By Jenna Hope
Spots, greasy hair, bloating, mood swings and lethargy ... I’m sure these are symptoms that many of us can identify with during certain times of the month. Often staying healthy whilst on your period is challenging and the last thing on your mind. It can be tempting to curl up in bed with a bar of chocolate. However, this isn’t necessarily the best idea. It won’t help with your skin, moods or bloating. Whilst these symptoms are inevitable (due to the hormonal changes your body is under going) there’s definitely specific nutrition tips which can help to alleviate symptoms.
Sugar cravings: these are much harder to stave off during your monthly cycle. I suggest you hit these cravings with an energy ball or a raw treat rather than a full blown refined sugar blow out. The sugars from the dates will be released into the blood at a slower rate than refined sugar due to the presence of the fibre.
Caffeine: Research has suggested that high intakes of tea, coffee, chocolate, coke and alcohol can further enhance the symptoms of PMS. I recommend opting for water and herbal teas. Teas which contain fennel and ginger can help with bloating too.
Check your micros: We often shift our focus towards macronutrients, which puts the equally important micronutrients to one side. However, research has identified a relationship between PMS symptoms and low levels of calcium, copper, chromium and manganese. Chromium also helps to control blood sugar levels. Help to alleviate symptoms by consuming foods rich in these nutrients, sources include: nuts, dairy, lentils, beef liver and whole grains.
Balance your meals: Ensure that your meals are well balanced. This will help you feel satisfied and reduce your cravings later on in the day. Opt for complex sources of carbohydrates, (e.g. Quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice) high quality protein sources (meat, fish, eggs, tofu) and healthy fats (hummus, nuts, avocado, feta cheese, salmon).
Eat regularly: This follows on from the tip above, don’t wait until you’re starving as your blood sugar levels will be low and you’re more likely to make poor choices. Eat your meals regularly throughout the day and opt for protein rich snacks when snacking (nuts, seeds, natural yoghurt, hummus are great options).