What to Eat and What Not to Eat During Your Period

To avoid menstrual pains, it is recommended to increase the consumption of fresh produce rich in vitamins and minerals, and avoid fried and processed foods.

During that time of the month, women can get more stressed out and suffer from mood swings. By eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones, you can help reduce stress, and stay bright and breezy. In this article, you will discover great nutritional tips on what to eat, and what to avoid, during your period.

Recommended foods


The high fiber content in beans and peas helps reduce congestion and cramps. Since you’ll be going to the bathroom more often, the body can get rid of excess liquid. Extra fiber also helps reduce constipation and diarrhea. Legumes also contain high levels of the vitamin B complex, which prevents cramps and fatigue at that time of the month. If you get more gas when you eat beans, eat them in small quantities to begin with and increase this amount slowly over time.


Green vegetables are rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium, and relieve and help prevent menstrual pains. These minerals can help ease tensions and relax you. Green vegetables also help with irritability and contain high quantities of vitamin K, which is needed to prevent excessive bleeding and clot the blood.

Omega-3 fatty acids

A group of substances that are involved in muscular contraction and menstrual pain is called prostaglandins. They are substances similar to hormones which can be combatted with omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in salmon, nuts and flax seed. A study performed in 1995 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that women whose diets contained more omega-3 fatty acids, and were lower in other fats, had fewer symptoms before and during their period.



A report from the Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Centre, USA, stated that young women that consumed small amounts of manganese had an increase in blood flow of up to 50%. Women are therefore recommended to increase the amount of manganese in their diets. Fruit is rich in manganese, but pineapple contains the most. Pineapple also contains bromelianan enzyme that it is thought to relax the muscles and prevent menstrual cramps.


Tea contains manganese, though women should avoid caffeinated tea, which can worsen symptoms. Ginger tea can be useful to prevent nausea and abdominal bloating. Chamomile tea also has anti-spasmodic qualities and can help relieve tension, anxiety and irritability.



Water retention is one of the main causes of congestive symptoms like cramps, which cause sharp pains. One of the best ways to reduce water retention, though it might seem contradictory, is to drink enough water. If a woman doesn´t drink enough, her body has to compensate for the deficiency by retaining additional water.

Whole grains

A study carried out by British doctors showed that eating small amounts of carbohydrates every three hours and before bed can help combat premenstrual syndrome in 70% of women. Grains also provide us with a lot of magnesium, which reduces neuromuscular tension. Whole grains also contain B complex vitamins and vitamin E, which helps reduce fatigue and depression.


yogurt with muesli

Yogurt contains live cultures and active bacteria which promote healthy digestion. Yogurt is also a good source of calcium and consuming twice the average amount of calcium that women take in every day (1300 milligrams, instead of 600) appears to relieve menstrual discomfort. However, since meat and dairy products contain arachidonic acid, which increases the production of prostaglandins, which in turn cause cramps, women are better off opting for non-dairy sources of calcium, such as broccoli, kale, tinned salmon and foods fortified with calcium, such as cereal and juices.

Foods you should avoid during menstruation


Avoid caffeine and products like chocolate, sodas, tea and coffee during the menstrual cycle. Caffeine narrows the blood vessels and dehydrates the body, which can cause headaches and may increase anxiety during your period.

Processed foods

Reducing how much sodium you consume can help with water retention and bloating. It´s best to avoid canned foods, processed foods, like cold meats and cheeses, soy sauce, etc., and any packaged food that contains 200 mg or more sodium per portion.

Fried food


Fatty foods like meat, whole dairy products, fried foods and oils increase estrogen levels. All types of fat, from both animal and vegetable, increase estrogen levels. Maintaining stable estrogen levels means that the changes in the uterus aren’t as dramatic, reducing cramps and pain.


Refined sugar increases and then blocks the amount sugar in the blood, making us lethargic and grumpy. Avoid eating too much sugar. Try to eat fewer pastries, sweets, cereals at breakfast time and white flour, all of which your body quickly turns into sugar. Try to eat small, regular meals during the day, instead of three large meals, and you´ll have more balanced blood sugar levels, and better moods.