Menstruation is no fun, you go through the whole anger thing, then you are crying that you are a failure, then you want to eat the world, then fight the world again. Then all of those feelings accumulate to feeling like someone is punching your ovaries with a metal glove. Yep, menstruation sucks, but did you know that eating better can actually help with your mood and pains? Before you go and eat that whole bag of Doritos followed by a tub of Haggen Dazs (guilty), consider changing your eating habits. I know it may seem far fetched, but eating the right things really helps…and no, a pack of Oreo’s really isn’t the right food (guilty again).
How many of you can say that you when you feel in a low mood, you reach for the chocolate? I honestly can’t say that I do, Doritos maybe (see above). But the only chocolate you should be reaching for is dark chocolate, I’m talking at least 70% cocoa solids. Dark chocolate is packed with magnesium, which helps balance your mood and regulates your serotonin…the happy hormone. Why not try making a batch of my Dark Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread? Containing no sugar and only dark chocolate, it feels indulgent but it’s not. Clever eh? Trick those hormones!
Greens are packed full of iron, which you lose a heap of when on your period. So there’s no better time to pack in as much of them as you can, spinach, kale, swiss chard, all will help with your iron levels. I’m not asking you to eat a whole bowl of the stuff, but they are so easy to incorporate into meals. My Caribbean Stew has an entire bag of spinach in it. You can add spinach to a smoothie, add greens to an omelette, or blend a heap and make a pesto for pasta.
Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are great at helping relax muscles and ease all that cramping. I have a few salmon recipes you could try Thai Style Salmon and Noodle Salad, Steamed Salmon and Spring Veg Parcels, Salmon Firecracker Fried Rice. If you are vegetarian, you can find Omega-3 in avocados, walnuts, pumpkin and flax seeds.
The humble banana is a pretty great thing, due to it’s high level of vitamin B6 it’s a great mood booster. It’s also rich in potassium and magnesium, which can help with water retention and bloating. Bananas also help aid your digestive system, which is always an added bonus. Why not try my Seeded Banana Muffins, they are packed full of things like pumpkin and chia seeds, a great thing to reach for in the morning.
Eating a yoghurt packed full of good bacteria will help with your digestion and bloating. Having a happy tummy really is needed at this time of the month. Try overnight oats with yoghurt so you can grab them first thing, or pile on the granola, if you want to feel like you are really indulging, why not make some smoothie ice creams using yoghurt?
Simply swapping your white bread and pasta for wholewheat will really help with your period symptoms. Not only will they keep you fuller for longer, but they are also packed full of fibre, helping aid your digestion and bloating symptoms. I always make my Simple Spaghetti with wholewheat pasta.
Another source of iron, take this time of the month to indulge in a decent steak. It’s nice to cut down on red meat in general, but around your period is a great time to pack in as much iron as you can. Lack of iron can cause headaches and make you feel sluggish, which is never great when you have work. If you really want to stay clear of red meat and need more iron, try adding more pulses, lentils, beans and broccoli to your diet.
Foods to avoid
Among the things to avoid whilst on your period are carbonated drinks, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, caffeinated drinks, foods high in salt such as canned soup, bacon, chips (I know), it will help stop bloating, promise. Also avoid foods high in fats, it’ll be the saviour of your hormonal skin, try and cut down on dairy as it is high in arachidonic acid, which can actually bring on cramping.
Whist we are talking about our vagina’s, yes I used the word. May 1st-31st is #getlippy month with the Eve Appeal, raising awareness of Gynecological cancers. Vagina is not a dirty word, awareness of gynae cancers is worryingly low. It’s not a taboo to talk about the health of your vagina, so speak up and speak out, #getlippy and shout out. Help to raise money for this amazing cause and spread awareness of these terrible diseases.