Mood swings, cravings, wanting to sleep for days – we’ve all been there. There’s no way to predict how you’re going to feel during a “code red”, but here are some tips to help you feel more like yourself.
Our doctors have all warned us about iron deficiency due to blood loss, so try to work some iron into your diet. Dark leafy greens like spinach, beans, and red meat are all excellent sources of iron. Consider it an excuse to eat a hamburger once a month, or even a steak if you feel like treating yourself.
It turns out that the myths surrounding the healing power of chocolate are somewhat true. While eating an entire container of chocolate frosting John Tucker Must Die-style probably can’t cure your broken heart, eating chocolate can replenish magnesium in your body that is lost during this time of the month.
It also causes a release of serotonin, a mood-regulating neurotransmitter. I’m not telling you to go eat an entire pint of Phish Food or as many Snickers bars as you can double fist, but do what you have to do to avoid mood swings. (And if you do get moody, blame it all on PMS. Works every time.) For 20 variations of chocolate chip cookies, click here.
Chocolate also contains caffeine, which can help fight the aching lethargy that sometimes accompanies your period. Coffee is also a good move for getting your caffeine fix, rather than sugary carbonated drinks.
Exercise usually sounds like the worst possible idea during this time, but the release of endorphins can give you energy and make you feel a lot better. For some tips on what to eat before and after your workout, check this out.
Cravings can be one of the deadliest side effects, and extra hard to resist. It’s easy to justify eating a little extra during this time, but calories DO count. To avoid constant hunger (or the opposite, nausea) Women’s Health Magazine recommends that you break up your three meals into smaller, snack-sized portions – this way you are never too hungry or too full. This can also give you motivation to leave your bed at least six times.
If you need a sugar fix, go for natural sources like fruit. Throw some cut up apples or raspberries into your yogurt, or bananas on your peanut butter sandwich. Lean protein and fiber can also help regulate your blood sugar and cull those cravings. Eggs and soybeans are good sources of lean protein and many foods contain a healthy amount of fiber like nuts, berries and whole grains.
So the next time you feel like raiding the pantry and crawling into bed for with your heating pad for the next week, remember that Mother Nature doesn’t control your body, you do.
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