10 foods that help alleviate menstrual pain
For most women, pain is synonymous with menstruation. Approximately 80% of individuals who menstruate experience menstrual pain at some point. Such pain is typically accompanied by cramps, bloating, and mood swings and is caused by the release of natural chemicals called prostaglandins, due to which the uterine walls and blood vessels contract. Adequate rest and a healthy meal plan can help handle menstrual pain. Some foods to incorporate during your menstrual cycle are as follows:
Oatmeal is a healthy, fiber-rich breakfast option high in calcium, zinc, magnesium, vitamins A and B, and iron. A cup of oats contains around 14 mg of iron, accounting for three-quarters of the total iron intake needed per day, i.e., 18 mg. Studies have shown that having iron-rich foods can reduce menstrual pain and help you handle menstrual symptoms better.
A cup of cooked spinach contains 6.5 mg of iron and magnesium; vitamins A, C, B6, and E; potassium; and calcium in sizable amounts. Thus, it can help reduce PMS symptoms, including pain, bloating, and cramps. Besides, one may add spinach to stir-fries, gravies, soups, smoothies, etc.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin D and are among the best fruits to manage period pain and cramps. Foods rich in vitamin C are highly recommended for period pain and cramp management. Moreover, vitamin C helps the body absorb iron from iron-rich foods. One can directly consume oranges or include fortified orange juice as part of one’s meal routine.
Fatty fish varieties like salmon, tuna, sardines, and oysters are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which contain anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, they are effective in relieving period pain and other PMS symptoms.
Chamomile contains antispasmodic properties, which can help heal menstrual pain. Moreover, chamomile tea soothes the nervous system, enhancing one’s overall mood during the menstrual cycle.
Calcium levels typically fluctuate during menstruation; yogurt, a rich source of calcium, can help optimize these levels. Moreover, yogurt contains probiotics or healthy bacteria in high concentrations, helping soothe the stomach and relieving menstrual pain.
Bananas are excellent sources of potassium and vitamin B6. Potassium levels tend to fluctuate during the menstrual cycle; thus, one must replenish the body with potassium to reduce muscle pain and stiffness. Moreover, research has shown that vitamin B6 can help relieve menstrual pain and other PMS symptoms.
Besides being rich protein sources, eggs are packed with vitamins B6 and D, integral for menstrual pain relief, and vitamin E, an essential anti-oxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, eggs can provide the body with the required nutrition during one’s period and reduce menstrual pain considerably.
Besides being an excellent sweet treat, dark chocolate is loaded with magnesium, whose levels often drop during periods. Magnesium deficiency significantly contributes to dysmenorrhea or period cramps, which worsen period pain. Therefore, it is a good idea to have plain dark chocolate, which contains less sugar and caffeine than regular chocolate bars.
Dehydration often leads to menstrual cramps and bloating during periods, exacerbating period pain. For example, watermelon’s incredibly high water content can help hydrate the body instantly, relieving cramps and pain during menstruation.
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