Take a quick trip down memory lane to when you were told about a period. Did you get the iconic “you’re growing” explanation that was really nothing more than an awk convo with a parent?
Or perhaps to learn about your most sensitive body part, you were given an outdated video to watch that discussed your anatomy via cartoon?
Regardless of how your experience went, chances are you learned all about the birds and the bees without ever being told about those notorious period cravings that often go hand-in-hand with menstruation.
From late-night goodie runs for pints of ice cream or bags of salty snacks to the insatiable urge to chow down on everything but the kitchen sink, period cravings can come on strong — but did you know that your period snacking go-to’s have the potential to cause a number of totally preventable issues?
Yep, it’s true — the food that you nosh on during Auntie Flo’s monthly visit can impact you in more ways than one. Interested in learning more? We can help.
Read on as we explore our ultimate guide for what not to eat during your monthly menstrual cycle. Happier periods ahead!
Why Do PMS Munchies Happen?
If you ask us, there’s just about nothing more frustrating (or annoying) than when someone says your period cravings are all in your head.
Sure, maybe to a super slight degree, your hankerings for the sweet stuff during your monthly bleed are “in your head,” but there’s more to it, according to researchers.
In fact, one recent study showed that the hormone estradiol (a form of estrogen) is linked to carb cravings, whereas progesterone is linked to sweetened drink cravings — this just might explain your pre-period snack attacks when those dreaded PMS symptoms strike.
So, in short, when it comes to your crazy period cravings, blame it on the hormones.
That said, PMS can be a super draining and emotional time, so whether your period cravings are all in your head or due to fluctuating hormones, if you want to find a little comfort by filling your plate with some of your favorite foods — then you go.
When Do Period Cravings Typically Start?
Ah, the joys of PMS! More often than not, PMS symptoms begin five to 11 days before menstruation kicks off, with cravings typically taking a back seat shortly after the crimson wave starts.
In addition to period cravings, you may also experience:
- Mood swings
- Menstrual cramps
- Water retention
Whether it’s due to pesky hormones or from munching on too many salty snacks, bloating is another less-than-wonderful symptom commonly associated with PMS.
With that in mind, if you’re one of the many women who experience belly bloat and are hoping to kick this uncomfortable PMS symptom to the curb, we suggest checking out our Bloating Kit.
Made for women by women —when it comes to bloating, we don’t mess around! This incredible kit includes three powerful female-friendly supplements designed to help you de-bloat while supporting a healthy gut and overall immunity.*
How Does Food Impact Menstruation?
Filling up on the right foods can give a major boost to your energy, sex drive (wink, wink), appearance, and more.
On the flip side, eating the wrong foods can set you up for irregular periods, moodiness, skin woes, weight gain, and even extreme bouts of sleepiness. In other words, the food you eat can take your period from bearable and semi-manageable to unbearable and unbelievably frustrating (if it isn’t already).
So, what should you avoid, like the plague, during your monthly flow? To keep the icky symptoms of PMS down to a minimum, do your best to steer clear of the following:
Ok, so here’s the deal — sugary foods in moderation are perfectly fine. It’s when the sweet stuff is consumed in large quantities that it becomes a problem. Not only can indulging in too much sugar lead to a major energy crash due to fluctuating blood sugar levels, but it can really put a damper on your mood, too.
Rather than risk losing your #HappyVibes, swap your sweet treats with something healthier, such as:
- Trail mix
- Lean protein
- Low-fat dairy products like cheese or yogurt
- Fresh fruit like watermelon
- Whole grain granola
- Dark chocolate
Got a sweet tooth that just won’t quit? Don’t hold yourself captive from enjoying your favorite treats or comfort food — remember, moderation is key!
When you’re on your monthly cycle, you may want to consider nixing all booze from your diet.
Why? Because the loss of blood at this time lowers your blood pressure, which can make you much more vulnerable to the icky side effects of alcohol.
Plus, let’s not forget about the awful symptoms that often follow a night of drinking with the girls, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and fatigue. When dealing with your period, a hangover is likely the last thing you want on your hands.
Sorry java aficionados — we don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but coffee is one of the main drinks you may want to limit during your period. This is because caffeine is a stimulant, which can quickly lead to a fluctuation in your hormones, and that is something you most definitely want to avoid during your monthly flow.
During your time of the month, your body produces little compounds (called prostaglandins) that help your uterus to contract and shed the uterine lining, resulting in your menstrual flow. However, high levels of prostaglandins cause abdominal cramps.
To prevent prostaglandins from wreaking havoc during your period, you may want to consider steering clear of red meat, which contains large amounts of prostaglandins. By keeping your prostaglandins levels in check, you may notice a decrease in menstrual pain.
Heavily processed meat, canned foods, and other items made with preservatives, artificial ingredients, and chemicals can make bloating worse. High levels of sodium are unhealthy at any time of the month, but they tend to do even more damage during menstruation. Snacks high in salt, like chips, can be swapped out for kale chips, roasted lentils, or veggies and dip for healthier alternatives that aren’t empty calories.
Plus, processed foods are notoriously known for worsening the problem of acne and skin inflammation, which is exactly why it’s best to be avoided.
That said, if your monthly flow and acne typically go hand-in-hand, despite eating a healthy diet that’s free from processed foods, you may want to consider taking a probiotic designed to support the health of your skin — such as Clear Skin Probiotics.
Clinically tested to clear acne† and support your gut-skin connection*, our powerful formula includes Bifidobacterium longum BB536® — a clinically tested strain of bacteria that supports clear skin — and Chaste Berry Tree, which improved acne† in 70% of female and male participants in clinical trials.
A Final Word
And there you have it — the ultimate guide for what not to eat during periods.
There is no shortage of tasty foods to enjoy while on your period to help get you through the monthly pain and discomfort. To support digestion, clear skin, and a happy mood, steer clear of sugar, red meat, caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods and opt for heart-friendly, fiber-rich meals with lots of fresh fruit and veggies.
Here at Love Wellness, we know all about the period struggle. Why? Because just like you, we go through the motions of PMS, too! Menstruation is no picnic, from unbearable tummy cramps to cystic acne and fatigue. Not to worry, though, as we’re here to help with natural solutions that actually work.
Whether you’re hoping to de-bloat, combat a few zits, or soothe your stress, you can always count on us to have your back with doctor-developed wellness products that are second to none.
Check us out today and experience the difference clean ingredients can make in your body tomorrow.
Menstrual cycle hormones, food intake, and cravings – Krishnan – 2016 | The FASEB Journal Wiley Online Library
Using Foods Against Menstrual Pain | PCRM
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder | MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia