No woman has an easy time during her monthly periods. However, half the problems we face during our periods can be solved by eating the right food. "Food can counter muscle pain, blood loss and water retention," says Dr Rachna Sethi, a nutritionist. Having said that, you need to follow a different diet during your periods.
Foods to eat
Calcium: Include atleast one food item with calcium in your diet every day. A glass of soya milk or curd is your best option. "It will make your bones strong and give you energy," says Dr Sethi.
Complex carbohydrates: Eat whole wheat grains and fresh fruits for fibre as they fill your stomach without being too heavy. Complex carbohydrates reduce water retention in your body.
Water: You lose a lot of fluids during your periods. "Contrary to popular belief, drinking water does not add to water retention. In fact it is the best solution," says Dr Sethi.
Minerals: Potassium helps reduce water retention. Sweet lime and pineapple are rich in this mineral. Magnesium also reduces the bloated feeling. Eat beans and peanuts for magnesium.
Proteins: They give you the energy required to get through the day during your periods. Also drink milk and eat chicken as they consist valuable proteins.
Vitamin B6: This is known to counter depression. "Eating bananas and oatmeal for breakfast is a good way to start your day," says Dr Sethi.
Iron: This is extremely important because you lose so much blood during those five days. "Eat dates, beans and meat, but in moderation. They are rich in iron," says Dr Sethi.
Foods to avoid
Caffeine: This elevates the level estrogen in your body, increasing the symptoms of PMS. "Cutting down on caffeine found in tea, coffee, colas and chocolates can reduce mood swings," says Dr Sethi.
Alcohol: Any form of alcohol increases pre-menstrual depression.
Sugar: Drastic ups and downs in your sugar level can make you feel lazy and sluggish. Sugar can also cause rapid mood swings. Stay away from sugary foods such as cakes, pastries and colas.
Salt: Salt increases water retention. Foods you should avoid are fast food and of packaged variety which are both high in salt. "Spinach and fenugreek also lead to water retention," says Dr. Sethi.
Keep your diet light and balanced during your periods. Heavy food is simply going to make you feel sluggish and cause mood swings.