What are the best foods a woman can eat to prevent and treat painful periods and menstrual cramps? Here’s a list of the best cramping-fighting foods, from bananas and wheat germ to ginger and sesame seeds! Pick your favorite anti-cramping foods and incorporate them into your eating plan before and during menstruation.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that bananas may help reduce cramps associated with menstruation. In addition to being a rich food source of anti-cramping nutrients such as vitamin B6, bananas are loaded with potassium which helps reduce water retention. This is great news if you often experience bloating during menstruation. Enjoy bananas plain as a simple snack, mix with non-fat yogurt, slice into cereal, or toss in a fruit salad. Stay away from banana chips, though; they are packed with calories and contain added fat and sugar.
#2: Wheat Germ
Wheat germ may be one of the best foods you can include in your diet if you suffer from menstrual cramps. It provides a concentrated source of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), with a mere cup of crude wheat germ providing a whopping 75% of the recommended daily intake for this important vitamin! Wheat germ is also an excellent source of other B vitamins as well as zinc. What’s more, it contains very high amounts of vitamin E and magnesium. Try adding wheat germ to breads, cereals, muesli, milk shakes, or pancakes — it makes a highly nutritious, yet undetectable addition! To optimize the shelf life of wheat germ, store it in a sealed container in a cool, dry place away from exposure to the sun (wheat germ is prone to turning rancid fast because of its unsaturated fat content).
#3: Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are an excellent addition to your diet if you suffer from menstrual cramps. These mild nutty tasting seeds are loaded with vitamin E as well as the key anti-cramping minerals zinc and magnesium. Sunflower seeds are also an excellent source of pyridoxine (vitamin B6), with one cup providing nearly a third of the recommended daily intake for this important pain relieving vitamin. The pain killing effects of pyridoxine may be linked to its role in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In addition, pyridoxine has been shown to promote the absorption of zinc and magnesium. When incorporating sunflower seeds into your diet, moderation should be exercised because these seeds, like most other seeds, are high in calories and fat.
This often under-appreciated vegetable is much more than just a decorative garnish that accompanies meals in restaurants. It is loaded with important nutrients, and it can be used to treat various health problems, including menstrual cramps. It contains apiol, a compound that has been shown to be highly effective at stimulating the menstrual process and relieving menstrual cramps. The ability of parsley to stimulate menstruation was already known in the Middle Ages and was therefore used to induce abortion.
Turbo-charge your anti-cramp diet by regularly eating pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that is thought to help relax muscles and thus help with menstrual cramps. Be aware, however, that most of the bromelain in pineapple is in the stem which is not as tasty as the flesh but which is nevertheless edible.