Menstrual cramps can be one of the most uncomfortable parts of getting your period. With such debilitating pain, it's no wonder we look for any possible remedy, including foods that can help ease annoying period cramps. Eating the right foods can definitely soothe some PMS symptoms, so why not kill two birds with one stone and enjoy a good snack that can also help get rid of those uncomfortable uterine contractions?
Although eating certain foods can help alleviate symptoms, it's good to note that longterm dietary adjustments are what best keep period pains at bay, and having a good, healthy diet overall can work to fight against frequent cramping. It’s best to include whole foods into the diet since they have a lot of nutrients that work together that help combat symptoms of your period such as cramps, bloating and loss of iron.
"High sodium levels can contribute to bloating and water retention, which can worsen menstrual pain and cause you to feel dehydrated," Marci Clow, MS, RD tells Bustle over email. "Additionally, you may consider limiting caffeine, as it can add to breast tenderness, make you jittery, and contribute to water retention."
Next time you're suffering from some pretty nasty period cramps, try eating the below seven foods, which can help relieve menstrual pain.
1. Leafy Greens
"Leafy greens are always a good idea during your period," says Clow. "They can help with cramps by contributing calcium, which is known to relieve muscle tension that triggers cramping." Greens also absorb and eliminate prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that can cause menstrual craps.
Full of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is another great food that helps reduce prostaglandins. Studies have also found that consuming fish oil is an effective treatment for treating severe menstrual pain.
"Many people know that bananas are loaded with potassium and are often recommended to help with muscle cramping and to reduce water retention," says Clow. Bananas also contain vitamin B6, which helps with your immune response and nervous system functioning.
Eating celery is a great way to keep hydrated on your period. It is used to treat menstrual discomfort and can also reduce fluid retention.
5. Pumpkin Seeds
"These foods are high in manganese, which aids in muscle relaxation and can help lessen the severity of cramping," says Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN. Seeds are also high in zinc and vitamin E, which can help soothe your pain.
"Ginger has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for its wide range of health-promoting properties, including as a remedy for menstrual cramping," says Clow. Studies have even found that ginger was as effective as ibuprofen for relieving painful periods.
High in calcium and vitamin E, almonds are an excellent source of nutrients that help ease period pains. "Foods rich in magnesium, like nuts and legumes, can help regulate serotonin and help lift your mood," says Clow. "Magnesium is also indicated for cramping and breast tenderness."
Don't let cramps ruin your day. Grab a snack, a hot water bottle, and drink some water, and hopefully you'll be on your way to a much more pleasant day.