What food is good for MENSTRUAL PROBLEMS




Fatty and highly refined foods


  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Whole grain and fortified and enriched cereals
  • Lean meat
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts
  • Lentils
  • Dairy products
  • Soybeans
  • Figs
  • Salmon
  • Avocados
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberry leaf tea
  • Chamomile tea


  • Alcohol
  • Salty foods


  • Women in their reproductive years
  • Three out of four menstruating women experience some form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • 8% of women in the United States with PMS have symptoms that meet the diagnostic criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder, a more severe, disabling form of PMS Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the most common menstrual problem and is associated with more than 150 symptoms, most notably cramps, bloating, irritability, breast tenderness, food cravings, headache, and constipation
    PMS seems to be caused by hormonal changes during the latter half of the menstrual cycle
    Other problems include heavy and irregular bleeding, which tends to occur at the beginning and end of a woman’s reproductive years, and missed periods, which is most likely caused by pregnancy
    However, the menstrual cycle may also be interrupted by hormonal imbalances related to obesity, diabetes, thyroid disease, a change in contraceptive pills, or an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa
    Women involved in high-level athletic training are prone to menstrual problems, because they lack the critical amount of body fat to maintain adequate estrogen levels

    Nutrition Connection

    Many of the following suggestions are for PMS, which is the most common complaint, but a doctor, gynecologist, or a dietitian can help address other menstrual issues: Eat a balanced diet
    Eat regular, moderate meals, spaced throughout the day, with whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits
    Carbohydrate-rich foods can help by increasing production of serotonin, a brain chemical that regulates mood
    Eat foods that have a low glycemic load
    Foods with a lower glycemic load such as fiber-rich apples and pears are best because they raise blood sugar levels more slowly, helping to control appetite and possibly cravings
    Avoid foods that may exacerbate PMS
    Fats, highly refined foods, and caffeinated drinks should be avoided, and sodium intake should be reduced
    Alcohol can trigger or worsen many symptoms and so should be avoided in the days before menstrual periods
    67% of women lose sleep during their menstrual cycle every month
    Doctors attribute this form of insomnia to a rapid drop in the hormone progesterone
    Get more calcium
    Calcium may help reduce mood disturbances, cramping, and bloating resulting from PMS
    Some researchers believe PMS symptoms may be the result of low calcium levels, the symptoms of which are like the symptoms of PMS
    Calcium sources include dairy products, fortified soy beverages, canned salmon or sardines, and leafy greens
    Add more magnesium
    Women with PMS often have low magnesium levels, which may predispose them to PMS-induced headaches and depression
    Foods rich in magnesium include sunflower seeds, nuts, lentils and legumes, whole grains, soybeans, figs, and green vegetables
    Boost vitamin B6
    Foods rich in vitamin B6 may help alleviate PMS symptoms
    Vitamin B6 may help stimulate production of serotonin and reduce anxiety and depression caused by PMS
    Best food sources are beef, pork, chicken, fish, whole grain cereals, bananas, avocados, and potatoes
    However, if you take supplements, do not exceed the upper limit for adults of 100 mg per day
    Excess has been associated with nerve damage
    Indulge cravings carefully
    It’s okay to indulge in a piece of chocolate occasionally, but eating large amounts of sugary foods adds empty calories and can worsen the craving for sweets by disrupting normal blood sugar levels
    Opt for healthier, fiber-rich snacks, such as whole grain crackers or fruit, which are metabolized at a slower rate than sweets and also help to prevent the constipation that some women experience as part of PMS
    Try herbal teas for painful cramps
    Raspberry leaf tea contains a substance that is thought to relax the uterus and ease cramping
    Chamomile tea also has antispasmodic action
    Try evening primrose oil
    This oil, available in capsules and in liquid form, contains an essential fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid (GLA)
    This acid blocks the inflammatory prostaglandins that contribute to cramps and breast tenderness
    Eat lots of iron-rich foods if you bleed a lot
    Although heavy bleeding is rarely a sign of a more serious condition, excessive blood flow may result in a loss of iron, increasing the risk of anemia
    An adult woman needs 18 mg of iron daily
    Good sources are red meat, legumes, fortified cereals, leafy green vegetables, and dried fruits
    To help the body absorb iron better, foods rich in vitamin C should be eaten at the same meal

    Beyond the Diet

    The following strategies can help address your menstrual issues: Exercise
    Women who exercise regularly are less likely to suffer from PMS
    Take a warm bath or use a heating pad
    Both actions can help soothe cramps
    Take an anti-inflammatory
    Prostaglandins, hormonelike substances that cause uterine contractions, play a part in causing menstrual cramps
    Aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can block prostaglandin production and alleviate menstrual cramps
    Problematic periods
    A woman who experiences persistently heavy or irregular periods should see a gynecologist to determine if she has a problem requiring treatment
    In some instances, painful periods are related to other conditions, such as fibroid tumors or endometriosis
    A woman may also be approaching menopause or have weight issues that lead to missed periods