Menstrual Cramps

Women experiencing menstrual cramps may be willing to try almost anything to avoid having cramps each month. Did you know you could treat menstrual cramps with nutrition? If you’re tired of having cramps every time you have your period, how can changing your diet hurt? Learn how diet affects the severity of your menstrual cramps.

* Eat a diet consisting of a variety of foods. Low fat, high fiber diets appear to combat the salty or sweet foods women typically crave during their menstrual cycle. Besides helping avoid cravings, you’ll also have more energy and a more stable mood.

* Ensure your body is getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need by taking a multivitamin each day. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium are particularly important before and during your monthly cycle.

* Eat more foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, mackerel, albacore tuna, swordfish, and lake trout. You may also want to add walnuts, Brazil nuts, and olive oil. These foods help stabilize your mood and have an anti-inflammatory effect. They also reduce the effect of cramps because they block the production of prostaglandins.

* Add or increase the amount of flaxseeds you eat. They are very high in omega-3 fatty acids. Two teaspoons of ground flaxseeds a day will do wonders for reducing cramps. You may sprinkle them in cereal, over salad, or include them in baking. Be careful not to eat too many flaxseeds in one day, however; eating too many has been reported to cause diarrhea.

* Reduce the amount of salt you consume during your period rather than taking diuretics to avoid the bloating and swelling you may experience with your monthly cycle. Alcohol will also cause you to retain water, so avoiding it during your period will only help you.

* Increase foods rich in thiamine including cooked lentils, long-grain brown rice, Brazil nuts, pecans, spinach, cantaloupe, milk, and eggs. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic believe thiamine helps relieve cramping during menstruation.

* Eliminate trans-fatty acids, not only during your period, but for the sake of your overall health. Trans-fatty acids, found in commercially prepared pastries containing partially hydrogenated oils, may increase cramping. If you can reduce or eliminate it, you may feel some relief from cramps.

Many people don’t believe changing your eating habits can affect whether or not you get menstrual cramps or the severity of them. But it is possible for menstrual cramps to be reduced by eating some foods and avoiding others.

If it is possible to treat menstrual cramps with nutrition, why don’t more women use this method? Part of the reason is that they are not aware of the role nutrition plays in their well-being. Now that you know about menstrual cramps and nutrition’s role in reducing cramps, what changes will you make?