Research shows that these foods, along with staying hydrated, can help reduce menstrual symptoms such as bloating, water retention, poor concentration, and irritability.
Load up on calcium
Calcium is a girl’s BFF during her period. Research shows the bone-boosting mineral can both reduce menstrual cramp pains and reduce bloating and water retention. Calcium can also help your mood and increase concentration. Found in: dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese as well as certain plant-based sources, including almonds, bok choy, broccoli, and leafy greens.
Focus on fiber
The last thing you want during your period is to feel more bloated. Fiber, which keeps your digestive track running smoothly, can help. Eat plenty of fiber throughout your period to ensure regularity. Found in: almonds, apples, artichokes, beans, blackberries, chia seeds, persimmons, sweet potatoes, whole grains. These are signs you’re not eating enough fiber.
Heavy periods can contribute to iron deficiency anemia in women, which can cause brain fog, tiredness, and mood swings. Even if you don’t have a heavy period, eating foods high in the mineral iron during your period is a good idea. Found in: beans, beef, dark chocolate, lamb, leafy greens, nuts, sunflower seeds, tofu. These are anemia symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.
Make room for magnesium
File this under “so now you know”: Carolyn Dean, MD, author of The Magnesium Miracle, explains that women crave chocolate during their periods because of its magnesium content. Research shows that magnesium helps relieve PMS symptoms such as headaches and cramps. Found in: avocados, bananas, beans, dark chocolate, fish, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, yogurt.
Fuel up on omega-3s and vitamin B12
Discomfort from menstrual cramps can be significantly reduced with a combination of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. Found in: eggs, flaxseeds, nuts, seafood, seeds, yogurt. These are clues you might be deficient in vitamin B12.
Don’t forget about vitamin D
New studies have shown that having low vitamin D levels can cause irregular periods; vitamin D also plays a role in boosting energy levels, bolstering mood, and fighting insomnia—all issues when you’re on your period. Found in: fish oils, fortified milk, egg yolks.