Eat right for healthy periods

Eat right for healthy periods

Eat right for healthy periods

Menstrual health is directly related to our hormones. Hormones in our body exist in a delicate balance, and a number of factors, environmental, household chemicals, hygiene products, food additives and dietary choices, can impact our hormones, disturb that delicate balance.

Inflammation causing foods

Processed foods contain several chemicals to make the food stable and increase their shelf-life. They usually contain artificial colours, taste enhancers etc. Most of the chemicals added to the food are toxic to the body and create oxidative stress at a cellular level. Some of these chemicals also specifically impact oestrogen and can wreak havoc on the hormonal balance. This can lead to painful periods, acne, water retention, mood swings etc. Exposure to these foods, over a period of time, can also impact fertility, thyroid etc.

Refined foods like refined sugars and refined flours are completely devoid of fibre and nutrition, making them easy to eat, highly addictive (cakes, cookies, ice creams, chips etc) and loaded with carbohydrates. This creates unhealthy dietary patterns and cravings. Over-consumption of refined foods also causes inflammation.

Fried foods are easy to love. French fries, chips, samosas, pakoras etc are tasty and easy to overeat. Unfortunately, the deep frying creates toxic by-products that can cause inflammation. Frequent consumption of fried foods can create stress on the body and put it in an acid state, which adversely impacts body dynamic like the pH balance, electrolyte balance, causing water retention and hormonal imbalance.

Foods with fibre

All plant foods like fruits, vegetables, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds contain natural fibres. A diet rich in natural fibre, helps absorb excess oestrogen in the body. It also improves digestion and absorption of nutrients. Dietary fibre is really important in creating good gut health, where the good bacteria can thrive. Good gut health is also a key factor in regulating the hormones in the body. Fibre is an important aspect of a balanced diet. For good menstrual health, it is important to eat more fruits, vegetables, lentils, and wholegrains every day.

Healthy fat

Quality fats are necessary for hormone production and regulation. The best sources of fat are whole and plant-based foods.

* Nuts like walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios

* Seeds like sesame, flaxseeds, and chia seeds

* Fruit like avocados and coconuts.

These contain essential omega fatty acids, that are an essential part of a healthy diet. The fibre, minerals and antioxidant activity in these nuts and seeds offer several other health benefits.

(The author is health & wellness coach at CureFit)

Go on a super diet

Mensuration can affect your health in many ways. The monthly bleeding might deplete you of your haemoglobin and stamina. You might undergo emotional upheaval and stress during this time.

Eating healthy can help you resolve many of these issues. A woman of reproductive age group should eat balanced meals to promote haemoglobin formation and good calcium deposition in bones.

Dietitians avoid the term "superfood" and prefer to talk of "super diets", where the emphasis is on a healthy, balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Consuming a diet rich in iron, calcium, vitamins D, B complex, and antioxidants is essential.

Many young girls and women ignore their diet completely and are perpetually anaemic and low in Vitamin D. Here are few tips to inculcate in your routine to keep you fit during periods:

* Aim to eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day.

* Drink six to eight glasses of fluids every day water and lower-fat milk are all healthy choices.

* Get a good dose of vitamin D with some outdoor activities.

* Include milk, other dairy products, and leafy green vegetables in your diet to stock up on calcium.

Here are 10 popular "superfoods" that can help you fight the discomfort during periods:

* Blueberries
* Goji berries
* Dark chocolate
* Oily fish
* Wheatgrass
* Pomegranate
* Green tea
* Broccoli
* Garlic
* Beetroot

Foods that have been elevated to superfood status in recent years include those rich in antioxidants (such as beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, flavonoids, and selenium) and omega-3 fatty acids.

Dr Aruna Kalra

(The author is director and senior gynaecologist, CK Birla Hospital)

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