How to Eat Before Menstrual Cycles

Your menstrual cycle is a bodily process that is healthy and normal; unfortunately, it is not always painless. Cramps, bloating, headaches and muscle stiffness are just some of the possible side effects of menstruation. Regularly eating a balanced diet can greatly improve these symptoms. There are certain foods that you should avoid as much as possible in the days before and during your monthly period. See your doctor or gynecologist if you experience menstrual symptoms that are severe enough to interrupt your daily activities.

Eat less salt to reduce bloating during menstruation. (Image: FogStock/Aisha Harley/FogStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats on a daily basis. Regularly eating well will reduce the severity of your premenstrual symptoms.

Step 2

Eat foods rich in iron on the days before and during your period. Continue eating vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables. Eliminate salt from your diet as much as possible prior to menstruation, because sodium increases water retention and makes you feel bloated.

Step 3

Avoid refined sugars and processed foods before and during menstruation. These simple carbohydrates cause blood sugar fluctuations, which can make you feel irritable.

Step 4

Take a calcium supplement or eat calcium-rich foods; try to consume 1000mg per day. Some research by scientists at Columbia University suggests that that calcium reduces the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.

Step 5

Drink lots of non-caffeinated fluids in addition to eating a healthy diet. Reduce or eliminate alcohol from your diet before and during menstruation.

Tip

Do not eat "junk food" while you are menstruating. Many snacks and fast foods contain refined carbohydrates and lots of sodium, both of which can worsen your symptoms.

Warning

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplement that claims to improve menstrual symptoms. Some supplements interfere with prescription medications such as birth control and antibiotics.

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