10 Healthy Period Foods: Minor Changes That Benefit Your Cycle

Written by Jillian Lai Mei Siew on Fri, 11 November 2022


We often think that we need to take big steps to make big changes in our life. The truth however is the very opposite. Small changes in our daily life can slowly carve a path for a happy and healthy life.

The same goes for our menstrual health as well. Making small changes in our diet and switching to healthy food for periods can make all the difference during your period days.

Here are some minor changes that can help in making your period days easier:

Best foods for menstrual cycle

1. Try out seeds cycling

Seed cycling is a recent practice that claims to balance hormones, improve menstrual health, and aid menopause-related problems. Seeds cycling involves eating ground flaxseed and pumpkin seeds every day during the follicular phase of their menstrual cycle.

The second half of the menstrual cycle is the luteal phase, where seed cycling involves consuming ground sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. The studies on these topics are ongoing.

However, seeds are rich in phytoestrogens which are known to help with imbalanced hormones and aid in regulating the menstrual cycle.

Including seeds in your diet can be helpful for your hormones and menstrual health.

2. Avoid overcooking leafy vegetables

Leafy vegetables are a boon to menstrual health because of their natural nutrients and fiber content. Green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are good sources of iron, folate, potassium, calcium, copper, vitamin A, C, K, and B6. These nutrients are essential in fulfilling the lost iron levels during periods.

But do we get these nutrients after eating them? This depends on if the nutrients are intact before we consume them or if they are properly absorbed in our GI tract.

Overcooking the vegetables can destroy the vitamins and minerals in them. So, it is always advised to consume these leafy vegetables fresh. So, remember not to overcook your greens to conserve the nutrients in them!

3. Consider supplements

There is no denying the fact that supplements can make our lives nutritionally sound. However, many of us shy away from taking supplements and solving the problem of nutritional deficiencies like anemia.

Taking the right supplements with the essential vitamins and minerals can make up for a lot of problems relating to overall and menstrual health. Going on various diets or trying to cut out calories can often lead to deficiencies that can affect periods.

This can be completely avoided by consulting your doctor and starting with the right supplements. Making this small change can indeed make a great difference in your daily life.

4. Choosing the right oils

Unhealthy cooking oils contain trans fats which are one of the most harmful ingredients for our health. These LDL-containing cooking oils can lead to weight gain and even worse, physical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This type of chronic condition can have deleterious effects on menstrual health.

Choosing oils like flaxseed oil, sesame oil, olive oil, coconut oil, etc. come with good fats that can help menstrual health. Using the right amount of oil while cooking and watching the quantities can help in maintaining good health and keep problems like PCOS, PCOS, and dysmenorrhea at bay.

5. Including anti-inflammatory agents

During period days, the shedding of the uterine lining leads to the breaking of cells that release increased amounts of prostaglandins. These prostaglandins are responsible for painful period cramps. These prostaglandins often lead to inflammation in the body.

Consuming anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, cinnamon, nuts, omega-3 fats, and other fresh fruits and vegetables can lower the inflammation in the body and can reduce period pain and cramps.

Inflammation can also cause other period problems like headaches and digestive issues. Including anti-inflammatory foods in your diet comprising food for healthy periods can be a great way to have an inflammation-free period!

6. Give calcium-fortified foods a try

Calcium is an essential mineral that can have a significantly positive effect on menstrual health. Calcium has several roles in women's health. It is not just about bone health, calcium plays an essential part in muscle and hormone health.

Many studies have shown that consuming calcium supplements or dietary calcium can help women reduce Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms like painful menstrual cramps, bloating, water retention, and mood swings.

Research has shown that consuming calcium in some form can be beneficial to women for their bone and menstrual health and should feature as a healthy food during periods. If you are not a fan of dairy or are lactose intolerant try out calcium-fortified foods to make up for this mineral.

7. Trying different ways to consume more water

Drinking ample amounts of water can be a problem for many. We often forget to drink water or drink very little water because of our tight schedule. This can have negative effects on overall health.

Water can flush out toxins, balance hormones, manage constipation and reduce inflammation in the body. But how to drink more water? The answer is to make drinking water fun! Add some sliced citrus fruits, berries, mint leaves, or other herbs to your water and try to keep it wherever you are seated or working. This can help in consuming more amounts of water and keep you calm during period days.

8. Make fiber your best friend

Dietary fiber is essential for maintaining good gut health. The gut microbiota plays a vital role in managing hormones and overall health. During periods, the levels of progesterone and estrogen keep fluctuating. This can lead to problems like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating during periods.

Eating a fiber-rich diet during periods can help you relieve constipation or diarrhea caused due to hormonal imbalance during period days. Including fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, dairy, whole grains, brussels sprouts, lentils, and beans in your diet can act as great foods for a healthy menstrual cycle.

If eating a balanced diet is a problem, try out psyllium husk or other fiber enriched supplements to make up for the lack of fiber in your diet.

9. Watch out for the sugar lurking in your food

Sugar can be a problem when it comes to menstrual health. Consuming a lot of sugar can make you jittery, it can worsen menstrual pain, menstrual cramps, bloating, and even mood swings. Increased sugar intake in the form of cakes, pastries, biscuits, and other desserts can not only affect your menstrual health but also ruin the digestive health of a person.

One can try to avoid the sugar sources that are evident but what about the hidden sugars? Many market-bought foods such as fruit juices, granola bars, healthy smoothies, etc are loaded with sugars without our knowledge. Thoroughly checking food labels and watching out for hidden sugars can help you improve your menstrual health.

10. Counting on herbal teas

Herbal teas are traditional ways that are still standing when it comes to relieving menstrual pain. Including these teas such as ginger tea, fennel tea, chamomile tea, mint tea, etc. can help you relieve menstrual pain and cramps.

Herbal teas also aid digestion and can reduce other PMS symptoms like bloating and indigestion. Try out these herbal teas for yourself and reap the benefits for your menstrual health.

By incorporating these nutrient rich foods in your daily life, you can better your menstrual health and keep your energy levels up with the help of the right foods and vigilant steps.

Keep reading to know more about effective food combinations for a healthy gut.


Jillian Lai Mei Siew

As the Product Consultant Manager of Mega BiO-LiFE, Jillian Lai Mei Siew, has the role of providing a productive team spirit among all Product Consultants to equip them with the right health nutritional information. Jillian is a BSc in Nutrition and Community Health, and a MSc in Nutritional Sciences an from Universiti Putra Malaysia. Affiliated to the Professional Affiliation Languages & Dialects Nutrition Society of Malaysia, NSM, Jillian can speak English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Malay.

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