With the right diet, you can tackle menstrual cramps. We tell you what nutrients your body needs in each cycle phase.
A woman’s menstrual cycle has several phases. A menstrual cycle usually lasts 28 days, but can last between 25 and 35 days depending on the woman. A cycle consists of a total of three phases.
Ovulation occurs between the twelfth and fourteenth day of the cycle. This is when a follicle in the ovary ruptures and releases an egg into the fallopian tube, which then carries the egg to the uterus. If the egg cell is not fertilized, it dies.
The last phase of the cycle is called the secretion phase. The ruptured follicle develops into a corpus luteum, which produces the hormone progesterone. This hormone affects the remodeling of the uterine lining to prepare the fertilized egg.
If the egg is not fertilized and implanted in the uterus, the corpus luteum goes back. This causes the progesterone level to drop and the uterine lining to break down. This is where menstrual bleeding begins.
Cycle phase: The right nutrition against mood swings
These changes in your body also affect your emotions. One day you may feel cheerful and full of energy, and the next day you are constantly on the verge of tears.
In addition, the menstrual cycle also causes pain in the abdomen or chest area. If you recognize your needs during menstruation, you can affect your emotional state with your diet.
Depending on the cycle phase, your body’s needs for nutrients, minerals and vitamins change. With the right diet, you can optimally support the change of sex hormones.
The menstrual cycle can be divided into the flowering phase and the abandonment phase. The former describes the end of menstruation and ovulation, the latter then the phase after ovulation and menstruation.
Flowering phase: You need these nutrients at the end of menstruation
At the end of the menstrual cycle, your body needs a lot of folic acid, zinc and vitamins A and C.
- You can get folic acid in cauliflower, spinach, kale, wheat germ, almonds, strawberries and mangoes.
- You can find zinc in emmentaler cheese, beef, millet, lentils, oatmeal, poppy seeds and peanuts.
- Fennel, broccoli, sea buckthorn, kiwi, red peppers, spinach, cauliflower and kale give you vitamin C.
- You get vitamin A. Chicory, carrots, spinach, peas, liver, tomatoes and apricots.
Release phase: Important nutrients after ovulation
In the letting go phase, you are likely to be plagued by mood swings, loneliness, fatigue and irritability. You prefer to keep to yourself and retire.
Your appetite also changes, you tend to have cravings and cravings for particularly salty or sweet foods. With potassium, calcium, iron and omega-3 fats, you can support the changes in your hormone balance.
- You get potassium in Avocado, raw cocoa, potatoes, lentils, honeydew melon and spinach.
- Calcium gives you Emmental, Gouda, Parmesan, Raw cocoa, milk, sesame, poppy and chia seeds.
- You can find the iron in pumpkin seeds, soybeans, oatmeal and raw cocoa.
- You can get omega-3 fatty acids from Walnuts, flaxseed oil, rapeseed oil, salmon, tuna, herring, sprat and chia seeds.
It depends on the right foods
Even with acute menstrual cramps, you can intervene against abdominal pain and headaches with the right food. If you suffer from cramps, women’s coat, raw cocoa and yarrow herb help you.
Ginger can relieve headaches and nausea, and when you are in a bad mood, take raw cocoa or daisy tea.
You should avoid alcohol
Just as certain foods can help you during your cycle, there are also things you would rather not consume. This includes, for example, alcohol.
If you drink more than thirst in a phase of menstrual cramps, you can make it significantly worse. Because alcohol has a direct effect on the body’s hormonal balance.
Drinking significant amounts of alcohol increases the risk of increasing PMS symptoms such as headaches, mood swings and fatigue.
Researchers estimate that 11 percent of PMS symptoms worldwide are actually due to excessive alcohol consumption. In Europe, it is even 21 percent.
Nicotine has a negative effect on your body
Like alcohol, nicotine also has a negative effect on your body, especially if you smoke cigarettes during your PMS symptoms.
According to a Japanese study, smoking 20 or more cigarettes a day affects the menstrual cycle. Smokers therefore suffered from more intense PMS symptoms than non-smokers.
The ability to concentrate was particularly reduced, just as the heavy smokers’ water accumulation and pain perception increased.
Other studies show that during the secretion phase, your nicotine cravings actually increase. When menstruation then begins, the desire for it decreases.
Exercise for PMS symptoms
Exercise can actually relieve the unpleasant pain before and during your period. Researchers from an Iranian study observed about 40 female students between the ages of 18 and 25 and had some of them complete three 60-minute training sessions a week.
After a two-month test phase, the athletic women showed a reduction in PMS symptoms. Women who did not exercise every day did not notice any change.
It did not matter what sport the women played. Yoga, aerobics, walking or going to the gym can help.
So if you eat right and exercise regularly, you can reduce your menstrual cycle problems.