How to Ease Menstrual Cramps With Nutrition

How You Can Help Ease Your Menstrual Cramps With Nutrition

by | Jun 4, 2021

Menstrual cramps are uncomfortable but, in general, a harmless side effect of menstruation. Some people suffer from bad stomach and back pain, headaches and diarrhea while others don’t even notice their period, except the bleeding.

If you are not one of those lucky women for whom menses don’t constitute more than emptying the cup, you can ease menstrual pain either through medication or other ways. Usually, the pain can be relieved by painkillers, exercise and, for example, a hot water bottle on the stomach.

However, many people don’t remember to pay enough attention to their diet when the bloodiest days of the month are making inroads.

Are period food cravings legit?

Ever feel like certain cravings hit when you’re on your period—and not at other times? Well, according to Justine Roth, R.D., certified dietician nutritionist, your body might be telling you something. “During your period, your body is going through physiological changes,” she says. “Your hormones are out of whack, causing you to crave certain nutrients.”

Apparently, endogenous opioid peptides, or EOPs (amino acid bonds that are always present in your body) could be to blame.

“We’re not 100 percent certain,” she says. “But the theory is that with the presence of these EOPs, you have more cravings.”

What foods should I be eating?

Before and during periods pay particular attention to getting enough of these nutrients:

Magnesium and vitamin B6

The uterus is a muscle, and when contracting during menstruation, it may go over to the state of lactic acid just like other muscles do. Magnesium is an effective aid in the treatment of muscles and gives relief to uterine cramping pains. You can get magnesium and vitamin B6 for example from vegetables, fish, nuts, and almonds.

Healthy fats

Fatty acids are important building blocks for hormones. This means that good fats make good hormones, bad fat makes bad hormones. If your hormone balance is changing radically, it is advisable to pay attention to the matter. Good fats can be derived from olive oil and salmon. Salmon also contains vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and iron which also contribute to alleviating menstrual pain.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has been shown to reduce menstrual cramps and the amount of leakage. Nuts and seeds, vegetable oils and avocados are good sources of vitamin E.

Zinc

Also, zinc has been found to relieve menstrual cramps and swelling. Add zinc to your diet a few days before the start of menstruation. Please note that zinc requires vitamin B6 to be absorbed, so be sure that the food you eat contains enough vitamin B6. Good sources of zinc are red meat (especially beef), seafood, dairy products, whole grain cereals and green vegetables, especially peas, asparagus and spinach.

Also remember!

Calcium, whole grain products and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet and contain plenty of vitamins and trace elements that relieve painful periods.

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 

Nagnata

Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 

Nike

Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 

Tracksmith

Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 

Lululemon

Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?