Most of us women have the misfortune of experiencing menstrual cramps every month. The cramps can be so agonising that it might feel as though an alien is doing its very best to claw its way out. Some swear by using regular exercise to eliminate the odds of cramps ever happening again but, for many of us, no amount of regular exercise ever seems to work. Painkillers and heating pads do help, but what happens when neither of them is available? Besides the fact that you woke up to hormonal acne this morning, there’s also the ever intensifying need to cry. Is the universe conspiring against you? Surely, there has to be a way to help us feel even a little bit better? Fortunately, there is! Some foods may be able to alleviate period cramps, even if they may not be able to get rid of them entirely. Read on to find out.
Love a banana split? Consuming a banana might just be the solution to your period cramps. When you get period cramps, it’s a sign that your uterus is contracting to expel its unused lining, accounting for the pain in your abdominal region. Bananas contain plenty of magnesium, an essential mineral which serves as a natural muscle relaxant and helps ease the intensity of your uterine contractions. Additionally, bananas are also rich in fibre, which will most certainly aid in improving your bowel movements and reduce any digestive-related pain. Bananas also contain boron, a mineral that may be able to reduce menstrual cramps. However, if you are on a weight-loss plan, you may wish to keep your intake of bananas in check since they are rather high in sugar.
Chocolate isn’t all bad — at least, not dark chocolate. Aim for the ones that are at least above 70% cocoa. Not unlike bananas, dark chocolate contains plenty of muscle-relaxing magnesium. Even a little bit of dark chocolate may be potent enough to help relax the muscles in your uterus and let it know that it really ought to take a chill pill. They are also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which can help improve your overall mood. You know, from all those mood swings we get.
Think lemons, oranges, and pomelos. Since citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and fibre, they may be able to help reduce the overall intensity of your menstrual cramps. This is partly due to the fact that vitamin C exerts an anti-inflammatory effect on your body, thus easing the pain even just a little bit. Furthermore, vitamin C aids in the optimal absorption of iron into your bloodstream, which can help your body effectively replace blood lost through your period.
Hydration is absolutely crucial when it comes to remedying period cramps, since water retention may worsen the pain. It might sound quite counterintuitive to consume water when you’ve got water retention, but water is actually the best way to counter this. Watermelons are an excellent food solution here, given the fact that the word ‘water’ is found in its name. It really is quite easy to surmise that watermelons contain lots of water. Consider avoiding consuming cold watermelons, though. Cold foods and beverages may end up aggravating your period cramps, instead. Of course, you could always just drink more water. Hot water is a great idea.
Head for the carton of milk or yoghurt in your refrigerator. Its calcium content may be able to effectively reduce the severity of period cramps. Women should aim to consume at least 1000 milligrams of calcium per day, and dairy products can very easily help you fill the gap. But it’s not the end of the road for those of us who are lactose intolerant! Consider stocking up on lactose-free milk or greek yoghurt, both of which are less likely to make your gut unhappy.
Dark Leafy Greens
If you’re leery of anything dairy, consider consuming more dark, leafy greens. Veggies such as spinach, kale, or kangkong (water spinach) also contain lots of calcium. They’re also rich in fibre, which may be very helpful for easing any constipation that you may experience. Don’t worry about calcium being destroyed by heat when they’re cooked either. Their calcium content should still remain intact regardless of the way you prepare these dark leafy greens. These veggies also contain plenty of iron to help your body replenish the blood you lose during your period.
If you don’t take any birth control pills, diabetes medications, or blood thinners, you may wish to consider investing in some flaxseeds. Some studies indicate that regular consumption of flaxseeds may be able to significantly reduce the severity of your period cramps. This is due to its high omega-3 fatty acid content, which may decrease the release of prostaglandins, the substance that plays a huge role in causing these cramps to happen in the first place. You may wish to consult your doctor before taking flaxseeds, even if you don’t take any of the above medication, though. Flaxseeds may disrupt your hormonal balance since they can function similarly to oestrogen.