Better Nutrition|May 2020
When it comes to all things menstrual cycle-related, medical professionals often tell us that our symptoms—moodiness, brain fog, fatigue, fertility struggles, and low libido—are normal, or are a natural response to getting older. Nothing to worry about.
One of the biggest myths perpetrated on women today is that our menstrual issues are not fixable. They are. Each month, your body tries to tell you something about your health. PMS, a heavy period, no period— whatever you’re experiencing isn’t the result of your body randomly rebelling against you. Rather, these issues are your body’s way of communicating with you—your period problems are a sign of your body needing attention. Your body is always working for you, not against you.
Feed Your Hormones
The foods we eat play a big role in how our hormones behave. In fact, the number one cause of hormonal imbalances, period problems, and fertility issues is a lack of the right nutrients in our diets. If you don’t have the nutrients you need to produce hormones properly or the understanding of how different foods affect your body, you won’t have a sturdy enough foundation to build on.
It’s important to understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to food is not possible. That’s why I’ve incorporated various elements from a couple of different dietary theories to create the Fix Your Period way of eating and living.
Not all carbs are created equal. I can’t stress enough that the best choices in carbohydrates are those found in whole foods. Simple or refined carbs such as white sugar, white flour, and the products made from them, such as pasta and baked goods, are typically the worst-quality carbs to consume. On the other end of the spectrum, vegetables are the shining star of the carbohydrate world.
Leafy greens are the most nutrientdense foods on the planet, yet are totally underrated—and missing from most people’s daily diet. It’s time to up-level your greens intake.
There are many different types of leafy greens, and each of them contains an array of nutrients that not only impact your overall health but also have a pretty profound effect on the health of your reproductive organs—and all are essential for optimal hormone production and regulation:
* Arugula Beet greens
* Broccoli rabe
* Collard greens
* Dandelion greens
* Mustard greens
* Red/green leaf lettuce
* Romaine lettuce
* Swiss chard
Just as the rainforest cleans the air, the abundance of nutrients found in leafy greens (chlorophyll in particular) helps remove potentially harmful toxins from your blood, makes new red blood cells, improves circulation, strengthens the immune system, and reduces inflammation. Indeed, when it comes to period problems, the nutrients in greens are gold:
Calcium. This mineral can be a big help in reducing PMS symptoms such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and pain. In fact, low levels of calcium in the luteal phase have been found to cause or worsen PMS. Estrogen supports intestinal absorption of calcium, so having sufficient estrogen in your body is necessary for the integrity of your bones. It’s crucial for women with amenorrhea or low estrogen to make sure they are getting adequate calcium through food and possibly supplementation.
Magnesium. This essential mineral has been shown to reduce bloating and breast tenderness and also helps to build progesterone. It reduces PMS-related anxiety and sleeplessness and works amazingly well for period pain and migraines.
Iron. This contributes to healthy egg production, stable energy levels, and healthy menstrual blood flow. (Hint: too-heavy or too-light periods can be a sign of insufficient iron levels.)
Potassium. This powerhouse mineral and electrolyte allows your body to make energy from the foods you eat, reduce bloat, and relieve menstrual cramps.
Vitamin A. This vitamin helps maintain healthy, acne-free skin and may even help reduce heavy periods.
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