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Painful Periods- Can A Specific Diet Help Ease The Pain?

Written and reviewed by
MBBS, DGO
Gynaecologist, Bangalore  •  47 years experience
Painful Periods- Can A Specific Diet Help Ease The Pain?

Menstrual cramps are not new to women after puberty, and generally are manageable without specific care. However, when the abdominal cramps interfere with your regular activities, it is important to take some steps in relieving it. The pain is usually caused by chemicals known as prostaglandins that promote inflammation and aid in blood vessel constriction as well as the contraction of muscles. The chemical breaks down during menstruation while constricting blood vessels in the uterus which causes muscle contractions, referred to as cramps.

It is possible to manage the pain caused by these cramps by following a healthy diet that can include the following foods:

  1. Soy milk: Some women have reported that having soy milk can help in reducing menstrual cramps. It is rich in natural plant chemicals known as isoflavones that act like estrogen in the body. Fortified soy milk also offers around 300 milligrams of calcium which will fulfill 1/3rd of the daily recommended intake of calcium.
  2. Fatty fish:Fish is considered one of the prime sources of anti-inflammatory fats referred to as omega 3-fatty acids. Researchers have found that women who consume omega 3 fatty acids experience less intense pain. To get maximum benefits, you can consume mackerel, salmon or trout. One of the benefits of flax seeds is to make the pain lesser as they contain omega 3 fatty acids. You should also include ground flaxseeds in your daily smoothies and yogurt, as
  3. Legumes:Legumes such as lentils and beans offer a high amount of protein and fiber without the saturated fat that is found in animal-derived protein sources. Taking a high fiber diet that constricts intake of animal fats can improve the estrogen levels which, in turn, can help in reducing the menstrual pain.
  4. Fruits and vegetables: Eating foods rich in antioxidants and reducing the intake of processed ones can help in improving period cramps. You should opt for different colored fruits and vegetables, from broccoli to berries, from citrus fruits to bell peppers to tomatoes, and anything else that comes to your mind. Many fruits and vegetables such as apricots, raspberries, and brussels sprouts are also rich in fiber that can help in reducing muscle cramps during periods.
  5. Nuts:There is hardly any individual who doesn’t like eating nuts, particularly when they are roasted. It can help in alleviating the hunger for junk foods and the rich magnesium content is essential for reducing period pains.
  6. Dark chocolate:Research suggests that dark chocolate is known for satiating cravings for junk foods while boosting the serotonin levels. When you are on your periods, you should take one ounce of dark chocolate every day for reducing depression and fatigue and alleviating the physical discomfort.

Adding these food items can contribute a lot in sparing you from the undesired stomach cramps during periods.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

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