September 9, 2013

PMS? No Problem. Top 9 Foods that Ease Aunt Flo’s Monthly Visit.

Back in the day—like, in pre-modern times—women used to go to menstruation huts, where during their periods, they were separated from the the rest of the community.

In some cultures it was done out of fear, in others it was done out of respect, either way, fast forward to today and we get no said huts. No, during this time in history we have to interact with everyone regardless of the cramps, the bloating, the irritability that can occur. Luckily though, there are foods designed to help ease any symptoms that might arise while Aunt Flo is in town.

For Cramps:

Try Cinnamon.

This has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that relieve cramps. Use it in tea or your morning cup of coffee; try sprinkling it on toast.

For Mood Swings:

Try Watercress.

Dark leafy greens are loaded with calcium, which has been shown that doubling the calcium intake during menstruation helps ease PMS symptoms including irritability, anxiety, crying and depression.

Other high calcium foods include kale, tofu, broccoli, and almonds.

For Bloating:

Try Fennel.

Chew on a few fennel seeds or sip a hot fennel and mint tea.

Fennel seeds compose of health benefiting volatile essential oil compounds whose active principles in the fennel are known to have antioxidant, digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.

Prepare fennel tea by crushing one teaspoon of fennel seed and adding it to one cup of water in a pot. Bring the water to a boil, and cover and steep it for 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and strain.

For Cravings:

Try Oatmeal.

The body is naturally going to want carbohydrates. Listen to the cravings, but stick with healthier carb options, oatmeal with apples and cinnamon are a great choice. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and beans are also excellent options when the cravings start. They’ll keep you feeling fuller longer and help keep your blood sugar at a healthy level.

For Headaches:

Try Ginger.

Talk about a super food. it’s been used for over 2,000 years as a natural remedy for nausea, diarrhea, and upset stomach. Also, it is believed that ginger may block prostiglandins, which stimulate some muscle contractions, control inflammation and impact some hormones, it’s used widely to help prevent migraines, but works well on basic headaches as well. Try it in tea or take 1/4 a teaspoon of dried ginger and mix it with a glass of water for quick headache relief.

For Fatigue:

Try spinach.

Spinach is loaded with iron. A lack of iron is the number one nutritional deficiency in the world. It is crucial for producing hemoglobin, which is a substance in red blood cells that transport oxygen all over the body. It is an essential nutrient, without it the body has to work a lot harder to get the energy it needs, which of course leads to lack of focus, irritability and exhaustion. Many women are low in iron during their period especially as it is released through the blood.

Or other iron-rich foods include kale, broccoli, sweet potatoes, strawberries, tofu, or beans.

For Flow:

The average woman releases a little less than a cup of blood during each period, but every woman’s cycle is a little different depending on diet, activity levels, or other health issues.

Too little flow:

Try Parsley.

Oligomenorrhea is when a woman has her periods less frequently than normal. This can happen for a variety of reasons, but if you’re worried and you want to trigger your flow to occur more regularly try drinking parsley tea for several days prior to the date you want the period to start. This can work with dried parsley (1 tsp per cup) or fresh parsley (a bunch chopped, poured over boiling water, steeped for 20 minutes then strained). Two to four cups per day is recommended. (This has also been known to induce miscarriage.)

Too much flow:

Try Pineapple.

Women who got half the recommended amount of manganese had double the amount of flow, which also rid the body of other nutrients like iron and zinc. Increasing the amount of manganese could help ease the amount of flow. Along with pineapple, garbanzo beans and spinach are rich in this.

No flow at all:

Try Avocado.

Amenorrhea is when a woman doesn’t get her period at all, and if the woman isn’t pregnant this is often due to an imbalance in hormones. Another factor could be lack of enough fats, which many vegetarians and vegans may come across particularly if they’re also pretty active. When the body is starved of fat, it shuts down reproductive functions, as estrogen is produced not only in the ovaries but also in fat tissues, which need a certain level of LDL cholesterol to synthesize. Avocados, olive oils and nuts are good sources of good fats.

So, though we no longer can hide away in huts for a week, at least we can eat delicious foods that help us stay our strong, beautiful selves.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{Photos: Taylor Dawn FortuneIon-Bogdon, miheco, lila dobbsthe culinary geekGiulia MuleAreta EkarafiLivin Spoonfulccharmon}

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