Diet and exercise can make a big impact on your physical and mental health, and can also help you cope with period woes…

Yes having your period is a normal part of being a woman, but let’s face it there are some things you just never get used to – mood swings, weird food cravings, cramping and bloating – and what you eat and do can help ease all those symptoms.

If you’re wondering how what you eat can make you feel better during your period, then you’ll want to keep reading.

As for exercise, our advice is to get up and get moving (even when you don’t want to). A brisk walk can make all the difference to your mood.

And as for diet? Well, scroll down for a list of foods to eat when you have your period…

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The best foods to eat when you have your period:

Lean meat

Bleeding each month causes you to lose iron. Loss of iron combined with hormonal changes is enough to leave you feeling sluggish and lethargic. Combat this feeling by eating lean red meat, poultry, fish and leafy greens.

Eating iron-rich foods is especially important if you have a heavy flow as you want to replenish the loss so you can avoid developing anaemia. Speak to your GP about taking a supplement if you aren’t a fan of red meat or are trying to avoid animal protein altogether.

Bananas

Changes in hormone levels can also cause your body to retain water. If your jeans feel a little tight around your belly or you see a noticeable bump, it’s not because you’ve gained weight overnight – you’re probably just bloated. Try to avoid foods loaded with hidden salts like processed potato chips and fast food. Homecooked meals are always the best way to go. Potassium-rich foods, such as bananas and sweet potato, also help to balance your body’s sodium levels and reduce bloating.

10 Fascinating things you may not have known about bananas

Turmeric and ginger

Menstrual cramps may just be the worst PMS symptom. It isn’t always limited to the lower abdomen, and some women even experience discomfort in the lower back and upper thigh area.

If you’re looking to ease some of the pain, why not try going all natural? Turmeric and ginger both contain anti-inflammatory properties which can help ease muscle cramps. Brew some ginger tea or add a sprinkle of turmeric to a delicious soup – the colour alone may just lift your mood.

Green Apple, Celery & Ginger Smoothie recipe

Low-fat yoghurt

It appears that calcium isn’t just vital for strong bones and teeth, but that increasing your intake may help to reduce symptoms such as cramps, pain and mood swings in the days leading up to your period. Try some low-fat yoghurt with fruit pieces as the healthy bacteria found in yoghurt could help settle an upset tummy, which is also a side-effect of menstruation. Chat to your GP about a supplement if you’re allergic to dairy.

Complex carbohydrates

The reason behind this is quite simple. You will have all kinds of crazy food cravings when you have your period. If you’re trying to eat healthily and want to avoid grabbing a chocolate bar, the easiest way to avoid slipping up is to eat foods that keep you feeling fuller for longer. Wholegrains, beans, lentils, peas, fruit and veggies are the way to go, and will naturally up your dose of minerals and fibre to keep you regular.

Bacon & Lentil Soup recipe

Salmon and tuna

Salmon is absolutely delicious, especially when served on a bed of leafy greens and brown rice, and it also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids have been known to relieve discomfort caused by cramps and inflammation. These heart-healthy fats can also be found in walnuts and flaxseeds and are fantastic for your skin too!


Beauty and health editor at Essentials magazine with a love of chai lattes, chocolate brownies and gym dates. I can also do a killer winged eyeliner.

The post ‘The best foods to eat when you have your period‘ appeared first on Essentials.

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.