5 Expert-Recommended Diet Tips To Get Relief From Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps diet tips: Magnesium is an essential mineral that naturally helps in relaxing muscles. It can help in relaxing uterine muscles thereby decreasing the cramps. Read here to know more.
Menstrual cramps: Regular exercise can help in reducing them
- Stay active to reduce menstrual cramps
- Avoid consuming an excess of salt during periods as it may cause bloating
- Stay away from oily and deep-fried foods
Menstrual cramps are very common and many females start experiencing it within 6 months of the onset of their first period. These cramps can start occurring before or at the time of bleeding and may last up to 3 days. Menstrual cramps are usually mild to moderate but can be an unpleasant experience for many women. Severe cramps are usually associated with some medical conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, adenomyosis, or fibroids. If you experience extremely severe cramps that do not get better with each cycle, you must seek expert consultation. However, for moderately severe cramps- certain changes in diet and lifestyle can help to a great extent.
Menstrual cramps: Make sure you follow these dietary guidelines for a relatively smoother cycle
1. Magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium is an essential mineral that naturally helps in relaxing muscles. It can help in relaxing uterine muscles thereby decreasing the cramps. Magnesium is readily found in pumpkin seeds, almonds, spinach, cashews, avocadoes, legumes, and whole grains. Keep a mixture of the nutty trail (mix of nuts and seeds) handy with you to munch on during periods.
2. Calcium-rich foods
Calcium is another mineral that helps in maintaining not just bone health but also muscle health. It helps tone uterine muscles especially during menstruation and can effectively deplete or reduce period cramps. Calcium can be obtained from dairy products, soy, sesame seeds, green leafy vegetables, ragi, and amaranth. Ragi sheera can be a great meal of choice during periods.
3. Omega-3 fatty acids
Foods with a high concentration of omega 3 fatty acids possess strong anti-inflammatory properties and inflammation is one of the causes for period cramps. The omega-3 fatty acid is found in fatty fishes like salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and sardines. Nuts like walnuts and Brazil nuts are also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It is also found in flaxseeds and chia seeds.
4. Vitamin B6 rich foods
This vitamin of the B complex group does not only help with relieving cramps but it also alleviates the emotional side effects of periods like irritability, fatigue, and mood swings. It works by helping in the metabolism of the female sex hormone also known as estrogen. Vitamin B6 is also known as pyridoxine and it is found in oats, wheat germ, eggs, milk, brown rice, soybeans, fish, and sweet potatoes. Baked or roasted sweet potatoes can be an excellent snack choice during periods.
Gingerol is the active bio compound found in ginger and it comprises of powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Ingesting ginger in the first three days of periods can help reduce period cramps to a great extent. It also helps with other period-related symptoms like nausea or bloating. You can brew a cup of ginger tea along with some cardamom and cinnamon and sip on this magical concoction once a day for hassle-free periods.
Other effective techniques
Regular exercise can help deal with cramps to a great extent. Try to stay active as much as you can on your regular days and do some gentle exercises like walking or gentle yoga during periods. Hot compress and light massage are helpful too.
What you should avoid during cramps
Avoid consuming an excess of salt during periods as it can lead to bloating by causing water retention. Cut back on alcohol and limit caffeine intake. Avoid excessive sugary foods and beverages. Stay away from oily and deep-fried stuff. Spicy foods can also worsen cramps in many women.
(Nmami Agarwal is nutritionist at Nmami Life)
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