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What Foods to Eat and Avoid on Your Period

It’s hard to predict exactly how you’ll feel during menstruation. While some women barely notice any symptoms, others struggle to get out of bed thanks to cramping, headaches, pain, and nausea. Today, Flo reveals the top foods to eat on your period to alleviate swelling, bloating, mood swings, and much more.

Whenever PMS strikes, reach for one of these healthy options to help ease the situation:

Salmon

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, this fish is known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which relax the uterus and fight cramps. Consider making a meal of grilled salmon, or salmon sushi for a dose of high-quality protein and plenty of B vitamins.

Bananas

An affordable and conveniently packaged fruit, bananas tackle irregular bowel movements or period-induced diarrhea. Boasting vast amounts of magnesium, potassium, and fiber, they keep you regular and stave off cramps. Plus, specific substances found in bananas act as antidepressants that relax muscles and boost overall mood. 

Dark chocolate

You probably don’t need another excuse to nosh on extra chocolate. It’s undoubtedly one of the most popular foods to eat on your period for numerous reasons. Loaded with antioxidants, organic dark chocolate is the quintessential comfort food.

Just be sure to stick to whole, unprocessed dark chocolates as opposed to manufactured sweets full of additives. These will only deliver empty calories with little to no health benefits. 

Citrus

A smart alternative to sugary treats, oranges, lemons, and limes are packed with fiber and vitamin C, and provide relief from mood swings and bloating. Meanwhile, their high water content keeps you hydrated. 

Combat PMS-related nausea and fatigue with a glass of lemon water or a (lightly sweetened or unsweetened) citrus smoothie). Remember, moderation is key for getting a dose of feel-good energy without stomach irritation. 

Eggs

The iron, fat-soluble nutrients, B vitamins, essential fatty acids, and protein in eggs yolks does wonders for PMS. But if you have a sensitive stomach, steer clear of hard-boiled eggs which cause gas, bloating, and heartburn.

Chamomile

Last on the list of foods to eat on your period: chamomile tea. This soothing beverage relaxes both your nerves and your uterus. It reduces the severity of cramps, squashes stress and anxiety, and even promotes better sleep.

During menstruation, you’re simultaneously losing blood and undergoing rapid hormonal shifts. Opt for foods with ample nutrients like vitamins, minerals, water, protein, iron, and fiber. At the same time, try your best to avoid the following:

Processed foods

Canned foods, heavily processed meat, and other items made with chemicals and preservatives worsen bloating and water retention. Their high levels of sodium are ordinarily unhealthy, but do even more damage during that time of the month.

Candy and snacks

Satisfy your sweet tooth by munching on juicy, fresh-picked fruit, and forget the store-bought snacks. They contribute to bloating and gas, while delivering a short-term spike in blood sugar. A brief sugar high inevitably leads to a major crash, leaving you worse off than before.

Alcohol

For the five to seven days of monthly menstruation, reduce or eliminate consumption of alcoholic beverages. Why is this important? Because the loss of blood at this time lowers your blood pressure, making you more vulnerable to alcohol’s side effects. It also aggravates fatigue and boosts menstrual flow.

Spicy foods

Already struggling with tiredness, intense bleeding, and cramps? Then eating spicy dishes will only add gas and bloating to your list of ailments. 

If you can’t bring yourself to give up all things spicy, at least swap them for natural, organic spices like fresh chilis. Furthermore, studies suggest that cinnamon, turmeric, and fennel could help battle common PMS symptoms, but further research is required. These feature anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-hypertensive properties. Just practice portion control to prevent an upset stomach. 

Eating chocolate promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin, which regulate mood and balance neuromediators, while encouraging relaxation. After becoming accustomed to this positive reaction to chocolate, your body starts to crave it. It only intensifies during menstruation due to hormonal shifts and the loss of blood and nutrients. 

Consider swapping that chocolate bar with a serving of sliced fruit. If that doesn’t seem realistic, then opt for organic dark chocolate with less sugar when you really need to indulge.

How does eating citrus affect your period?

As mentioned, water with a twist of lemon ups your vitamin C intake and maintains hydration. Again, fresh-squeezed juices and blended smoothies are awesome foods to eat on your period as long as you minimize sugar content. Fruit contains plenty of natural sugars so there’s no need to add more to these beverages.

What happens if you eat spicy foods?

Each person is unique and some women claim that spicy foods actually fight period pain. On the other hand, those with a sensitive digestive system report feeling nauseous and bloated after consuming spicy foods. Scientists have yet to confirm or deny either of these claims.

Do bananas really relieve cramps?

Yes, bananas can help protect you from PMS-related cramping and balance out mood swings. It’s OK to have more than one banana a day, but as always, practice moderation.

There is an abundance of delicious foods to eat on your period to get you through the monthly pain and discomfort. To aid digestion and regain what’s being lost during menstruation, ditch sugary, salty, fatty treats in favor of heart-friendly, high-fiber meals, with tons of fruits and vegetables.

Note that when preparing vegetables, be sure to cook them at a low to medium temperature to preserve as many nutrients as possible. Avoid deep-frying them or using too much butter or oil; instead grill, roast, or steam them to maximize benefits.

Lastly, don’t skip meals while on your period as it tends to aggravate nausea and fatigue. Always choose natural, organic products over processed and refined ones, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and manage PMS symptoms effectively.

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