We are excited to share one of our fave stories from Fitness Magazine here on FitSugar!
Are you plagued with period pain, fatigue, or other symptoms that turn you into a zombie for the week? Get relief by upgrading your diet. Here, experts share the foods that can boost energy, beat cramps, banish moodiness, and more.
Iron-Fortified Whole-Grain Cereal
Many women, especially those who consume very little meat or are vegetarians, don't get the iron they need. This saps their energy and makes it difficult for them to concentrate, says Karen Ansel, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson. "For women with heavy periods, iron is even more important because they lose larger amounts with each monthly flow. Iron-fortified whole-grain cereal is an easy way to get your daily dose." Ansel recommends looking for a box that provides at least 25 percent of the daily value for iron, then chase it down with a glass of orange juice — its vitamin C will help you absorb even more iron. At dinnertime, if you're craving iron-rich red meat, go ahead and have some, says Marissa Lippert, RD. Just stick to a lean cut (flank steak or tenderloin) and a 3- to 4-ounce portion.
More foods after the break!
According to Lippert, sugar and simple carbohydrates are things we commonly crave when we're low-energy due to PMS. "One of worst things to turn to is the quick fix of sugar. Instead, eat fiber-rich complex carbs to maintain your energy levels." There are great complex carb options for any time of day, like oatmeal, sweet potatoes, or whole wheat pasta. Brown rice is particularly beneficial. "Not only is brown rice loaded with slowly digested complex carbs, it's also a top source of magnesium (1 cup delivers 1/4 of your daily dose) which is believed to alleviate bloating. Aim for 200 mg of magnesium per day," says Ansel. Another bloat-buster? Citrus, says Lippert. "It's a natural diuretic, thanks to the potassium. Snack on clementines or oranges, or add lemon or lime to the water you drink throughout the day."
Make these your go-to food if you suffer from PMS-induced crabbiness. "They're rich in complex carbohydrates, which boost serotonin, a brain chemical that promotes feelings of well-being and relaxation," says Ansel. "Because they're also loaded with fiber and protein, they're digested slowly for a sustained carb release that will soothe you for hours." Lentils are also rich in the B vitamin thiamin, which has been linked to reducing incidences of PMS.
Milk or Yogurt
Studies have shown that women who down 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day (the equivalent of four servings of dairy) have 30 percent less PMS than those who only eat about 500 milligrams. "If there's one nutrient women need to beat PMS, it's calcium," says Ansel. Since four glasses of milk can give many women lactose intolerance, mix it up by adding in a container of yogurt.
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