Whether you refer to your time of the month as “shark week” or a “visit from Aunt Flo,” one thing’s for certain: periods suck!
And as if the physical symptoms, like bloating, cramping, insomnia, fatigue, and appetite changes, weren’t bad enough, the emotional symptoms, like irrational mood swings and depression are enough to make a woman feel like a completely different person.
It’s no wonder that periods can cause a disruption in your daily routine. Unfortunately, they’re proof that your period is normal.
But it’s not ALL bad! Eating certain foods can help reduce these aggravating symptoms, provide some level of comfort, and maybe even reduce the amount of ibuprofen you take throughout your cycle. Hey, we’ll take all the help we can get!
But we got you! We’re sharing a round-up of the best comfort foods for the next time the ride tide comes in.
10 Best Period Comfort Food
In the episode Making Peace with Period Cravings, the hosts of Food Heaven chat with a women’s health dietitian about all things menstruation, including food cravings and the science behind them. One of the most commonly craved foods for women on their periods? Chocolate.
If you’re familiar with period-induced chocolate cravings, you’re in luck. Dark chocolate is one of the best comfort foods to enjoy when you’re on your period. Not only can it satisfy your overwhelming sugar cravings, it can provide some relief from period cramps. This sweet treat can also boost your mood by increasing dopamine production.
Dark chocolate is rich in magnesium, potassium, and iron. It’s also a great source of polyphenols like flavonoids that decrease inflammation and function as powerful antioxidants.
Just be sure to choose dark chocolate over other kinds of chocolate like milk or white chocolate. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and fat. It also has between 50% and 90% cocoa solids, compared to just 10% and 50% in milk chocolate. The more cocoa solids the chocolate has, the less sugar it contains.
It’s totally normal to feel like you’re constantly hungry when you’re on your period. Before you start feeling hangry on top of all the other emotions coursing through you, scarf down a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter. Or treat yourself to some peanut butter toast!
Peanut butter is a tasty comfort food with a slew of benefits for ladies on their menstrual cycle. It’s full of protein, healthy fats, and fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, which can help relieve painful cramping and inflammation.
If you can’t stomach peanut butter on its own, try pairing it with something extra nutritious like apple slices. Reach for unsalted or low-salt peanut butter to help keep bloating to a minimum.
Nuts And Seeds
Nuts are a fantastic snack even when you’re not on your period. They’re chock-full of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals, all of which can help alleviate cramping and inflammation. Reach for nuts like walnuts, almonds, and cashews for some relief from your period pain.
As for seeds, it doesn’t get much better than flaxseeds for relief from uncomfortable period symptoms. Flaxseeds are a fantastic source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
There are a ton of ways to incorporate flaxseeds into your diet, but few, if any, can compare to devouring spoonfuls of cookie dough. This Sugar Cookie Dough is made using only clean ingredients, like flaxseeds, and tastes like a heavenly, indulgent dessert. Talk about a win-win!
We’re willing to bet that leafy greens don’t usually come to mind when you think of comfort food. But hear us out. A leafy green salad or green smoothie made with spinach, swiss chard, kale, and other leafy greens is exactly what your body wants and needs when you’re on your period.
Leafy greens are full of vitamin E, fiber, manganese, and anti-inflammatory compounds, all of which are great for alleviating nagging period symptoms.
The best health podcasts love to talk about the benefits of leafy greens. Listen to this episode of Good Instincts to learn more about the connection between your hormones and the food you eat, as well as a game-changing kale hack for preventing dry-ass salads.
Salmon is another food that isn’t often considered a comfort food, but when you’re dealing with menstrual pain, this is one food that helps tremendously. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can naturally ease painful menstrual cramps.
No matter how you like your eggs, you’ll want to include them in your breakfast during that time of the month. Eggs are loaded with protein and vitamins B6, D, and E, all of which are great for relieving uncomfortable period symptoms.
This juicy and sweet tropical fruit can work wonders on an upset stomach. This is because they contain a digestive enzyme called bromelain that soothes your digestive system.
Pineapple is also an anti-inflammatory food, which means it can provide some relief from menstrual cramps.
Although it’s definitely delicious on its own, our favorite way to enjoy fresh pineapple is in a mocktail with Skinny Spicy Margarita when it’s that time of the month. You gotta try it for yourself!
It’s no secret that bananas are great to eat after a tough workout to help with recovery and prevent muscle cramps. As it turns out, they can help with period cramps too. Bananas are loaded with minerals that promote muscle relaxation. Try adding bananas to your diet when you’re on your period and see how much better you’ll feel.
Avocados are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, both of which can provide relief from painful period cramps. They’re also loaded with other vitamins and minerals that are essential to a healthy diet.
Whip up some guacamole or craft some Insta-worthy avocado toast for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Yogurt is a great source of calcium, a mineral that can help reduce bloating, muscle cramps, and water retention related to menstruation. It also contains probiotics that are great for gut health. Opt for natural, full-fat yogurt with no added sugar for the greatest benefit.
Try some of these comfort foods the next time you need relief from painful period symptoms.
Periods are a normal part of life for most women, but that doesn’t make them any less sh*tty. Fortunately, foods like the ones in this post can help make your period less miserable. Which ones do you reach for when Mother Nature arrives for her monthly visit?
If you haven’t yet gotten your fill of valuable info and entertaining content, head over to the Dear Media blog for more. And be sure to swing by the shop to see the latest must-have merchandise straight from the best podcasters in the biz. Treat yo’self this cycle to some new DM gear!