This article is dedicated to all the ladies in the world, especially ladies with menstrual cramp. Share it with your mum, sister, girlfriend(s), girl-friends. You never share, they never know.
Today, is the “first day” of my monthly period. Thank God I have never experienced any discomfort during my periods. However, I have seen a few patients of mine suffering from menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Therefore, I know how painful period can make people emotional. As far I know, factors that cause menstrual cramp may vary depending on personal conditions.
The Chinese saying of "hunger breeds discontentment” means food is the first necessity for people. As such, I am going to share with you about foods to avoid during your period. It doesn’t meant that you need to stop eating these foods completely, but merely to limit the intake according to your health condition.
Food 1: Foods containing arachidonic acid
Food representation: Red meat, dairy products such as milk and cheese
Reason: These foods contains arachidonic acid, which is an omega-6 unsaturated fatty acid important to our body for healthy brain functioning and normal growth and development. However, it instigates the production of cramp-causing prostaglandins. Prostaglandins is a chemical in cells that can cause muscle contractions. When these prostaglandins are released into your bloodstream (usually one to two hours after the onset of your period), you would then start to experience the effect.
Food 2: Foods with high amounts of sodium
Foods Representation: Potato chips, processed and canned food such as canned meat, canned fruits and vegetables.
Reason: These foods may cause excessive water retention (oedema) and eventually cause bloating.
I remember how Shalini once came to me with her puffy appearance. I found out that the culprit was actually the high amount of sodium in her diet. According to the American Heart Association, excessive sodium consumption causes your body to hold onto its fluid and swelling in parts of your body. However, this is not the only reason that causes water retention. For example, standing for long periods could also be one of the causes.
After that, Shalini got better after drinking enough water to flush out the extra sodium in her body.
Food 3: Caffeinated foods
Foods Representation: Chocolate, tea, coffee
Reason: Caffeine is a substance that can worsen your cramps. You might mistakenly think that these foods can relieve your cramps, but actually they CAN'T. In fact, caffeinated foods can contribute to tension and worsen symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and breast tenderness.
Food 4: Sugary foods
Foods Representation: Sweets, doughnut, cakes
Reason: Our blood sugar level becomes unstable due to hormonal changes during menstruation. Also, foods with high levels of refined sugar can release sugar into the body too quickly. When our blood sugar level is uneven, our moods can be affected too. Therefore, eating sugary foods like sweets and doughnuts can cause mood swings and tension. And so, you may feel upset, angry, depressed or being unable to think clearly. Now you know why we get annoyed easily during our period?
On the other hand, if you have heavy menstrual bleeding, your red blood cells or haemoglobin can be lost. When there are too few of red blood cells and haemoglobin, the cells in your body do not get enough oxygen. Due to these changes in cells, eventually, girls - your immune system may become imbalanced and you may experience fatigue.
And so, here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) raised by our friends and I think it might interest you so I’ve included them here.
But wait...How about ice-...?
Syana: Juliet, how about ice-cream and carbonated drinks? Because the more i drink, the more pain I feel. Hmmm...Some even said that we are not advised to drink coconut water during our period. What say you?
Juliet: Oh Syana...You should stop consuming these foods immediately if you feel pain. I still remember that my mom once told me not to drink coconut water during my period too. Until after I did my research, I found that there is actually a lack of sufficient evidence showing you can’t drink coconut water or eat pineapples during your period.
Still, ice-cream and carbonated drinks contain high levels of sugar. And if you remember my explanation on sugar foods...
“Blood sugar level becomes unstable due to hormonal changes during menstruation. As such, eating sugary foods such as sweets and doughnuts can cause mood swings and tension. In addition, girls - your immune system may become imbalanced and you may experience fatigue.”
Aha, so now you know what are the foods you should avoid during your period?
Can cucumber cause period pain?
Wiwin: Is it okay to consume cucumbers during my period?
Juliet: Undeniably, cucumber is an excellent source of vitamin K. Consumption of cucumbers contributes to a lot of benefits, including:
- Preventing dehydration.
- Helping to lower blood pressure. However, keep in mind that cucumbers cannot replace the function of hypertensive drugs.
- Good for the skin.
- Healthy bones.
So back to the question, you do not have to worry if you want to eat cucumber during menstruation. So far there has been no scientific research on the negative effects of eating cucumbers during menstruation. As such, the assumption that you shouldn’t eat cucumbers during your menstruation is a myth.
So peeps, I’ll share these little infos with my friends and patients. My aim is always to begin healthy lives by sharing knowledge, not hoarding them. Also, whomever you are, medical professionals, allied health professionals, or an ordinary girl venturing down the journey of women life, you are welcome to share your thoughts by leaving comments in the section below. Perhaps, what are the foods that you usually eat to relief period pain? Do you have any special experiences or secret methods to combat period pain?