Can a Change in Diet Affect Your Period?
“Uh-oh…” You realize it’s that time of the month again when you feel you need a bit more TLC, like snoozing longer and enjoying a few more snuggles from your favorite person before prepping for work. Or maybe it’s taking the day off so you can better “process” your hormonal fluctuations while reading your favorite bedside romances. And of course, what better way to show yourself some real lovin’ than by indulging in your favorite “menstrual edibles.” Hmm…so which one will it be for today, that tub of Chocolate Mint Ice Cream that would be perfect with some candy sprinkles or maybe a few of those perfectly glazed Krispy Kreme donuts your BFF just sent over?
Ahhh...yes…our love affair with food. Food can be such a dependable friend, especially when we have our period. It comforts us, it makes us happy; would it be too much to say that it completes us? But like most relationships, a happy ending can only be possible with the right one—in this case, with the right kind of food.
Are my cravings normal?
Don’t be too hard on yourself! You’re not the one to blame if you feel like stuffing yourself with everything sweet and salty during your monthly cycle. Whenever we go through menstruation, our hormones are typically out of whack, and our bodies undergo certain physiological changes, making us crave certain nutrients.
About a week to 1 1/2 weeks before the onset of menstruation, the food cravings begin, along with the rest of the PMS pack of headaches, tender boobs, acne, and bloating. As estrogen levels bounce up and down, the stress hormone cortisol also joins the party. Our bodies go into defense mode and become metabolically charged, which is a fancy way of saying that our appetites are stimulated. And, just on cue, our bodies seek out carbs and fats that will enable “survival.”
Why carbs? Carbs are needed by the body to produce serotonin (that key hormone that regulates our mood and emotions), which goes down as cortisol goes up. So really, it’s those sneaky hormones that are all at fault here, triggering specific cravings in your body to make up for the drop in serotonin levels.
Should I give in to my cravings?
Two words: instant gratification—unfortunately that’s all you’ll get with junk food. And you can already guess where we’re headed. While giving in to your cravings can satisfy you, that satisfaction will ultimately not last you very long.
Unhealthy carbs, which are, of course, your delicious cream-filled doughnuts and buttery croissants, have high amounts of sugar. To cope with the sugar overload, your body adjusts by pumping out lots of insulin, which can cause a lot of health problems. What makes it worse is that each sugar high comes a whopping sugar crash, which then makes your body go looking for sweet and starchy food all over again. It’s a vicious looping cycle.
So should you give in to your food yearnings? The answer is “yes” and “no.” What we’re trying to say is that you actually should listen to your body and pay attention to your cravings—by giving it what it really needs.
How can a change in diet affect your period?
First off, you don’t gain unwanted weight
We’ve already mentioned how eating unhealthy carbs, and fats can send you into a never-ending tailspin of blood sugar highs and lows that will always leave you wanting more. When you make the effort to ditch those sweets and salties, the pay-off in a leaner, tighter body will be well worth every ounce of self-control.
As most things worth doing, it may require a bit of effort at the start—okay, maybe more than a bit—but it will be easier as you go along. One great tip is to substitute what you’d typically crave with something equally filling and satisfying.
Why not replace your starchy carbs with something more healthful yet still uber delicious, like an Orange-Pistachio Quinoa salad or Quinoa burger? Quinoa is a gluten-free superfood packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can keep you full and tide you over until the next full meal. Instead of your simple sugar desserts, you can choose water-rich fruits like watermelons and cantaloupes and berries that are rich in antioxidants.
You’ll look and feel better
Of course, dropping the excess pounds will make you look great. But it isn’t just that which will help improve your appearance, especially on your period. Saying goodbye to salty potato chips also means bidding farewell to bloatedness! Consuming too much salt from over-processed food leads to water retention, giving you that puffy look that you’d rather go without.
When you’re suffering from period pains such as headaches and migraines, and menstrual cramps, it’s hard to look like your usual pretty and cheerful self. So avoid pain-triggering foods and drinks such as caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods.
Replace these instead with lots of water, leafy green vegetables to boost iron levels and fight fatigue, anti-inflammatory ginger tea and peppermint tea, and fatty fish with omega-3s to lift your mood. Even dark chocolate rich in iron and magnesium can help relieve severe PMS symptoms. So you see, you need not give up your chocolate cravings altogether!
Change for the Better
A little tweak here and there, and before you know it, you’ll be able to change your diet to stay healthy, look good, and feel even better, especially on your period!Another thing that can affect your period—also for the better, naturally—is period wear, such as Ruby Love Bikini Underwear, ith a built-in absorbent liner that absorbs 2.5 tampons’ worth of flow, or Ruby Love Hi-Waist Underwear, with Dri-Tech Mesh Technology that prevents leaks from all angles. Shop at Ruby Love for confident, worry-proof days and have the time of your month!