Every woman can agree that periods are not fun. A week-long emotional and physical prison consisting of nonstop hunger, mood swings, irritation, discomfort, and again, those embarrassingly and gluttonous cravings at weird hours of the day. Before you make that necessary grocery run to pick up Ben & Jerry’s, Taco Bell or Dunkin' Donuts, know that there is a healthy way to conquer your period feel good about what you’re chowing down during your girly time. Make sure to keep these ingredients in stock to make recipes that will help you power through those dreaded 5-7 days of monthly womanhood.
1. Bananas: These beautiful yellow fruits are loaded with B vitamins and potassium that help relieve cramping, reduce water retention and bloating. It also contains melatonin that helps to regulate the body’s natural rhythms and provide a good night’s rest (via Medical Daily)
2. Peanut Butter Banana Protein Wrap: Our recipe is delicious and great for mornings on the run. Click here to check out our recipe!
3. Oats: Oats are high in zinc and magnesium, which are anti-cramp vitamins and minerals, so kiss those cramps goodbye by squeezing in a bowl of oatmeal into your weekly diet plan. If possible, soak the oats overnight in water and enjoy them the next morning for breakfast — doing this will allow the enzymes to break down and the nutritional value in the oats to improve. (via Chalkboard Mag)
>> New to eating oatmeal in the morning? Click here to read about the Skinny Mom guide to oatmeal.
4. Spinach & Kale: These leafy greens are jam-packed with calcium, which has been known to alleviate menstrual cramps. They also contain vitamin E, B6 and magnesium which all help to provide strength to fight of tummy pains. For all you ladies who suffer from icky stomach pains, load up on this and you won’t be sorry. If you’re not a fan of either vegetable, sneak them into your smoothies and salads — the options are endless and we have plenty of recipes to use them in.
>> Read more: 11 Ways to Eat Kale
5. Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds: Vitamin E is known to be a magical “menstruation cramp relief” vitamin, and it is commonly found in pumpkin and sunflower seeds. They also contain zinc which alleviates belly bloats and stomach pains. Sunflower seeds are a great source of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), which helps support the absorption of zinc and magnesium. Both seeds consumed together work hand in hand, and will reduce abdominal discomfort in no time! So, instead of popping a handful of M&Ms in your mouth, swap it with a mix of these and you're good to go! (via Chalkboard Mag)
>> If you don't want to eat them plain, use them in a healthy recipe. Click here to read about 9 ways that you can mix up your pumpkin seeds!
6. Sesame seeds: In addition to pumpkin and sunflower seeds, sesame seeds are great to toss on your food. These tiny guys contain healthy fatty acids that help relax the stomach muscles, reduce cramping and are also rich in vitamin B6, calcium and magnesium. Sprinkle them on stir-fry dishes, salads and other healthy noodles!
>> Read more: Glossary of Foods: Sesame Seeds
7. Water: Drinking as much water as possible on your menstrual cycle is a must! Water is always extremely important, but by staying hydrated on your period, the chances of the body retaining water decreases and painful bloating is minimized. Try to make yourself a hot cup of water with lemon and ginger before you go to bed to relax muscles and cramping. Always have a water bottle nearby to remind you to stay hydrated, and feel free to jazz up your daily intake with tasty flavor combinations.
>> Curious for more? Click here to read about 8 ways to drink more water.