When it’s that time of the month, it’s a no brainer to gorge on the fattiest, sweetest and saltiest of junk foods you can get your hands on. Part of the reason is because we need comforts as we suffer through the cramps and PMS symptoms – and what’s better than ice cream or a fifth handful of Oreos? Believe it or not, there is something better. And not only are these foods healthy and great-tasting, but they can naturally alleviate the pain and side effects of periods. While you don’t have to say a final goodbye to Häagen-Dazs and Hershey’s, sneaking in these five foods will make cramps and PMS a breeze and balance out estrogen levels.
BENEFITS: Fights bloating caused by fluid retention.
The secret’s all in the potassium, which balances out fluid levels in the body. Cranberries, raisins and turkey are other potassium-rich foods that do the trick as well. Considering how versatile (and delicious) bananas are, it’s easy to bring them around as snacks and eat on a regular basis during “the time of the month.” Try them in smoothies, frozen, added to your morning oatmeal, etc. – the options are endless.
BENEFITS: Say hello to omega-3 and bye to inflammation and painful cramps.
Salmon is one of nature’s super foods; it gives you strong and healthy hair, mitigates those awful migraines, and tastes great no matter how you prepare it. The main reason is because salmon is full of omega-3, the king of healthy fatty acids. Omega-3, combined with vitamin D in salmon, is what fights inflammation that causes painful contractions AKA cramps. Also try flaxseed and nuts.
3. Dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher)
BENEFITS: Helps relax muscles and amps up serotonin levels for less irritability.
Sometimes, life is nice to us and grants good things like dark chocolate that we can enjoy guilt-free. Dark chocolate is known to relax muscles, improve circulation, and increase serotonin levels, which is the hormone that makes you feel happy and positive. Having a few nubs of this sweet treat helps to satiate a bit of that raging sweet tooth and dispel PMS symptoms like mood swings.
BENEFITS: A mood booster that helps you get a good night’s rest.
Hummus, made with chickpeas, is protein-rich and great with other healthy foods. Whether it’s spreading some on pita bread or scooping up with celery and carrot sticks, hummus is a tasty way to soothe period symptoms. Hummus is particularly good for uplifting your mood (like dark chocolate does) and helping you relax for a good night’s sleep. Here are 10 creative ways you can enjoy it, but it’s high in calories so eat in moderation.
5. Dark leafy green vegetables
BENEFITS: Calcium-rich, these greens like kale and spinach can help ease cramps.
During cycles, a lot of iron is lost. It is important to replenish your body’s store of iron, and dark leafy green vegetables are a great source. Thankfully, there are many ways to eat these veggies, some options being: unsalted kale chips, cooked spinach, or arugula salad. These greens can give back that surge of energy you typically feel to get off the couch and go exercise outside.