Menstrual symptoms are becoming very common in these modern times. Menstrual problems vary from woman to woman. Ranging from severe stomach cramps, irregular period cycles and other hormonal imbalances, we see a major rise in a pre or post-menstrual syndrome amongst urban women. Depression, mood swings, anxiety disorder and food cravings have increased exponentially due to lifestyle changes, dietary habits and most importantly, stress.
The physical, mental and emotional disturbances that women experience during their menstrual cycle include hot flushes, changes in appetite, nausea, vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea, acne breakouts etc. Psychological issues like emotional disturbances, diminished libido and constant fatigue are common.
Ayurveda states that the imbalance of the doshas in the body is largely responsible for the accelerated growth in women’s reproductive diseases. It offers a comprehensive diagnosis by altering lifestyle modifications through food, yoga, exercise and meditation to treat menstrual symptoms successfully.
Following a Satvik diet during periods is essential. This includes fresh, seasonal, well-cooked and digestible food. This will reflect in the health of your Agni, or digestive fire, and your overall health as well. Your digestive fire is naturally low during menstruation and can worsen with cold of heavy foods.
Generic remedies for every women: Since spicy food increases internal body heat, it is suggested that women must consume cooling food items during menstruation. They should avoid eating non-vegetarian food and consume seasonal vegetables and fruits more often. To strengthen the body and ease cramps, one must eat peanuts, flax seeds, coconuts etc. Millets are a staple across the country. Hence eating a lot of millets will increase nutritional intake.
The Dosha dominating your cycle (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) should determine what to eat during periods. Your menstrual cycles are are important clue to understanding dosha imbalances. By understanding your bodily constitution and its needs, you can tailor your diet to restore this.
Diet for women with a predominant Vata Dosha: Nourishing herbs such as Ashwagandha or Shatavari consumed as teas or in cooking can also calm vata-aggravated symptoms. Forms of tea such as Dashamula or ginger can also restore strength and stability. Consume chamomile blended green herbal tea at least twice a day.This will help reduce water retention in the body, making you feel less bloated and much more energised. You can also try eating a spoonful of aloe vera gel with a pinch of black pepper added to it before you eat your main meals. This will help you fight mood swings and stop any kind of infections in the body during this time.
Diet for women with a predominant Pitta Dosha: Boil a small batch piece of aloe vera in water with a pinch of cumin powder early every morning. You can add some honey to sweeten your drink. This will instantly cool your stomach, relieving you of any acid reflux during this time. Make it a habit to consume sweet, bitter and astringent tasting foods to help you cool the body naturally.Eat a lot of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables. Include barley, rice, oats, milk and homemade butter in your daily diet. Incorporate herbs such as shatavari, gudichi, and brahmi.
Stay away from hot, spicy, salty or oily foods. You can consume sour foods but in moderation. Try to flavour your foods through cooler herbs (such as coriander), or milder spices such as ginger, fennel, and turmeric.Make sure to get adequate sleep and rest to help your body rejuvenate and cope up during your periods.
Diet for women with a predominant Kapha Dosha: The Kapha-pacifying diet includes light, dry, warm and easy to digest foods. Both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables are fibre rich and low in density. Some fruits to eat during periods include apples, watermelon and muskmelon. Green and black teas are also recommended against heavier beverages like coffee.
Be sure to avoid heavy, dense or oily foods. These can worsen your existing symptoms. Puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat and flour products, red meat and deep fried foods are examples of what to not eat during your period. Even on following the correct diet, be sure to exercise portion control.Boil a small aloe vera in boiling water with a pinch of black pepper and ginger early every morning. Pure cow ghee must be included in your daily meals. Avoid eating or drinking very cold food or water but at the same time, remember to hydrate sufficiently.
Try these simple yet specific foods to keep yourself happy and healthy during your periods.It is also advised to keep your meals light, and homemade when you menstruate. While basic yogic stretches, pranayama and meditation can also be very beneficial, eating the right kind of foods plays an integral part in tackling PMS. So literally eat away smartly to glide through your periods with ease every time.