• Remana Jamal

Nutrition During Menstruation

Many women suffer from unpleasant side effects during their menstrual period, such as cramps, headache, nausea, mood swings, and others, but some foods can reduce these symptoms and some can make them worse.

Also, in the premenstrual period, the desire to eat foods rich in sugar, salt, and fats, such as chocolate, pastries, snacks, and sweets increases.

It is called premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which includes the emotional, physical, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms related to the menstrual cycle, such as irritability, mood swings, cravings, cramps, and anxiety. The normal change in estrogen and progesterone (hormones) levels in the menstrual cycle appear to affect the function of serotonin (the happiness hormone), leading to symptoms of the syndrome.

What to eat:

  1. Water: it keeps you hydrated and reduces dehydration headaches.

  2. Fruits: such as watermelon and cucumbers to keep the body hydrated, as well as sweet fruits to reduce sugar cravings.

  3. Green leafy vegetables: such as kale and spinach to boost iron and magnesium levels.

  4. Ginger: one cup has an anti-inflammatory effect, soothes muscle pain, reduces nausea and vomiting.

  5. Chicken: eating protein is very important during the menstrual cycle to increase the feeling of satiety and reduce food cravings.

  6. Fish: rich in iron, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, it reduces the severity of menstrual pain, depression, and mood swings.

  7. Turmeric: relieves menstrual symptoms.

  8. Dark chocolate: a delicious, useful snack rich in iron and magnesium.

  9. Nuts: rich in omega-3, protein, magnesium, and various vitamins.

  10. Flaxseed oil: contains omega-3 and treats constipation.

  11. Quinoa: rich in nutrients such as iron, protein, and magnesium, it increases satiety for a long time.

  12. Lentils and beans: rich in protein and iron.

  13. Yogurt: many people get yeast infections during their menstrual cycle. Yogurt fights infections and nourishes healthy bacteria.

  14. Tofu: rich in iron, magnesium, and calcium.

  15. Peppermint tea: calms menstruation, menstrual cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.

What to avoid:

  1. Salt: consuming too much of it leads to water retention.

  2. Sugar: eating too much of it leads to a high energy spike, followed by a sudden drop in energy and mood swings.

  3. Coffee: too much caffeine causes water retention, bloating, increasing headaches, and digestive problems.

  4. Spicy foods: it is best to avoid them during your period.

  5. Red meat: red meat is high in iron, but it is also high in prostaglandins (hormones) and should be avoided during menstruation. High levels of prostaglandins cause cramps.


We have learned that due to the change in hormones before and during the menstrual cycle, many side effects occur, so it is necessary to pay attention and follow a healthy diet and reduce foods rich in fats, added sugars, and sodium. And replace them with healthier foods rich in iron, magnesium, protein, natural sugar, chicken, fish, fruits, green vegetables, yogurt, quinoa, and others.

Always remember what you eat can reduce or increase your symptoms, choose wisely.


Souza, L., Martins, K., Cordeiro, M., Rodrigues, Y., Rafacho, B. and Bomfim, R., 2018. Do Food Intake and Food Cravings Change during the Menstrual Cycle of Young Women?. Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia / RBGO Gynecology and Obstetrics, 40(11), pp.686-692.

Healthline. 2020. What To Eat During Your Period: Fish, Leafy Greens, Yogurt, And More.

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