Unbearable cramps, fluctuating mood swings, fatigue, bloating and a long, nightmarish list of other symptoms that all confirm one thing: periods are not fun. When your body is already exhausted from pain and uneasiness, the only two things that we really count on are painkillers and comfort food. We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but what if we told you the comfort food you stocked up on was actually making your period worse? Everything from your skin to your digestive system becomes prone to sensitivity while you’re menstruating. Your eating habits just feed into this sensitivity, making those 7-10 days more hellish than they have to be. Here are the foods you have to avoid if you to dodge cloudy skies for smooth sailing!
1. Fried Food
This comes as no surprise – fried food can take your mood swings to the next level. Fries, microwave popcorn, and biscuits all contain trans fats or hydrogenated vegetable oil, which elevate the level of oestrogen in your body. This makes you much more sensitive, and easily irritable. Roasted snacks or nuts are a better alternative to have around while on your period. Processed foods may seem like a quick fix when getting out of bed feels like a challenge, but in truth, the challenge is facing the bloating these processed foods cause. They’re high in salt, which leads to your body holding onto water, and chemicals which increase bloating. You’ll also notice yourself feeling way more sluggish than usual. Instead, opt for homemade meals and fresh cooked veggies.
2. Red Meat
Mutton karahi, steaks, and beef burgers are all hard to resist. Red meat is a staple in every Pakistani home, but that doesn’t mean it’s doing you any good. Eating fatty meats increases prostaglandins – lipid compounds which activate the bodies auto-immune system, but result in inflammation. This can aggravate cramping in turn. Increase your intake of oily fish like salmon instead, since they are rich in nutrients that your body needs. You could also add fish oil pills to your multivitamin regimen.
3. Refined Grains
Similar to processed food, refined grains also lose much of their nutrient content when cooked. They are made of simple carbohydrates and often have a large number of hidden sugars. Foods like bread, cereal, and pizza lead to major bloating and constipation during your period. Whole grains are undoubtedly a better option as they don’t hinder your digestive tract, but help keep everything working as it should.
4. Salty Food
Too much salt is never a good idea, but especially not when you’re on your period. Some of the hormones which accompany menstruation cause water retention, which leads to bloating. A diet high in salt will make this bloating much worse. Make sure to follow a low sodium diet during these days specifically. Adopting one in your life generally is even better!
5. Full-Fat Dairy Products
Dairy products are high in arachidonic acids and just like red meat, milk and cream cause an increase in prostaglandins, and thus act as a trigger for cramps. Cottage cheese and skim milk are lighter alternatives if you don’t want to completely swear off dairy during your period. As tempting as they may be, wave goodbye to dessert — it’s definitely off-limits.
6. Sweet Candies
The craving for sweet food while menstruating is real. If you’re anything like us, you might end up finishing packets of candy in a day — but trust us, it’s only going to make everything worse. Consuming food drowned in sugar can interrupt your bodies natural cycle of regulating blood sugar levels, and result in intense mood swings and increased cramps. It’s sad, we know. But you aren’t at a total loss. You can still eat as much dark chocolate as you want since it contains lower levels of sugar, and also magnesium – a mineral that regulates your serotonin levels.
Coffee might fuel your body on an average day, but during your period, it’s a big no. Caffeine increases your blood pressure and heart rate, which makes your PMS more intense by increasing anxiety-related symptoms.
Not only are these caffeine filled drinks, but they’re also full of sugar — two things we’ve already mentioned you need to steer clear of! Put together in one drink? It’s essentially poison for a girl on her period. The drink itself can lead to gassiness, bloating and hiked sugar levels.