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THIS is what you should eat on your period

Periods are tough for almost every woman.

They make you feel tired and lethargic, your skin breaks out, you get cramps, you bloat, your energy levels plummet, your sex life can go MIA, your mood yo-yos and your hunger levels go off the scale.Yes, it’s a constant struggle but, the good news is, it’s actually not all doom and gloom.

Research from the University of Copenhagen has found that tailoring your diet, sleep pattern and exercise regimes to what stage you are in your menstrual cycle cannot only help symptoms that occur throughout the month but even help you to lose weight. We asked women’s health and hormone expert, Dr Sohère Roked, what you should be eating when, how much sleep you should be getting and what type of exercise you should be doing according to each week of your cycle. Below she reveals how altering your lifestyle just a bit could be the key to getting control back and balancing those pesky period hormones once and for all…

Days 1-5 : Menstruation

During menstruation, the majority of women feel relief from the bloating and mood changes the week before. However, during your period a lot of women can feel tired, more lethargic than usual due to the cramps and heavy blood flow. During this time, women need plenty of iron rich foods, vitamin C and B. Calcium is also recommended.

It’s important to listen to the body and do gentle exercise such as walking and yoga, rather than pushing yourself too hard.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: porridge made with either milk or a milk substitute like almond milk, or natural yoghurt, with berries, mixed nuts and seeds and desiccated coconut

Lunch: chickpeas and kidney beans, sautéed in passata with spinach and peppers

Dinner: stir-fried beef, chicken or prawns with broccoli and mixed peppers

Snacks: boiled egg with half an avocado, seasoned with chilli pepper and garlic or natural yoghurt with almonds, strawberries and mango

Image: Unsplash

Days 6-13 : Follicular Phase

This is when there is a rise in oestrogen in the body to prepare for ovulation. There is often an increase in energy and libido.

It is best to maximise on having more energy at this time in the month, and the foods eaten should support the body in this, such as protein-rich foods and foods high in B vitamins. Your appetite is normally higher at this time of the month too.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: scrambled eggs with avocado or smoked salmon

Lunch: chopped salad – lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, eggs, chicken and beetroot with a lemon vinaigrette dressing

Dinner: beef with sweet potato and mixed vegetables

Snacks: nuts and seeds

Image: Unsplash

Days 14-16 : Ovulation

This can happen anytime from day 12-16 of your cycle.

Oestrogen peaks at this time and often a woman feels at her peak energy, mood and sex drive. It’s generally your most vibrant time of the month, so maximise on it! As well as physically feeling good, emotionally it can be a good time to make decisions and try new things.

The body needs zinc which is important for cell division, regardless of whether you’re trying to conceive or not.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: avocado on toast, poached eggs

Lunch: Salmon or tuna with a salad of romaine lettuce, sundried tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, sweet peppers and pesto dressing.

Dinner: Dhal, with an aubergine or vegetable curry

Snacks: hummus and celery and carrot sticks

Image: Unsplash

Days 17-28 : Lu

During this phase, all hormone levels decline. PMS is caused by low progesterone levels and can cause cramps, headaches, bloating, pain, lethargy, low mood and hunger. Appetite normally increases, and the body craves carbs and sweet foods. Instead of making unhealthy choices, try and make healthier choices that are filling but not sugar heavy.

Examples of meals:

Breakfast: healthy nut butter (such as almond butter) on whole grain toast with honey

Lunch: sweet potato with grilled chicken and salad

Dinner: brown rice with salmon and spinach and broccoli

Snacks: smoothie with milk or a milk substitute, honey, dates, and tahini or bananas with honey and natural yoghurt or raw chocolate or raw chocolate brownies

Food guide:

- Iron rich foods: dark leafy greens, red meat, beans, pulses

- Vitamin C: oranges, red and green peppers, pineapple, strawberries, chilli peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, mango

- B vitamins: eggs or whole grains, almonds, chicken, beef, salmon, asparagus

- Protein-rich: eggs, yoghurt, fish and seafood, soy, pistachio nuts, chicken and turkey

- Zinc: Spinach, beef, kidney beans, flax seeds, pumpkins seeds, oysters

Image: Unsplash


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