Foods that reduce menstrual cramps: Make these changes in diet to ease PMS


Premenstrual syndrome is a combination of distressing physical, behavioural and psychological symptoms experienced by women and girls before the onset of menstruation and regress by the end of the period. Commonly experienced symptoms are weight gain, bloating, breast fullness, mood swings, headache, depression, cramp-like pain in lower abdomen, back and thighs and since these symptoms can be mild, moderate or severe in individuals, females are advised treatment depe-nding on their severity.
Menstrual cramps or dysmenorrhea affects almost 70 per cent of women of child-bearing age in India. Charac-terised by painful cramps during the first few days of the period, dysmenorrhea can greatly impact women’s daily activities but health and fitness experts insist that help can be as near as your kitchen since food is medicine and is deeply linked to our physical and mental wellbeing.
In an interview, Dr Kavita Pujar, Senior Con-sultant - Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Beng-aluru's Kinder Women's Hospital & Fertility Centre, revealed, "Consu-ming natural nutrients that reduce bodily inflammation will help in reducing menstrual cramps.
These foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds whole grains will aid in reducing the cramps. It is advised to avoid animal products such as milk, meat etc and other oils that raises the estrogen levels. Increase in body's estrogen level increases the risk of abnormal thickening of the uterus lining resulting in more pain during periods.
It is also necessary to include nutrients such as magnesium, fiber, vitamin B, calcium in one's diet to reduce muscular cramps and pain."
Asserting that there are certain dietary and lifestyle changes that can be helpful in reducing these symptoms, Dr Preeti Raheja, Gynaecologist at Connect and Heal, listed the foods that can ease PMS:
1. Bananas - Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. They can reduce menstrual cramps and bloating.
2. Green and leafy vegetables - Vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale are good nutritional inclusions to diet during periods.
3. Dark chocolate - Dark chocolate with 85% cocoa is rich in magnesium and fibre. Cocoa can help in reducing period cramps and satisfying cravings for sweets. Cocoa helps in uplifting mood.
4. Oranges - Oranges are rich in magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C. They reduce fatigue and improve moods.
5. Nuts - A handful of almonds, pistachios and sunflower seeds are good snacks during periods.
6. Chamomile and ginger tea - These have a calming effect and help in reducing nausea and bloating.
7. Water - Drinking enough water keeps the body hydrated & reduces fatigue.
Highlighting the foods to avoid during periods, Dr Preeti Raheja cautioned against fried foods, foods with high salt content, caffeine, milk & dairy products.
According to Pratiksha Kadam, Chief Dietitian at Navi Mumbai's Reliance Hospital, plant-based foods should be included in the diet which will increase the fibre.
A high fibre diet in combination with a low-fat diet can reduce the intensity of the pain during menstrual periods, she said.

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