow and associated discomfort, suggests areport by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Center in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
2. Broccoli –This wonder vegetable offers the best of both worlds – great taste and remarkable health benefits! When you are on your period, broccoli can be your savior in disguise! Owing to its high fiber content, broccoli helps absorb and remove prostaglandins, natural fatty acids that can cause uterine contractions. It is also an excellent source of calcium that provides relief from muscle cramps. The high amount of vitamin K present in broccoli helps in blood clotting and thus reduces excess blood flow. Check out this link and for more science-backed health benefits of broccoli and this one for a good broccoli salad recipe!
3. Fatty Fish –Fish lover, anyone?Here’s something you must know about one of your favorite foods if you don’t already! Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which in addition to improving cardiovascular health also provide relief from menstrual symptoms. Supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acid rich foods has a great effect on the symptoms of dysmenorrhea (painful period), suggests astudy of adolescents conducted by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
4. Soy Milk –If you find yourself troubled by the worst symptoms of PMS (cramping, moods swings, bloating – the horror story continues), a great alternative to cow’s milk is enriched soy milk. Along with supplementing your diet with calcium, soy milk also provides your body with natural plant chemicals, isoflavones that help regulate estrogen and provide relief from PMS symptoms. Soy and tofu are also healthier sources of proteins as compared to heat-generating red meats that can increase inflammation.
5. Cumin Seeds –It’s amazing how these seemingly tiny seeds can work magically to help save you from your worst nightmare! Taking a spoonful of ground cumin seeds every day during your menstrual cycle will provide you relief from many period-associated symptoms like nausea and cramping, owing to their pain-relieving compounds, safranal, and cuminal. Cumin seeds are a great dietary addition for young women and those at a childbearing age due to their high iron content.
While the foods mentioned above may reduce menstrual pain and cramping greatly in some women, in some, the impact may not be as much. For best results, you must bring about a positive change in your lifestyle and diet. Adopt an active lifestyle and try to exercise for an hour daily. Reduce your intake of processed foods and increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. When on your period, avoid foods high in sodium, sugar and fat. Keep your consumption of alcohol and caffeine to the minimum as well! Here’s to a lifetime of painless periods!