Eating the wrong foods during your period can exacerbate your symptoms like bloating, mood swings and decreased energy levels. I don’t believe in deprivation, so eat the foods you crave, but in appropriate portions and eat them with other nutrient dense foods, which can help you feel fuller sooner to decrease the likelihood of going overboard on the others.
We know that eating the right foods can help decrease bloating, improve your mood, and even give you more energy, but eating the wrong types of food can actually exacerbate these problems. To help you better cope through the challenges of your period or PMS, you should try to avoid these foods from days 14 of your cycle through the first few days of your period, as they can leave you lethargic, bloated, and not feeling your best.
When we’re talking about foods to avoid while you’re on your period, I will say that consuming a lot of dairy during or outside of your menstrual cycle can make your period a lot worse. Foods like milk, cheese and ice cream contain arachidonic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid that can increase inflammation and cause cramping. But the biggest problem is a protein called A1 casein. In some people, A1 casein cleaves in the digestive tract to form a potent opiate-type molecule (called casomorphin or BCM7) that stimulates histamine and other inflammatory cytokines resulting in more of the symptoms we’re trying to avoid from pain, cramping, headaches, and bloating.
If you’re not a functional human being before your first cup of coffee, I’ve been there too. But, drinking coffee during your period can actually make your cramps worse. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it makes the blood vessels in your body constrict. This can cause the vessels that feed your uterus to tighten, making your period cramps even more painful than they already were.
Your blood sugar levels are all over the place when you’re menstruating, and sugar only adds to the rollercoaster. Sugar is inflammatory, so it has the ability to make your cramps feel worse during your period. It can also make you super bloated whether you’re on or off your period, and no one wants that. Ever heard of a sugar rush? It’s a real thing. Eating a ton of sugar can give you an immediate ‘high’ or burst of energy, however it comes crashing down just as quickly. Your menstrual cycle makes you tired, and adding in a sugar crash will have you falling asleep at your desk. Sugar is a definite no-no when it comes to what you should eat on your period.
I feel like this should seem obvious but not a lot of people know that foods with an excess of salt cause water retention and bloating – not just on your period! The hormones that come along with your period already cause bloating, so you don’t want to add to this by inhaling a bunch of salty food and drink like fast food, canned soup, frozen dinners or soda.