Menstruation can be a tricky time of the month -- your hormones change rapidly, and blood loss can deplete the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function optimally. The best foods to eat during this time can help you ward off a variety of negative symptoms.
Foods High in Magnesium
Eat magnesium-rich foods during your period, especially if you suffer from bloating. Magnesium can relieve this symptom, as well as others that develop shortly before your period, according the University of Maryland Medical Center. A study published in the September 2008 issue of "Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey" found that magnesium could relieve migraine headaches brought on by menstruation, as well. Eat almonds and cashews, pumpkin seeds, black walnuts, beans and green leafy greens to boost your magnesium intake.
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Foods High in Manganese
Dr. Phyllis Johnson, a researcher with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center, suggests upping your manganese intake. It may decrease your menstrual flow. Failing to get enough manganese in your diet can increase your menstrual flow by as much as 50 percent, according to Dr. Johnson. This effect may be related to manganese's role in helping your blood clot. Eat wheat germ, buckwheat, beans, pineapple and bulgur to get more manganese in your diet.
Foods High in Essential Fatty Acids
A diet high in essential fatty acids may be key to avoiding menstrual cramps, according to Dr. Tori Hudson, program director at the Institute of Women's Health and Integrative Medicine. She notes on her website that your fluctuating hormones during menstruation can be brought under control through diet. Consume fish such as halibut, sardines, tuna and salmon, as well as flax seed, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for their linolenic acid content, a fatty acid that relaxes uterine muscles and prevents the contractions that cause cramping.
Foods High in Iron
You generally require extra iron during your period to replenish your red blood count and avoid anemia, a condition that can leave you lethargic, irritable, depressed and weak. Eating liver and other organ meats is an excellent way to introduce more iron into your diet, but you can also get iron from red meat, fish, poultry and shellfish, as well as dried beans, molasses and dark green leafy greens such as spinach.