You are on your period and all you really want is to eat a whole bar of cho¬≠co¬≠late while sit¬≠ting on the couch? And if the cramps get too much and the hot-water bot¬≠tle sim¬≠ply doesn‚Äôt help any more, do you take a pain¬≠kil¬≠ler? Nice and good. Ever¬≠ything that makes us happy is allo¬≠wed during mens¬≠trua¬≠tion! Unfor¬≠tu¬≠n¬≠a¬≠tely, it is unli¬≠kely that candy will help to relieve the pain, at least the phy¬≠si¬≠cal one. But did you know that some (healt¬≠hier) food opti¬≠ons can have a posi¬≠tive effect on your mens¬≠trual cramps?

Which food options can help relieve menstrual cramps?

Are you ready for a bet¬≠ter (aka more pain¬≠less) period? To relieve mens¬≠trual cramps, anti-inflamma¬≠tory foods are par¬≠ti¬≠cu¬≠larly important. In addi¬≠tion, a balan¬≠ced diet rich in magne¬≠sium, vit¬≠amin B and iron helps relieve mens¬≠trual pain. Here are a few tasty alter¬≠na¬≠ti¬≠ves to cho¬≠co¬≠late and the like:

1. Citrus fruits

If you‚Äôre in the mood for candy during your period, swee¬≠ter fruits can also be a great way to coun¬≠ter¬≠act your cra¬≠ving for sugar. And fruits will give you important nut¬≠ri¬≠ents to help you feel less weak and tired. Citrus fruits in par¬≠ti¬≠cu¬≠lar can have a posi¬≠tive effect on your mood thanks to their vit¬≠amin D.

2. Bananas

Bana¬≠nas are said to have a posi¬≠tive effect on your mood thanks to their high dose of vit¬≠amin B6. In addi¬≠tion, bana¬≠nas are rich in fibre and the¬≠re¬≠fore good for diges¬≠tive pro¬≠blems and fla¬≠tu¬≠lence, which some people expe¬≠ri¬≠ence during menstruation.

3. Green leafy vegetables

Iron levels can worsen, lea¬≠ding to fati¬≠gue and diz¬≠zi¬≠ness, espe¬≠cially during heavy peri¬≠ods. Green leafy vege¬≠ta¬≠bles such as spi¬≠n¬≠ach, kale or chard are sui¬≠ta¬≠ble for res¬≠to¬≠ring the body‚Äôs iron sup¬≠ply and coun¬≠ter¬≠ac¬≠ting the sym¬≠ptoms. The magne¬≠sium and pot¬≠as¬≠sium in the green lea¬≠ves can also help reduce mens¬≠trual cramps. During your next period, maybe drink a green smoot¬≠hie or sim¬≠ply steam the green lea¬≠ves in the pan?

4. Ginger

Gin¬≠ger is known to be a mira¬≠cle food and a natu¬≠ral pain relie¬≠ver! A warm cup of gin¬≠ger tea is also a very good idea during your period to relieve your mens¬≠trual pain. Gin¬≠ger also has anti-inflamma¬≠tory effects.

5. Nuts

Most nuts are a good source of pro¬≠tein. Nuts, such as almonds, pump¬≠kin or sun¬≠flower seeds, are belie¬≠ved to help reduce ute¬≠rine mus¬≠cle con¬≠trac¬≠tions and thus reduce mens¬≠trual cramps as well. Wal¬≠nuts in par¬≠ti¬≠cu¬≠lar are said to have anti-inflamma¬≠tory and anal¬≠ge¬≠sic pro¬≠per¬≠ties. Eit¬≠her you can sim¬≠ply eat a hand¬≠ful of pure nuts, eat them in the form of nut but¬≠ter or throw them into your gra¬≠nola in the morning.

6. Chamomile tea

Camo¬≠mile tea has been drunk by people for cen¬≠tu¬≠ries as a natu¬≠ral medi¬≠cine and is con¬≠si¬≠de¬≠red to have cal¬≠ming effects on the body. The popu¬≠lar her¬≠bal tea is said to help relieve mus¬≠cle cramps and also reduce mens¬≠trual cramps. In addi¬≠tion, the warmth from the inside is always good to help relax the body.

7. Water

Drin¬≠king a lot is always important. This is espe¬≠cially true during mens¬≠trua¬≠tion. Stay with still water though to avoid fla¬≠tu¬≠lence. If you drink a lot, the likeli¬≠hood of hea¬≠da¬≠ches can be redu¬≠ced. Water-rich fruits such as water¬≠me¬≠lon or cucum¬≠ber are also ideal for stay¬≠ing hydrated.

8. Dark chocolate

And if you really want to eat cho¬≠co¬≠late after all, then dark cho¬≠co¬≠late with over 60 per¬≠cent cocoa is the best option. Dark cho¬≠co¬≠late has a lower sugar per¬≠cen¬≠tage than nor¬≠mal milk cho¬≠co¬≠late and can be ano¬≠t¬≠her source of magne¬≠sium. And some¬≠ti¬≠mes you just need some¬≠thing sweet. Dark cho¬≠co¬≠late can the¬≠re¬≠fore be a nice snack during your menstruation.

And what food options help you with your menstrual pain? 

Cer¬≠tain food opti¬≠ons can natu¬≠rally reduce your mens¬≠trual cramps. Warmth in the form of a hot water bot¬≠tle or warm teas can also have a posi¬≠tive effect on your well-being during your period. At the end of the day, howe¬≠ver, we are all dif¬≠fe¬≠rent and react indi¬≠vi¬≠du¬≠ally to dif¬≠fe¬≠rent foods. Which diet helps you to expe¬≠ri¬≠ence a bet¬≠ter period? Let us know in the comments!

Note: Some mens¬≠trua¬≠ting people expe¬≠ri¬≠ence their peri¬≠ods without any pro¬≠blems and pain. This is won¬≠der¬≠ful and should be the goal for ever¬≠yone! Congra¬≠tu¬≠la¬≠ti¬≠ons, you have made it! Some, howe¬≠ver, struggle with severe mens¬≠trual cramps, nau¬≠sea and pain. Regard¬≠less of what is shown in the media: Mens¬≠trual pro¬≠blems and pain are not nor¬≠mal! If you are struggling with severe mens¬≠trual pain every month, a visit to your gynae¬≠co¬≠lo¬≠gist should be hap¬≠pe¬≠ning soon.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Britta 
Co-Foun­der Vulvani | britta@vulvani.com | Web­site | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-foun­der of Vul­vani. She loves rese­ar­ching, wri­ting and designing new arti­cles or inno­va­tive edu­ca­tio­nal con­cepts about mens­trua­tion all day long. When she is not tra­vel­ling the world, she enjoys spen­ding time with her loved ones in the beau­ti­ful city of Ham­burg in Germany.