Eating right and getting regular exercise contribute to your well-being in a multitude of ways. But when it comes to your menstrual cycle, nutrition plays a particularly important role.
You may have heard the phrase “you are what you eat” when it comes to improving your physical health, but this really applies to menstrual health as well.
In this blog, we’ll start with the basics—like how exactly nutrition affects our menstrual health—and then discuss some specific foods that support healthy periods. Ready for some nutritional magic?
Let’s dive in!
Understanding Menstrual Health
Menstrual health is an essential part of our lives, yet it’s often something we don’t think or talk about much. As such, many of us don’t prioritize our own menstrual health. However, understanding how nutrition can help with menstrual health isn’t just important, it can be empowering as well.
Nutrition can play a crucial role in supporting and maintaining overall menstrual health and wellness. Eating a balanced diet – including a variety of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats – helps ensure that the body has all of the nutrients required to support optimal menstrual health. Additionally, some foods and supplements known to be beneficial for menstrual health may be beneficial to include in your diet or lifestyle routine.
For example, vitamin D has been shown to help reduce the risk of some menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and night sweats. Additionally, magnesium-rich foods are known for their relaxing effects on the mind and body – perfect for reducing stress levels that can flare up during menstruation.
Finally, omega-3 fatty acids have been linked with relief from painful periods while B-complex vitamins are known to regulate hormones during the cycle as well as improve mood fluctuations that often come along with menstruation.
What You Need to Know About Diet & Menstrual Health?
Nutrition plays an important role in your menstrual health and can determine how your period functions and how you feel during it. Making sure you’re getting enough of the right nutrients can help to regulate your hormones, reduce period cramps and bloating, and more.
It’s important to have a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, and avocados is essential for supporting your hormone balance.
Protein-rich foods like beans, lentils, turkey, or fish can also help with hormone regulation. You should also try to limit sugary treats as much as possible – they increase inflammation in the body which can worsen menstrual symptoms.
In addition to the quality of food you’re eating, paying attention to portion control is also important for managing your menstrual health. Eating small meals throughout the day helps your body regulate its hormones better than if you were to eat fewer large meals throughout the day. It’s also important to stay hydrated as dehydration can cause menstrual cramps or irregular bleeding during your period.
Making intentional choices about what you put into your body each day will help maximize your overall health – including improving the quality of your period!
Which Nutrients Help Support Menstrual Health?
It’s not just what you eat, but what’s in the food you’re eating that can make a huge difference in your period health. Here are some of the key nutrients to keep in mind when it comes to supporting menstrual health:
Calcium is essential for overall bone health, which plays an important role in menstruation. It’s also an electrolyte that helps with muscle functions and nerve transmission. Good sources of calcium include dairy products, dark leafy greens, fish with edible bones (e.g., sardines), nuts, and tofu.
Magnesium plays a critical role in regulating hormone production and releasing stress hormones. It’s often found in nuts, whole grains, legumes, and seeds. Additionally, certain vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, and broccoli are good sources of magnesium.
3. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 helps regulate estrogen levels and keeps hormones balanced—an important factor for healthy periods. Vitamin B6-rich foods include chickpeas, cold-water fish like tuna or salmon, bananas, pistachios, and potatoes (with skins).
Iron is essential for making hemoglobin—a protein that carries oxygen throughout the body and is especially important during periods! Sources of iron include liver, red meat, leafy green vegetables like spinach or kale, beans or lentils (especially dark red ones), and whole grains like wheat germ or oats.
Overview of Foods that Enhance Female Cycle Health
It’s no secret that the food you put in your body can have a major impact on your overall health, including your menstrual health. Different kinds of food can support the body in different phases, helping to minimize symptoms associated with PMS and making the entire cycle more comfortable. The best part? Most of them are super delicious!
1. High-Fiber Foods
Fiber is a holy grail when it comes to nutrition, but it’s especially important for women during their menstrual cycle. Fiber helps to regulate hormones by promoting digestion, reducing inflammation, and absorbing excess estrogen in the system. Try adding high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, legumes, and veggies to every meal for hormone balance and better digestive health.
2. Folate-Rich Foods
Folate is an important B vitamin, essential for producing new cells in all parts of the body – including the uterine lining. It also helps to reduce overall inflammation and regulate hormones, so getting enough folate is key for a healthy period. Add leafy greens like kale and spinach to your diet, along with avocados or fortified grains if you don’t eat meat (or if you need even more!).
3. Iron-Rich Foods
Iron helps keep energy levels up by carrying oxygen around the body – which is why it’s essential during heavy menstrual days and long periods. Stock up on iron-rich foods like beef and pork (for those who eat animal products) as well as lentils and beans for a vegetarian version of this nutrient boost!
This nutrient is essential mineral for healthy periods since it’s essential for carrying oxygen in the body through red blood cells. Iron is found in animal proteins like beef or chicken liver, eggs, beans and legumes, dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale (which also contain magnesium), nuts and seeds, fortified cereals and grains (like quinoa), dried fruits (like apricots), cooked oysters or clams from the sea, as well as certain kinds of fish like sardines.
Eating a varied plant-based diet—this includes plenty of vegetables as well as some fruits and proteins from both plants (legumes) and animals (fish) —is an excellent way to meet all of your nutrient needs—including those that support healthy menstrual cycles!
In addition to all of the suggested food sources, it is also important to stay hydrated when on your period. Water helps flush out toxins and keep your body running smoothly. It is also important to limit your intake of processed and sugary foods, as these can contribute to inflammation and can further contribute to menstrual cramps and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Besides this, it is also important to get regular exercise when on your period, as this helps boost endorphins which can reduce cramps, improve mood, and even reduce the length of heavy periods. Yoga, walking, and swimming are all great ways to stay active and can help you keep your menstrual health in check.
Finally, it is important to get enough sleep and manage stress when on your period. Stress and lack of sleep can contribute to an imbalance in hormones, which can cause menstrual cramps and other uncomfortable symptoms. So be sure to get enough rest and practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing and meditation when feeling overwhelmed.
Indeed, following these simple dietary and lifestyle habits can help you maintain a healthy period and can even help you reduce cramps and other symptoms. With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can enjoy a more comfortable and enjoyable menstrual cycle!