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Foods That Are Bad for Menstrual Cramps

author image Heather Topham Wood
Heather Topham Wood is a seasoned writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications, including USA Today, Gadgetell, Feel Rich and Step in Style. Heather is a published novelist with six Amazon bestsellers and a contract through Crescent Moon Press. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from TCNJ.
Foods That Are Bad for Menstrual Cramps
Foods That Are Bad for Menstrual Cramps

Menstrual cramps can be a part of a woman’s natural cycle. High levels of chemicals known as prostaglandins can cause contractions in the uterine muscles. Although there are certain foods that can help cramping, like ginger root and calcium-rich milk and cheese, you may find that certain meals can worsen the condition and should be avoided.

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Caffeinated Beverages

Caffeine can be found in teas, coffee and soft drinks. The caffeine can increase tension as well as constrict blood vessels, which can worsen menstrual cramps. The oils found in coffee can also irritate the intestines. Select decaffeinated versions of these drinks.


Alcohol acts as a diuretic and can cause you to retain water during your period. This can worsen the menstrual cramping by leading to bloating as well. If you do drink, you should limit yourself to only one to two servings of beer or wine a day.


Although you may have chocolate cravings during your period, you should limit yourself to only a small amount of sweets. Chocolate contains caffeine, a substance that can worsen your cramps.

Red Meat

Red meat contains substances known as arachadonic acids. According to an article on the "Fitness Magazine" website, arachadonic acids have been linked to the stimulation of prostaglandins, the chemicals that cause menstrual cramps.


Milk, cheese, yogurt and butter should be used sparingly if you are trying to get rid of your menstrual cramps. These products also contain the cramp-inducing arachadonic acids.

Salty Foods

Foods high in salt can cause you to retain water and should be avoided if you suffer from menstrual cramps. Foods high in sodium include chips, processed meals, table salt, fast foods and Chinese food dishes, like General Tso’s chicken and lo mein. When preparing meals at home, eliminate the salt from recipes and use fresh herbs and pepper to season dishes.

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