Having a healthy and pain free menstrual cycle may depend allot on the types of foods you consume and when you consume them and your mental and physical well-being. There are several foods that can be added to the diet strategically to assist with managing the challenges faced during the menstrual cycle.  

Every woman faces different challenges with menstruation; however, each woman is faced with the challenge of retaining iron during this time. According to the university of Edinburgh’s Centre for Reproductive Health, “Iron is an important mineral that helps the body carry out several different functions (including helping our muscles, brain, immune system) and it is found in the red blood cells means that each month, there is a loss of iron through menstrual blood”. Incorporating foods that are rich in iron into the diet can help solve this problem. Research also states that “women and girls over the age of 11 need 14.8 mg of iron per day”. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables which are natural sources of vitamin C will help the body to absorb the iron consumed from beans and peas, nuts, and dried fruits; meat, liver, and red meat contain iron that is readily absorbed by the body. 

Women should include whole grains, lean protein, fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, and legumes into their eating plans. A variety of herbs and spices can also be used before and during the cycle to help with pain and discomfort. These include fennel seeds which may help relieve pain and decrease bleeding length, cinnamon, sage and cummin which all may lessen cramping and flow, ginger which can help to relieve menstrual pain, nausea, and bloating and turmeric which can help with PMS symptoms. Dark chocolate which contains 70% or more cocoa can also be consumed during the cycle to help with discomfort and a nutrient boost as it is full of antioxidants, fiber, and nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. 

It is important to avoid foods that are highly or moderately processed or prepackaged such as processed meats, snacks, sweets, fast food and fried foods and alcohol.  You can find Information like these and other topics on our Facebook @Grenada Food & Nutrition Council, TikTok @gfnc473 and Instagram @gfnc_gd

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