How To Eat For Your Menstrual Cycle | You Versus Food | Well+Good
– My cramps come and go, periodically.
Hi, I’m Tracy Lockwood Beckerman.
I’m a registered
dietitian in New York City
and it’s my job to help you
figure out what to eat and why.
What you might not know about me
is that I specialize in
women’s health issues.
As an RD, I’m passionate
about teaching women
how to eat in sync with
their hormones and cycles,
so much so that I wrote a book about it
called “The Better Period Food Solution.”
And today’s episode is your sneak preview.
When you think of dealing
with your menstrual cycle,
certain remedies probably come to mind.
Advil or Motrin, hot
water bottles and patches,
taking a warm bath.
You might not think
food has anything to do
with managing your cycle
unless you’re talking
about that giant bowl
of chocolate ice cream
that always seems to come to mind
at a certain time of the month.
But, turns out, eating has a lot to do
with your menstrual health.
Eating with your cycle in mind
can help balance your hormones,
ease the pain of cramps,
regulate your cycle and more.
In this episode of “You Versus Food,”
I’ll help you navigate
what foods will actually
support your hormones and cycle.
Some people call me
the cyclepath (laughs).
These are some science-backed tips
that you can use to alleviate PMS,
banish bloat and other period symptoms
and increase your energy
throughout your cycle.
Let’s start with what to eat
when you feel those first
PMS symptoms coming on.
You know, when you feel
a little more cranky,
and start to get a
little bit more bloated.
Eat magnesium-rich foods.
During the last seven to
ten days of your cycle,
that’s before your period,
get your magnesium in.
It’ll help fight fatigue,
and it will help also squash
pain associated with cramps.
Magnesium is naturally
found in foods like spinach,
pumpkin seeds and even dark chocolate.
Eat fiber-rich foods for
constipation and bloating.
When you’re hella cranky
and your fave pants are
fitting kinda weird,
it’s time to choose foods high in fiber
to limit PMS-related
constipation and bloating.
Fiber equals gut health,
which equals bowel regularity,
which means, see ya later, bloating!
Eat plenty of berries,
dark leafy vegetables,
and whole grains.
Hot tip, if you don’t drink enough water
to flush all those fiber-rich
foods through your gut,
you may experience even
more bloating and cramps.
So, keep your body going
like a well-oiled machine,
and drink that H2O.
Up your vitamin D, calcium
and B6 to boost mood.
Vitamin D plays a critical
role in reproductive health
and mood regulation, and
has been a hot-button topic
in its relation to PMS.
Research has shown that
women who ate a diet
high in Vitamin D reduced
their risk of PMS by 40%,
and studies suggest that
consuming daily doses
of vitamin D and calcium supplements
may help to limit mood swings
and decrease anxiety and stress.
Foods like eggs with cheese, yum,
or salmon with bok choy
will set you up for the perfect combo
of calcium and vitamin D-light.
Don’t forget vitamin B6!
Lots of research has found
that vitamin B6 can manage PMS symptoms.
The vitamin synthesizes more
like dopamine and serotonin,
to turn that frown upside down.
Seek out foods like bananas,
brown rice, and eggs.
Make sure you’re getting enough zinc.
This nutrient plays a vital role
in regulating the menstrual cycle
and making sure all hormones
are working properly.
In fact, zinc helps to
power up thyroid hormones
that are essential in
regulating the menstrual cycle.
Plus, a lack of zinc can
disrupt normal ovulation
and can prevent the release of an egg.
So sprinkle your life with zinc
by eating more pumpkin seeds,
shellfish, and legumes.
Let’s move on to the changes you can make
when Auntie Flo officially comes to town.
Oh, hello, Aunt Flo!
Increase iron and vitamin
B12 intake for fatigue.
When blood loss occurs due to the shedding
of the uterine lining during menstruation,
it’s time to pump up the iron, stat.
If you experience a heavy flow,
too much iron may be escaping your body,
leaving your red blood cells low,
and your brain feeling foggy.
To restore your vibrance and pizazz,
eat foods like cooked
spinach, apricots, meats,
tofu, lentils and oysters.
Oyster happy hour, anybody?
For more efficient iron absorption,
pair plant-based, iron-rich foods
with foods high in vitamin C.
Vitamin B12 can also dip low
through period-related loss,
causing you to feel exhausted.
Eating foods like clams, salmon, tuna
or fortified soy products
will balance vitamin B12 levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids have
which may help to limit
the pain associated
with the natural release of
prostaglandins from the uterus.
Prostaglandins are lipids that
create normal inflammation,
but an excess can basically
make your cramps feel even worse.
Flax seeds, walnuts, salmon
or Omega-3-enriched eggs
will do the trick to
help reduce inflammation
and beat back those pesky cramps.
Keep your blood sugar
and carb intake balanced.
Eating every three to four hours
can help to manage blood sugar levels.
This will help to avoid cortisol spikes
or mood swings that may occur.
And, for my low-carb or keto fans,
just a warning, that eating low in carbs
can spike your cortisol levels,
which may make your hormones go haywire.
Limit super-stimulating foods.
During PMS, it may be helpful to moderate,
or even eliminate caffeinated beverages.
Yes, that means your matcha latte!
To help reduce feelings
of anxiety or jitteriness.
Remember, everyone’s bodies are
uniquely different through
their menstrual cycle,
so, make sure to take
specific and personalized,
and even graphic and descriptive notes
in an app or journal about your symptoms,
mood changes, and energy levels.
You know, sometimes, we
just gotta go with the flow.
As with anything, be your own detective,
and if something feels
different, or just not right,
talk to your doc.
So you’re stuck with your period
for the majority of your life.
Why don’t you just learn
about it a little bit more?
I’ll help you!
For all of that, go buy my book!
And in the meantime, subscribe to
Well + Good’s YouTube
Channel for more Tracy Tips.
Come on, Aunt Flo, you’re welcome anytime.
But not when I’m wearing white (laughs).