Per request, I have been asked what the best foods/ exercises are best while on your period. (Sorry guys, this one's not for you!).
First off, unless you are anemic, there is no reason to skip workouts while on that time of the month. It's proven that staying active through that 2-7 days will help shorten your period, lessen the uncomfortable effects of bloating, cramps, etc., and that is a good thing! When I'm very active mine only lasts 2 days, which is a miracle in itself! Now when it comes to food while working out during your menstrual cycle, the same applies for regular activity. Carbohydrates a couple hours before a workout, and protein along with carbs within an hour after a workout. Lean proteins such as chicken breast and turkey can provide iron to make up for the iron stores you lose during this time of the month, not to mention aid in the repairs of any damaged tissues that may or may not have occurred during a workout.
However, there are certain foods you can eat while ON your period (non-exercise related) that can improve those nasty symptoms that we all know and hate. If you're on birth control pills, usually those symptoms will be less than someone who is not on the pill. But whether you are or not, here are some foods that can be beneficial while on your period:
High-fiber foods: Whether it be fiber bars, cereal, or more natural sources such as broccoli, beans and peas, all are good sources of fiber. Why would fiber help during your period? Although this may sound gross, high fiber-foods create bulkier stools which will contain a higher water content so that extra bloat won't exist, or be very minimal. I know that's probably everybody's worst symptom, not being able to button up those skinny jeans for a few days!
Foods high in B-vitamins: Foods high in B-vitamins such as legumes, can aid in energy (to help carry out with your workouts), decrease the fatigue, and menstrual cramps.
Dark greens: Things like Spinach, collard greens, and other leafy greens that are high in calcium, magnesium, and potassium lead to the decrease in the body's ability to spasm, preventing excessive cramps. These minerals may also decrease mood swings and help with stress levels.
Foods rich in Vitamin K: Vitamin K assists in blood coagulation, so if you increase dark green veggies or other foods rich in Vitamin K, you will bleed less and be a lot more comfortable.
Water: Although it may seem contradicting to drink a lot of water because of fluid retention, it will in-fact not only keep you hydrated, but help flush out your system of the excess fluid (along with the fiber rule).
Electrolyte-Enhanced drinks: Thinks like gatorade, smart water, Zico coconut water (my new obsession!) are all rich in these vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that will reduce your miserable symptoms.
Omega 3-Fatty acids: Including olive oil and nuts that are rich with your Omega 3s can also reduce muscle spasms and reduce cramping as well.
Magical Period Fruit? PINEAPPLE! Why? Because it is high in Manganese. A study shows that women that do not include a diet rich in Manganese can have up to a 50% heavier menstrual flow than women that do. Pineapple also contains high levels of bromelain, an enzyme thought to help relax muscles and therefore prevent menstrual cramping.