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Foods for Menstrual Cramps

Are there any foods that help to prevent menstrual cramps?
(December 30, 2010)

Foods That Help Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps are a very common affliction that several women go through on a monthly basis. Even though this is such a common problem, it can be difficult for some women to deal with it. For some women, the cramps are relatively mild, causing some amount of pain and discomfort. However, there are several cases, where women go through menstrual cramps that are so severe, they can barely move or even get out of bed. The use of over the counter pain relievers may not always be very effective if the cramps are too severe.

This is probably why several women ask their doctors, “are there any food to relieve a person from menstrual pains?”.

What foods help menstrual cramps?

In case you suffer from severe pain and discomfort just before or during your period, there are certain exercises and foods that help with cramps. Following a healthy diet, which includes certain foods that help menstrual cramps, can help reduce the pain to a great extent. Studies indicate that just consuming food for menstrual cramps may not necessarily reduce the cramps that you feel. However, certain foods can alleviate the pain, by reducing the intensity or the severity of these cramps. Moreover, women have also claimed that the consumption of a food that helps menstrual cramps could also restore the levels of energy in the body, thereby reducing tiredness, fatigue and lethargy, all of which are quite common during the menstrual cycle. Therefore, even woman who is menstruation should follow a specific diet, which includes high quantities of foods that help with cramps. Given below are some of the most commonly recommended foods to help menstrual cramps:

• Fish: There are several varieties of fish that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. These acids contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can help in minimizing overall body pain, including menstrual cramps. Hence, eating a higher quantity of fish just before and during your menstrual cycle can help reduce cramp pain and can allow you to remain more active, even during your period.
• Fruits and Vegetables: At times, a deficiency of a certain vitamin or a mineral could lead to severe cramps during the menstrual cycle. Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, it is important to include a wide variety of these foods in your diet at all times. Green leafy veggies like spinach, cabbage and kale are especially important. In case of fruits, it is best to eat the skin as far as possible, to avoid other menstrual problems. Other uncomfortable menstrual symptoms that can be alleviated by the consumption of such foods are sluggishness and bloating sensation.
• Whole grains: Plenty of foods that are made from whole grains should be consumed during the menstrual cycle. However, food items that contain the word “enrich” are not very useful, as it indicates that the products are not made from whole grains. It is best to opt for foods that are made from 100% whole wheat or other whole grains.
• Flax seed: One of the main factors that lead to menstrual cramps in women is the production of prostaglandin in the body. The consumption of Flax seed can help reduce the production of prostaglandin, which in turn minimizes the impact of menstrual cramps on the body. Hence, women are advised to consume anywhere between one and two tablespoons of flax seed while they menstruate. It may be best to sprinkle ground flax seed over salad, cereal, yogurt or a smoothie.
• Basil: Several women state that the consumption of Basil Tea during the menstrual cycle can help to alleviate menstrual pain and cramps. For maximum effects, it is best to drink a cup of basil tea after every hour or so. A small amount of cinnamon powder can also be sprinkled over the tea, to enhance its taste and effectiveness. In case you cannot drink basil tea, you could try adding basil leaves to your food.
• Ginger: This is probably the most commonly used home remedy for reducing pain and cramps. Ginger can be used in several ways to reduce the excruciating pain. You can make some ginger tea and add some honey or lemon juice to it, before drinking it at regular intervals throughout the day. Alternately, you could increase the amount of ginger you use in your food, while cooking.
• Nuts: Certain varieties of nuts, such as almonds are high in Vitamin E, magnesium, calcium as well as other nutrients, which can help reduce menstrual cramps to a great extent.
• Herbal tea: Most women tend to lose their appetites during their period and they increase their consumption of fluids like tea. Instead of drinking regular tea, it is best to consume either wintergreen or peppermint tea, to relieve abdominal cramps. These herbs can also be added to regular black tea instead. The recommended dose for these herbs is around 3 cups a day.
• Vitamin supplements: It has been observed that adding a supplement containing Vitamin E, calcium, zinc, magnesium or thiamine can reduce not just menstrual cramps, but also bloating and the symptoms of PMS.

In addition to the food for menstrual cramps mentioned above, it is important for women to drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Foods to avoid during the menstrual cycle

Just like there are certain foods that help menstrual cramps, there are a few food items, which could aggravate them. Some of the foods that should be avoided by you during the menstrual cycle include:

• Red meat
• Whole dairy products
• Tea
• Coffee or other products that contain caffeine
• Chocolate
• Oily food
• Colas and other aerated beverages

While the foods to help menstrual cramps are relatively safe and healthy for most women, it is best to consult a doctor, before consuming any of them. In case of women who are suffering from any particular medical condition, it is best to consult a medical health care provider and ask what foods help with cramps in their case.

Submitted by S M on December 30, 2010 at 12:58


Yes, there are foods that will help relieve menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps, or dysmenorrheal, causes a dull pain in the lower abdomen. It may extend to your back and reach up to your legs. The pain can range from mild to severe, causing discomfort and putting a halt to all regular activities. Fortunately, there are foods for menstrual cramps that reduce the pain and help you feel better and more energetic. The most trusted remedy is ginger which can be had in different ways to clear the numbing pain. You can boil inch long slices of ginger in water and simmer it for about 15 minutes. Strain the liquid. To this, add unrefined sugar and drink it whenever you can through the day. Unrefined sugar is needed as it will preserve the nutrients and reduce the pain.

To the strained ginger decoction you can add honey and drink it twice a day. You may also include the juice of one lemon as this will relieve cramps and also restore energy levels when you are fatigued. Add plenty of water to this drink as it hydrates you and remove toxins from the body. Ginger in general is considered to add heat to the body, adding lemon will cool it and help in lessening the flow.
You can add wintergreen or peppermint to your tea and drink this twice or thrice a day to overcome the pain. Eat more of vegetables and fruits during your menstrual periods as they are full of fiber and help in cleansing estrogen from your body. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.

It has been found that supplements of vitamin E, thiamine, zinc, magnesium and calcium reduce menstrual cramps, bloating and PMS symptoms. You can also foods rich in these minerals and vitamins such as green leafy vegetables, milk, yogurt, almonds, lean meat, fish and whole grains to keep you fit. Any deficiency of these minerals can also lead to menstrual cramps. So, it is best to make them part of your everyday diet.

Basil helps in reducing cramps, which you can add to your food or make tea from basil leaves.. Store a large jug at room temperature and drink half a cup every few hours to ease cramps. A little cinnamon powder can also be sprinkled to your tea or added to you foods.

Avoid coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks as they contain certain oils that can trigger nervous energy causing more pain. The caffeine in the drinks can also increase the cramps.

Submitted by S M on July 26, 2010 at 12:00


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