Only women know how painful having a menstrual period can be. When men are told by women that they are feeling like “hell” while they have their periods, the men sometimes do not believe the women. Several factors contribute to this “hellish” feeling, including moodiness, irritability, bloating, and menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea. Luckily, there are ways to feel less menstrual cramp pain depending on what you eat. Let’s take a look at what we can do about it.
What food should you avoid?
Since the pain is caused by inflammation (and anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen are often used), you should keep away from inflammatory foods. Examples of inflammatory foods are refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pastries, french fries and other fried foods, soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, red meat like in burgers or steaks, and processed meat such as hot dogs and sausages, margarine, shortening, and lard.
Also, the following ingredients should be avoided in the food that you eat because they can cause inflammation.
These ingredients include
- saturated fats
- trans fats
- omega 6 fatty acids
- refined carbohydrates
- MSG (in tomatoes, cheese)
- casein (in milk)
- artificial sweeteners
What food should you eat?
Both vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids help decrease the levels of prostaglandins in the system. Both can be found in
- flaxseed oil
- fish oil
- chia seeds
- fish roe (eggs)
- fatty fish (such as tuna, mackerel, and salmon)
- spinach and leafy vegetables
- food fortifed with vitamin D (such as dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals)
- beef liver
- egg yolks
Also, you should eat foods that fight inflammation such as olive oil, green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, and collards), nuts (such as almonds and walnuts), fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines), and fruits (such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges).
Another tip is to have more vitamins and minerals such as those on the list below:
Calcium may also help reduce menstrual pain because it helps maintain muscle tone. However, the evidence isn’t clear.
Vitamin D helps reduce inflammation (as stated above). Vitamin D may interact with a number of medications, so ask your doctor before taking more than the recommended daily allowance.
Vitamin E (can be found in almonds, spinach, etc.) may help reduce menstrual pain. In one study, women who took vitamin E had less menstrual cramps than those who took placebo. Vitamin E may increase the risk of bleeding, especially those who take blood thinners. People with heart disease, diabetes, retinitis pigmentosa, or cancer of the head, neck, or prostate, should avoid high doses of vitamin E without first asking their doctor.
Magnesium has been found out from studies to help reduce menstrual pain. However, too much magnesium can cause diarrhea and lower blood pressure. If you have digestive problems or a heart disease, or if you are taking other medications, ask your doctor before taking magnesium because this interacts with other medications.