Nutritionist suggests best foods for healthy period

  • Nutritionist Avantii Deshpande suggests naturopathic remedies and a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and iron to help with a healthy period.
Avantii Deshpaande says the menstrual cycle is regulated by the complex interaction of hormones which could lead to a range of symptoms.(Pexels)
Avantii Deshpaande says the menstrual cycle is regulated by the complex interaction of hormones which could lead to a range of symptoms.(Pexels)
Published on Apr 27, 2022 01:51 PM IST
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You may crave for spicy or sugary treats before or during your periods even as you suffer from the usual discomforts associated with arrival of Aunt Flo from cramping to mood swings. However, giving in to your unhealthy cravings is not expected to help much or provide any relief. So, instead of grabbing a packet of chips or eating unhealthy doses of desserts, one may go for foods that ease period pain and other symptoms. (Also read: Ayurveda expert on rules to consume nuts, dos and don'ts, best time to eat)

In an interaction with HT Digital, Avantii Deshpande, PCOS and Gut Health Nutritionist suggests naturopathic remedies and a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and iron to help with a healthy period.

The author of Learn The Art To Eat Smart says one's diet, levels of fitness, mental state as well as optimum levels of nutrients in the body could lessen the intensity or even help to have a painless period.

Avantii says the menstrual cycle is regulated by the complex interaction of hormones which could lead to a range of symptoms.

She also suggests foods and naturopathy remedy that could help with healthy period:

1. Seeds cycling: Seed cycling is a naturopathic remedy that is claimed to balance hormones by regulating the hormones estrogen in the first half of your menstrual cycle and the hormone progesterone in the second half. There are three phases of the menstrual cycle. Day 1 from the period onset to Day 11 is called follicular phase while ovulatory phase also known as fertility phase is between Day 12 and Day 17. Luteal phase is between Day 18 to Day 25.

In seeds cycling its suggested to have 1 tablespoon each of ground flax seeds and pumpkin seeds per day for the first 13-14 days of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase)

At the luteal phase its suggested to consume 1 tablespoon each of ground sunflower and sesame seeds per day until the first day of the next period cycle starts again. It would be fine to follow this as the seeds are a natural food and will not lead to any side effects.

2. Calcium rich foods: Research has indicated that both calcium and manganese rich foods reduce PMS like mood swings, menstrual pain and water retention. Calcium rich foods include milk and milk products especially curds, seeds (suggested in the seed cycling), dark green leafy vegetables and lentils. Manganese is present in whole grains like rice, wheat, lentils and sprouts and leafy vegetables. Make it a point to have a wholesome diet with these foods.

3. Magnesium rich foods: Magnesium rich foods improve the progesterone levels and this is helpful especially in the perimenopausal stages. Magnesium also known to relax the smooth muscles of the uterus and can reduce the menstrual pain. Foods rich in magnesium are oats, wheat germ, seeds, almonds, yogurt, fish, broccoli, carrots and fruits like banana, kiwi, papayas, guava, dry figs, berries etc. Make it a point to consume at least 2 serves of the fruits in the day.

4. Omega 3 fatty acids: Omega 3 fatty acids i.e., DHA and EPA is an essential fatty acid which cannot be made in the body but has to supplied from food. Fatty fish like sardine and salmon are rich in DHA and EPA and seeds like flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seed and nuts like almonds and walnuts are rich in ALA which gets converted to DHA and EPA in the body.

The reason to follow seeds cycling is mostly to get magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids are known to reduce the testestone levels in the blood especially for women with PCOS.

5. Iron: There is loss of blood during the menstruation and it is a known fact that women of the menstrual age in India are anemic. Though the assimilation of iron is better in females as compared to males it is important that the hemoglobin levels are at least above 11g/dl.

Include iron rich foods like ragi, amaranth (rajgeera) which can be made in the form of bhakri or cooked like rice. Peanuts, almonds, walnuts and all the seeds are also rich in iron. Having alteast 1 katori of cooked leafy greens in the diet three times a week will supply iron too. Beetroot, dates also could be included for improving the iron levels.

For better absorption of iron protein is needed so make sure to include at least 50g of proteins in the diet everyday distributed in all the meals.

"If you experience sugar cravings during the menstrual cycle which is very common make sure you have a healthy sweet option like chikki, laddos, dark chocolate as compared to ice creams or other bakery goods," concludes Avantii Deshpaande.

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Friday, July 01, 2022