You are on your period and all you really want is to eat a whole bar of choco­late while sit­ting on the couch? And if the cramps get too much and the hot-water bot­tle sim­ply doesn’t help any more, do you take a painkiller? Nice and good. Every­thing that makes us happy is allowed dur­ing men­stru­a­tion! Unfor­tu­nately, it is unlikely that candy will help to relieve the pain, at least the phys­i­cal one. But did you know that some (health­ier) food options can have a pos­i­tive effect on your men­strual cramps?

Per­fect period-snacks: Which food options can help relieve men­strual pain?

Now we face the ques­tion: what helps beat period pain? Are you ready for a bet­ter (aka more pain­less) period? To relieve men­strual cramps, anti-inflam­ma­tory foods are par­tic­u­larly impor­tant. In addi­tion, a bal­anced diet rich in mag­ne­sium, vit­a­min B and iron helps relieve men­strual pain. Here are a few tasty alter­na­tives to choco­late and the like:

1. Cit­rus fruits

If you’re in the mood for candy dur­ing your period, sweeter fruits can also be a great way to coun­ter­act your crav­ing for sugar. And fruits will give you impor­tant nutri­ents to help you feel less weak and tired. Cit­rus fruits in par­tic­u­lar can have a pos­i­tive effect on your mood thanks to their vit­a­min D.

2. Bananas

Bananas are said to have a pos­i­tive effect on your mood thanks to their high dose of vit­a­min B6. In addi­tion, bananas are rich in fibre and there­fore good for diges­tive prob­lems and flat­u­lence, which some peo­ple expe­ri­ence dur­ing menstruation.

3. Green leafy vegetables

Super­food dur­ing the period: iron. Iron lev­els can worsen, lead­ing to fatigue and dizzi­ness, espe­cially dur­ing heavy peri­ods. Green leafy veg­eta­bles such as spinach, kale or chard are suit­able for restor­ing the body’s iron sup­ply and coun­ter­act­ing the symp­toms. The mag­ne­sium and potas­sium in the green leaves can also help reduce men­strual cramps, just by eat­ing some healthy food. Dur­ing your next period, maybe drink a green smoothie or sim­ply steam the green leaves in the pan?

4. Gin­ger

Gin­ger is known to be a mir­a­cle food and a nat­ural pain reliever! A warm cup of gin­ger tea is also a very good idea dur­ing your period to relieve your men­strual pain. Gin­ger also has anti-inflam­ma­tory effects.

5. Nuts

Most nuts are a good source of pro­tein and as such a great period com­fort food. Nuts, such as almonds, pump­kin or sun­flower seeds, are believed to help reduce uter­ine mus­cle con­trac­tions and thus reduce men­strual cramps as well. Wal­nuts in par­tic­u­lar are said to have anti-inflam­ma­tory and anal­gesic prop­er­ties. Either you can sim­ply eat a hand­ful of pure nuts, eat them in the form of nut but­ter or throw them into your gra­nola in the morning.

6. Chamomile tea

Camomile tea has been drunk by peo­ple for cen­turies as a nat­ural med­i­cine and is con­sid­ered to have calm­ing effects on the body. The pop­u­lar herbal tea is said to help relieve mus­cle cramps and also reduce men­strual cramps. In addi­tion, the warmth from the inside is always good to help relax the body.

7. Water

Drink­ing a lot is always impor­tant. This is espe­cially true dur­ing men­stru­a­tion. Stay with still water though to avoid flat­u­lence. If you drink a lot, the like­li­hood of headaches can be reduced. Water-rich fruits such as water­melon or cucum­ber are also ideal for stay­ing hydrated.

8. Dark chocolate

And if you really want to eat choco­late after all, then dark choco­late with over 60 per­cent cocoa is the best option. Dark choco­late has a lower sugar per­cent­age than nor­mal milk choco­late and can be another source of mag­ne­sium. And some­times you just need some­thing sweet. Dark choco­late can there­fore be a nice snack dur­ing your menstruation.

Which foods do not help with men­strual pain?

As you can see, the foods for men­strual cramps are a gen­tle diet that is sup­posed to ben­e­fit your body. It is about pre­vent­ing and reliev­ing period pains, avoid­ing flat­u­lence and gen­er­ally mak­ing your body feel good. There­fore, what you should not eat or drink dur­ing your period are fatty foods. Alco­hol can also upset not only your stom­ach, but also your emo­tions and your head. Caf­feine is a pop­u­lar drink for many men­stru­at­ing peo­ple, but unfor­tu­nately it also increases estro­gen lev­els, which can increase pain and block your body’s abil­ity to absorb iron.

What else helps with period pain?

Food isn’t all you can do to relieve men­strual pain. But what else can you do for period pain, then? First of all, it must be said that every human being and every men­stru­at­ing per­son is indi­vid­ual and unique. That is why no two peri­ods are the same, they are very dif­fer­ent. There­fore, find out for your­self what is good for you and your body! Only you know your own per­sonal self-care dur­ing your period! Nev­er­the­less, I have a few tips for you: allow your­self some time off on the days of your men­stru­a­tion to give you and your body a lit­tle rest. I espe­cially like warmth against period pain. Whether with a hot water bot­tle, heat­ing pad or a nice warm bath, your mus­cles will be relaxed and your blood cir­cu­la­tion will be stim­u­lated. It’s also nice to lis­ten to some music. You still feel like doing some sports? Then try some light yoga exercises.

And what food options help you with your men­strual pain?

Cer­tain period food options can nat­u­rally reduce your men­strual cramps and also have a pos­i­tive effect on your well-being dur­ing your period. At the end of the day, how­ever, we are all dif­fer­ent and react indi­vid­u­ally to dif­fer­ent foods. Which diet helps you to expe­ri­ence a bet­ter period? Let us know in the comments!

Note: Some men­stru­at­ing peo­ple expe­ri­ence their peri­ods with­out any prob­lems and pain. This is won­der­ful and should be the goal for every­one! Con­grat­u­la­tions, you have made it! Some, how­ever, strug­gle with severe men­strual cramps, nau­sea and pain. Regard­less of what is shown in the media: Men­strual prob­lems and pain are not nor­mal! If you are strug­gling with severe men­strual pain every month, a visit to your gynae­col­o­gist should be hap­pen­ing 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.