Menstruation is an important phenomenon of a female’s health & an ideal parameter for her assessing her physical well-being. Just imagine if we could track our hormonal profile at specific times during a month, getting a clear idea of how we can use it to our benefit!! Wouldn’t that be marvellous? Here is a diet chart that shall help you plan your life in a more organized manner around your periods. I have also added food items that will help you overcome the influence of these hormones on our general health. This guide is divided into 4 weeks (monthly menstrual cycle), each having its own specific function & foods that shall help increase our productivity.
WEEK 1 (DAY 1- 7)
Week 1 marks the initial phase of your menstrual cycle. Estrogen levels are high during this week. Higher estrogen levels will boost your energy, mood, optimism & mental health. In this week, you feel like spending time with people you adore the most. These might be your friends, family or relatives. During this week, you’re more curious about the world, are seeking fun & frolic. You may also be interested in shopping & prefer to be outdoors, especially among others.
Diet Chart During Periods
Foods To Have :
1. Complex Carbohydrates Fruits, vegetables & whole foods are your all – time friends, but especially during menstruation. The sugar from fruit may help relieve sugar cravings. Try adding apricots, oranges, plums, pears, cucumbers, corn & carrots to your diet.
2. Magnesium Rich Foods Foods rich in magnesium like beans, tofu, peanuts etc are said to reduce bloating among menstruating women.
3. Calcium Rich Foods In studies of college-aged women & nurses, women with high intake of Calcium & Vitamin D were less likely to develop PMS. The RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) of Calcium for women is 600 mg/day, to get these amounts, aim for a minimum of three servings of calcium-rich foods a day. These foods include low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy vegetables. It’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from diet alone (salmon & fortified milk are good sources), but women can make up the difference with a daily multivitamin or a supplement. Many calcium supplements also contain vitamin D.
4. Indulge In Dark Chocolate Having a piece of dark chocolate (with 60 percent or higher cacao bean) every day during your period will help fight cravings. Plus, dark chocolate has a good dose of antioxidants. Its consumption is associated with increased serotonin levels in the body, which give a boost to your mood.
Foods to Avoid
1. Caffeine Decreasing caffeine intake can help reduce bloating & soothe an irritable stomach. “Caffeine can increase stomach acid & be harsh on the sensitive intestines. If you want a coffee alternative that is rich in taste, try a cup of tea.
2. Don’t Skip The Water Drinking more water will help your body release water retention & alleviate bloating. “Your body is retaining water because it’s afraid of not getting enough. So, if you give it the necessary hydration, it will release the water it’s holding onto.”
3. Too Much Salt Though salt is important for good health, bloating & water retention can occur with its overconsumption. The best way to control salt consumption is to avoid processed & fast foods, many of which contain 3 - 4 times the salt you should have in a single meal.
WEEK 2 (DAYS 8-14)
Estrogen & testosterone levels are at their peak. During this stage, you are more optimistic & confident. Your memory grows sharper & your thought process becomes faster. Also, you are more conscious of your appearance.
WEEK 3 (DAYS 15-22)
Progesterone levels are high compared to Estrogen & Testosterone. After half of the week, estrogen levels spike again. The first half of the week 3 is the “pre-PMS” phase. During this phase you will feel more sleepy, quiet, less interested in socializing. You are getting more sugar, fat & salt cravings. You shall feel hungry & this might lead to over eating. Avoid foods rich in fats, oil, sugar & salt to maintain your body & don’t over eat. Have lots of green vegetables, fruits, pulses chaat (chana chaat, sprouts chaat), dry bhel, a piece of rajgira chikki to overcome your food cravings, while staying healthy.
WEEK 4 – (Final 6 days of your cycle)
Estrogen levels are still low at this stage, which leads to moodiness, muscle ache, fatigue & a variety of other PMS related symptoms. Each individual might experience symptoms that vary in type & intensity, they can also vary from month to month. This often happens due to changes in the diet, stress, medication, habits etc. This is the natural restoration phase of the cycle. Not resting during this phase can lead to lack of energy in the following phases. Try to change your activities to only doing the highest priorities. Don’t try to maintain your usual meal routines, follow what your body wants. Take time to eat slowly & relish your food. Avoid using caffeine to see through this phase. You may naturally wish to eat is lesser quantities or choose simpler foods, as your digestion takes a rest.
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