If you’ve been struggling with painful periods or PMS during your menstrual cycle, you might be used to taking medications to help you cope. This can make things more comfortable but it doesn’t address the main reasons why you’re suffering.
During this current climate, supplies might become sparse, and you might find yourself worrying about your cycle. Read our reassuring tips to help you have a better period, naturally.
Creating female harmony can help with hormone balance. A lot of factors can disrupt your hormones, including stress, poor diet, and lifestyle. And the opposite is true too — your diet and lifestyle can help you to have a better period.
How to Relieve Period Pain Naturally
When period pain strikes, painkillers aren’t your only option.
According to studies, ginger can relieve menstrual cramps — as much as some anti-inflammatory painkillers in some cases. Drinking ginger tea or adding ginger to cooking or baking are easy ways to get the effect for yourself.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another way to tackle period pain. Studies have shown that eating oily fish, flaxseed and walnuts can make period pain less severe.
Exercise may be the last thing you want to do on your period but it encourages the production of feel-good endorphins, which can reduce pain and discomfort. Gentle exercise is perfect for this — no need to go overboard with intense exercise, especially if you don’t feel up to it.
Foods To Support a Healthy Menstrual Cycle
Your diet can have a big impact on your menstrual cycle, especially certain nutrients. Stock up on these foods when it’s “that” time of the month:
Leafy greens are packed with nutrients and studies have shown that they can reduce menstrual cramps. They’re also a great source of calcium, which can help with mood swings during your menstrual cycle.
Leafy greens can also boost your iron intake. Even if your period isn’t particularly heavy, eating plenty of iron reduces the impact of losing blood. And if your periods are regularly on the heavy or long side, eating iron-rich foods can make iron-deficiency anaemia less likely. Legumes, pumpkin seeds, nuts, whole grains and dried apricots can also boost your iron.
If your vitamin D levels are low, it can make irregular periods more likely. Supplementing with vitamin D can potentially improve menstrual cramps. Eating more oily fish, egg yolks and plant milks that are fortified with vitamin D can also boost your levels and may ease cramps.
When you’re ovulating, getting plenty of fibre can help to balance your hormones.
Foods to Avoid During Your Period
Processed foods can be a big no-no, especially in the build-up to your period. Minimize salty foods, sugary foods, white flour (and foods that contain it), added sugar and artificial preservatives, colourings and additives. These can encourage bloating and may also increase PMS symptoms.
Caffeine can also trigger period cramps. If you love your coffee, it may be a trigger for pain and PMS symptoms during your period.
Herbs That Can Support a Healthy Period
Ginger isn’t the only herb that can help your menstrual cycle.
Cinnamon and fennel have also been shown in studies to relieve period pain. Fennel had comparable effects to prescription pain relief.
Adding fennel in your cooking or sip on fennel tea to get the effects. Cinnamon is a great addition if you’re baking.
How Can Sustainable Sanitary Wear Improve Periods?
As well as being eco-friendly and not contributing to landfill issues, sustainable sanitary wear could be better for your health.
Research has shown that some sanitary products contain plenty of nasties, including carcinogens and neurotoxins. Phthalates and other hormone disrupters can also be found in some brands.
Because there’s potential for affecting hormones, traditional sanitary products can be a factor in your menstrual cycle.
Natural alternatives such as reusable sanitary pads, period pants, menstrual cups and organic towels and tampons can help to avoid this as they’re non-toxic.
If you’re looking to switch to natural sanitary products, you might find they have some benefits for your health and wellbeing too.