You are on your period and all you really want is to eat a whole bar of chocolate while sitting on the couch? And if the cramps get too much and the hot-water bottle simply doesn’t help any more, do you take a painkiller? Nice and good. Everything that makes us happy is allowed during menstruation! Unfortunately, it is unlikely that candy will help to relieve the pain, at least the physical one. But did you know that some (healthier) food options can have a positive effect on your menstrual cramps?

Which food options can help relieve menstrual cramps?

Are you ready for a better (aka more painless) period? To relieve menstrual cramps, anti-inflammatory foods are particularly important. In addition, a balanced diet rich in magnesium, vitamin B and iron helps relieve menstrual pain. Here are a few tasty alternatives to chocolate and the like:

1. Citrus fruits

If you’re in the mood for candy during your period, sweeter fruits can also be a great way to counteract your craving for sugar. And fruits will give you important nutrients to help you feel less weak and tired. Citrus fruits in particular can have a positive effect on your mood thanks to their vitamin D.

2. Bananas

Bananas are said to have a positive effect on your mood thanks to their high dose of vitamin B6. In addition, bananas are rich in fibre and therefore good for digestive problems and flatulence, which some people experience during menstruation.

3. Green leafy vegetables

Iron levels can worsen, leading to fatigue and dizziness, especially during heavy periods. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or chard are suitable for restoring the body’s iron supply and counteracting the symptoms. The magnesium and potassium in the green leaves can also help reduce menstrual cramps. During your next period, maybe drink a green smoothie or simply steam the green leaves in the pan?

4. Ginger

Ginger is known to be a miracle food and a natural pain reliever! A warm cup of ginger tea is also a very good idea during your period to relieve your menstrual pain. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects.

5. Nuts

Most nuts are a good source of protein. Nuts, such as almonds, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, are believed to help reduce uterine muscle contractions and thus reduce menstrual cramps as well. Walnuts in particular are said to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Either you can simply eat a handful of pure nuts, eat them in the form of nut butter or throw them into your granola in the morning.

6. Chamomile tea

Camomile tea has been drunk by people for centuries as a natural medicine and is considered to have calming effects on the body. The popular herbal tea is said to help relieve muscle cramps and also reduce menstrual cramps. In addition, the warmth from the inside is always good to help relax the body.

7. Water

Drinking a lot is always important. This is especially true during menstruation. Stay with still water though to avoid flatulence. If you drink a lot, the likelihood of headaches can be reduced. Water-rich fruits such as watermelon or cucumber are also ideal for staying hydrated.

8. Dark chocolate

And if you really want to eat chocolate after all, then dark chocolate with over 60 percent cocoa is the best option. Dark chocolate has a lower sugar percentage than normal milk chocolate and can be another source of magnesium. And sometimes you just need something sweet. Dark chocolate can therefore be a nice snack during your menstruation.

And what food options help you with your menstrual pain? 

Certain food options can naturally reduce your menstrual cramps. Warmth in the form of a hot water bottle or warm teas can also have a positive effect on your well-being during your period. At the end of the day, however, we are all different and react individually to different foods. Which diet helps you to experience a better period? Let us know in the comments!

Note: Some menstruating people experience their periods without any problems and pain. This is wonderful and should be the goal for everyone! Congratulations, you have made it! Some, however, struggle with severe menstrual cramps, nausea and pain. Regardless of what is shown in the media: Menstrual problems and pain are not normal! If you are struggling with severe menstrual pain every month, a visit to your gynaecologist should be happening soon.

Britta Wiebe, period education, Vulvani
Co-Founder Vulvani | | Website | + posts

Britta Wiebe is the co-founder of Vulvani. She loves researching, writing and designing new articles or innovative educational concepts about menstruation all day long. When she is not travelling the world, she enjoys spending time with her loved ones in the beautiful city of Hamburg in Germany.