Sustainability made simple

The 7 Best Period Comfort Foods – And What to Avoid

Best period comfort food
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / silviarita

Follow this guide for the best period comfort foods to eat when experiencing menstrual discomfort, and learn which foods and drinks to avoid.

What Is PMS?

Menstruation can be an uncomfortable time of the month. Having your period is never fun, especially when symptoms flare up. Premenstrual syndrome, a.k.a PMS, causes changes in mood, behavior and emotional and physical health before, during and after the menstrual cycle

Physical health impacts of a menstrual cycle include cramping, bloating, swollen and sore breasts, headaches, constipation, acne, muscle pain and diarrhea. Changes to your emotional health, mood and behavior include anxiety, fatigue, sadness, mood swings and irritability, and even difficulties concentrating. 

One symptom that is very common during a period is a change in appetite. Many people experience intense cravings for sweet, salty and high-carb food. That is why so many of us turn to comfort foods when experiencing period symptoms to distract us from the physical and emotional discomfort.

Food Cravings During Menstrual Cycles: Are They Real?

If you crave chocolate, fries, chips and ice cream all at once during your period, you are not alone. 

Studies have proven that changes in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels cause cravings for comforting food high in carbs, salt and sugar. So whenever that time of the month comes around and your desire for junk food surges, rest assured that it is not just you. 

Thankfully, you can eat plenty of foods to ease uncomfortable period symptoms and get you through the worst of it. Make sure to shop organic, locally and seasonally when and where you can. Filling your belly with the highest quality comfort foods during your period improves your own health and contributes to the health of the planet. Furthermore, it supports your local farmers and growers, too. Let’s take a look at some of the best period comfort foods. 

1. Dark Leafy Greens

Low iron levels are common during menstruation, especially if you are experiencing a heavy flow. Low iron can lead to symptoms such as aches, fatigue and dizziness. 

By filling your diet with dark leafy greens during your period, like spinach, kale and broccoli, you boost your iron levels and ease period discomfort. A big salad filled with leafy greens is a great way to reduce period symptoms and improve your overall health and mood.

2. Ginger

Ginger is anti-inflammatory and eases nausea.
Ginger is anti-inflammatory and eases nausea.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / congerdesign)

Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and also helps with nausea. A warm mug of ginger tea works well to ease bloating and nausea during menstruation.

3. Fruit

Dehydration is another symptom of menstruation that can cause discomfort and headaches. Fruit rich in water, like cucumber and watermelon, should be eaten when your period is heavy and gives you a headache. A simple, fresh fruit salad is a delicious and nutritious way to hydrate yourself while also pleasing your sweet-tooth cravings during menstruation. Try our fresh fruit salad recipe using organic, seasonal, and locally grown fruits where you can for the best possible boost in hydration and sweetness. 

4. Nuts

Nuts are a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins. Eating nuts while on your period can help to boost your vitamin levels and provide your body with the protein it needs to combat menstruation symptoms. The best nuts to consume during your period include peanuts, almonds, pistachios and cashews. These nuts have the highest protein and vitamin count, and can easily be added to your comfort food cravings in the form of nut butter spread on toast, added to granola or sprinkled on top of a leafy green salad.

5. Turmeric

Turmeric eases bloating as it is anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric eases bloating as it is anti-inflammatory.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / flockine)

Just like ginger, turmeric — especially its main ingredient curcumin — contains anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great food to turn to when you are suffering from bloating and nausea while on your period. Turmeric lattes or turmeric tea should help reduce bloating and ease nausea.

6. Dark Chocolate

Good news for all the chocoholics out there! Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium and iron, making it the perfect sweet treat to turn to when your period cramps are getting too much. Why not try baking our vegan dark chocolate Snowball Cookies when your body starts screaming for chocolate. 

Make sure to buy fairtrade dark chocolate for this recipe. This way, you are helping yourself, as well as supporting cacao farmers.

7. Quinoa

Quinoa is rich in iron, which helps boost energy and nutrient levels during menstruation.
Quinoa is rich in iron, which helps boost energy and nutrient levels during menstruation.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / we-o_rd35ghczdq1090c5m)

Quinoa is a superfood that gives your body healthy and necessary nutrients. Quinoa is high in iron, magnesium and proteins, making it a great food to eat when on your period and help deal with all those annoying symptoms like cramps and fatigue. Adding quinoa to a hearty, healthy and colorful buddha bowl is a great way to enjoy quinoa and brighten your day and mood.

Foods To Avoid On Your Period

While there are lots of foods you can eat to help with uncomfortable period symptoms, there are also some that can risk worsening your symptoms and should therefore be avoided. 

1. Salty Foods

Salty foods worsen bloating and dehydrate you.
Salty foods worsen bloating and dehydrate you.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Hans)

Salty and processed foods may be tasty but will not help ease menstruation cramps and symptoms. Salty foods lead to bloating and dehydration, which actually worsens period discomfort.

2. Spicy Foods

Spicy foods can lead to stomach pain, diarrhea and nausea. When on your period, your stomach can be even more sensitive to spicy foods, so they should be avoided if possible.

3. Sugary Foods

You may be craving sugary foods during menstruation, but these sweet treats will not help your period cramps. The sugar high you get from sugary foods will only lead to an energy crash, worsening your mood and causing you to feel more tired and anxious. To avoid severe mood swings, watch your sugar intake during your period.

4. Coffee

Caffeine can dehydrate you and cause headaches during your period.
Caffeine can dehydrate you and cause headaches during your period.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / kaboompics)

Caffeine can cause dehydration and headaches, which will only aggravate menstruation symptoms. Coffee can also worsen digestion issues, which are common during periods. To ease discomfort, lessen your coffee intake or cut it out altogether. If what you are really craving is the nice warm cup and hot liquid that warms your body up from the inside, why not try one of our 3 homemade heating pad DIYs.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol dehydrates you, which can make any bloating or headaches you experience much worse. To help get you through your period, stay away from alcohol and opt for ginger or turmeric teas instead. 

Read more:

** Links to retailers marked with ** or underlined orange are partially partner links: If you buy here, you actively support, because we will receive a small part of the sales proceeds. More info.

Do you like this post?

Thank you very much for voting!