By Sammy Seefeldt, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor
Ever since I was 13, I have spent weeks of my life with cramps, mood swings, migraines, and flat-out – grumpiness. All because of an inevitable natural process… menstruation. I am sure many of you can relate to this. Below are 5 useful tips to not only manage, but triumph, over your dreaded “time of the month.”
There is a historical stigma revolving around the subject of menstruation conspicuous in the culture of the past and of today. Most are uncomfortable discussing this topic openly, yet it is an experience of nearly half of the population!
Because of this stigma, there is a severe lack of resources to help combat the symptoms of this biological process. It is time we talk about the inevitable fate of females dreading their “times of the month” and support women towards action. Who is ready to triumph during this time??
Tip #1: Limit Sugar, Alcohol, and Caffeine
During the menstrual cycle, hormones fluctuate and with that so do our emotions. Our appetite. Our thoughts. Our well-being. One way to promote hormonal balance is to limit sugar, alcohol, and caffeine during your cycle. In addition, limiting these things can help reduce cramping as they have been found to actually trigger cramps during menstruation
Tip #2: Eating Whole Foods Every 3-4 Hours
Mood swings during your cycle can also be due to cortisol spikes. Cortisol is an important hormone that works with your brain in order to regulate things such as mood. To avoid these mood swings, try to eat every 3-4 hours. Eating more frequent smaller meals, focusing on whole foods, could help regulate cortisol levels in your body and thus help avoid mood swings. Try this, and you may find yourself not bouncing like a yo-yo between emotions and energy levels quite so much.
Tip #3: Drink Herbal Tea
If you do experience painful cramping, one tip is to drink herbal tea. Examples would be chamomile, ginger, and dandelion. All of these herbs are shown to help with inflammation and can help reduce pain. So whenever you feel a cramp coming on, brew yourself a nice cup of herbal tea… mmmm.
Tip #4: Increase Iron Intake
Around 1mg of iron is said to be lost every day blood loss occurs. That is a significant amount of iron considering a recommended daily intake of 18 mg of iron daily for women ages 19-50 (compared to 8mg a day for men). With that much iron needed, any loss needs to be accounted for! Eating foods such as dark leafy greens (spinach) and red meats, liver, lentils, and fortified foods is imperative! Pair these foods with vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, etc.) to help with iron absorption!
Tip #5: Magnesium Rich Foods
To help with fatigue, eat foods rich in magnesium. These foods include spinach, pumpkin seeds, bananas, almonds, and dark chocolate. These delicious foods can be your first step in fighting fatigue associated with the later phase of your cycle.
If you or a friend suffer symptoms, from menstruation, that make living your “normal” day to day life more difficult, then starting with these 5 simple tips is for you. Hopefully, they will help you make your “time of the month,” into a time of the month still full of enjoyment and prospering!
Check out a UC Davis run program, Davis Period, offering more resources on their instragram! How do you cope with your menstrual cycle discomforts?