Monthly cramps are a natural part of being a woman. There is no reason why your monthly cycle should affect your life or your workout routine. To get the best from your body you need to look after it. During your period it is important to eat well and provide your body with the right nutrients.

These are the 3 foods to avoid if you get monthly cramps:

 

#1. Chocolate.

 

We all crave sweet things around that time of the month, but chocolate is a bad option for girls who get stomach cramps. Chocolate contains the 3 worst ingredients:

  • Sugar, an inflammatory which increases cramping.
  • Dairy, full of omega-6 fatty acids which are also an inflammatory that increases cramping.
  • Caffeine, a vasoconstrictor. Caffeine constricts blood vessels which raise tension around your uterus making cramps feel worse.

 

Switch to: Fruit and Nuts

 

Rather than chocolate and lollies try snacking on fruit and nuts. Flaxseeds, walnuts and chia seeds are a good choice as they are full of Omega-3 fatty acids which helps prevent stomach cramps.

Make sure you are well hydrated, sipping water throughout the day is the best way to keep snack cravings at bay.

If you still feel the need for a chocolate hit, limit yourself to small bites of dark chocolate. The magnesium in dark chocolate relaxes the nervous system and helps stop sugar cravings.

 

#2. Meats.

 

Fatty meats are high in saturated fats which can aggravate the stomach and worsen cramps. Eating processed meats causes bloating and a build up of uncomfortable gas.

Red meat is very heavy and difficult to digest. It is best to avoid very meaty meals if your stomach is feeling sensitive. Try to have leaner meats or fish which is full of vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids.

 

Switch to: Chickpeas and Kidney Beans

 

If you want to avoid meat completely it is still important your body gets enough iron. The average woman requires 18 milligrams of iron per day. Fresh, canned or powdered beans found in natural protein powders are a good source of iron. It is also important that you get enough fibre to keep your diet as balanced as possible.

 

#3. Salt

 

Too much salt will always make you feel puffy and bloated as the sodium causes fluid retention. For women it is possible to retain up to 1.5 litres of water from a high sodium intake which is a lot of bloating! Holding a lot of fluid will make monthly cramps feel even worse!

Salt also raises blood pressure which affects your emotions at a very emotional time of the month. Women with a sodium high diet are much more likely to comfort eat or eat too much which causes pressure on sensitive stomachs.

Avoid unhealthy or fast foods as these contain the highest sodium content. Also remember that salt causes dehydration, if you have eaten something salty and you are thirsty try to avoid sugary drinks. Two wrongs do not make a right!

 

Switch to: Herbs and Spices

 

Instead of using salt to flavour your food experiment with herbs and spices. Not only will you notice your stomach cramps lessening, you’ll also notice how much tastier your meals are.

 

And don’t forget its not just food that you need to think about. Giving up alcohol is a great way to ease monthly cramps and switching your morning coffee for an energy boosting smoothie with no added caffeine will help a lot. During your period you will need to pay more attention to what you are eating, when you are eating and how much you are eating. The best way to maintain a healthy body is through creating balance. If you feel you are lacking in vitamins, minerals or nutrients, add supplements or natural protein powders to your diet to regain the balance.

 

Do you have more foods to add to our list? Let us know your tips in the comments below…