Eat These 6 Foods During Your Period to Feel So Much Better
Research shows that these foods, along with staying hydrated, can help reduce menstrual symptoms such as bloating, water retention, poor concentration, and irritability.
Load up on calcium
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Calcium is a girl’s BFF during her period. Research shows the bone-boosting mineral can reduce bloating and water retention and soothes PMS-related mood changes. Found in: dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese as well as certain plant-based sources, including almonds, bok choy, broccoli, and leafy greens, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Focus on fiber
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The last thing you want during your period is to feel more bloated. Fiber, which keeps your digestive track running smoothly, can help, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eat plenty of fiber throughout your period to ensure regularity. Found in: almonds, apples, artichokes, beans, blackberries, chia seeds, persimmons, sweet potatoes, whole grains. These are signs you’re not eating enough fiber.
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According to the National Institutes of Health, heavy periods can contribute to iron deficiency anemia in women, which can cause brain fog, tiredness, and mood swings. Even if you don’t have a heavy period, eating foods high in the mineral iron during your period is a good idea. Found in: beans, beef, dark chocolate, lamb, leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, tofu. These are anemia symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.
Make room for magnesium
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File this under “so now you know”: Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine Books, 2017), explains that women crave chocolate during their periods because of its magnesium content. Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Found in: avocados, bananas, beans, dark chocolate, fish, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, yogurt.
Fuel up on omega-3s and vitamin B1
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A 2016 Cochrane review examined evidence on dietary supplements for period pain. None proved to be “highly effective.” Among those with limited evidence to suggest potential beneficial? Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B1, also known as thiamine (or thiamin). Found in: eggs, seafood, nuts, and seeds. Here are other ways fish oil benefits your health.
Don’t forget about vitamin D
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A 2015 study published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology found that having low vitamin D levels is associated with irregular periods. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to a higher risk of poor or insufficient sleep or sleepiness. And a 2018 study in Gynecological Endocrinology finds supplementing with D may be helpful in reducing the severity of period pain and other PMS symptoms. Found in: fish oils, fortified milk, egg yolks.
- Obstetrics and Gynecology Science: “Effect of calcium on premenstrual syndrome: A double-blind randomized clinical trial.”
- National Osteoporosis Foundation: “A Guide to Calcium-Rich Foods”
- Mayo Clinic: “Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet”
- National Institutes of Health: “Iron Fact Sheet for Consumers”
- Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle (Ballantine Books, 2017)
- The Cochrane database of systemic reviews: “Dietary supplements for dysmenorrhoea.”
- Office of Dietary Supplements: “Omega-3 Fatty Acids.”
- Office of Dietary Supplements: “Thiamin.”
- Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology: Lower plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D is associated with irregular menstrual cycles in a cross-sectional study
- Nutrients: “The Association between Vitamin D Deficiency and Sleep Disorders: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis.”
- Gynecological Endocrinology: “High dose vitamin D supplementation can improve menstrual problems, dysmenorrhea, and premenstrual syndrome in adolescents.”