What to eat during menstruation?

It is not a quick answer question as seen in many articles that recommend a specific diet during these days of the month. The truth is that eating throughout the menstrual cycle is important along with regular and constant exercise.

In the days before the menstrual period and during its development, several symptoms may appear, some of which are very uncomfortable. From mood swings and intestinal transit to nausea and vomiting through the famous abdominal and / or pelvic pain. These symptoms are due to several substances, mainly hormones, and through food we can influence their action.

O mood changes they are often attributed to an imbalance of the female sex hormones, progesterone and estrogen, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter. This is formed from an essential amino acid that must be incorporated through the diet: tryptophan.

Another very featurecraving” for sweets in the premenstrual phase. In the days leading up to the cycle, there is an increased sensitivity to sweet flavors due to the high concentration of estradiol (female sex hormone), while as progesterone levels increase, sensitivity to bitter flavors occurs.

o Low serotonin levels relate to symptoms of irritability, depression, anxiety and sadness. Its decrease coincides with the drop in progesterone and estrogen levels in the premenstrual phase and usually craves the consumption of sweets on these days. On the other hand, progesterone stimulates a moderate water retention and salt by the kidney leading to a small increase in body weight.

At nausea and vomit may be an effect of the action of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are a type of eicosanoid that increases the contraction of the uterus to help remove the unfertilized egg and endometrial tissue, causing the pelvic and/or abdominal pain. Sometimes they reach high levels by acting on the gastrointestinal muscles, giving rise to diarrhea, nausea and/or vomiting.

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What nutrients can’t be missing and in what foods can you find them?

The involvement of some hormones and other specific molecules in the menstrual cycle is fundamental for its occurrence. It is essential to provide the body with the nutrients necessary for their synthesis. Below we’ll look at some of these nutrients along with others that can also alleviate some of the more troublesome symptoms of the rule.

tryptophan. It is the precursor of serotonin or the “happiness hormone”. This amino acid is found in significant amounts in eggs, meat, fish and dairy products. It can also be found in spirulina, spinach, watercress. etc.

essential fatty acids (AGE). They are the basic components used by our body for the production of eicosanoids (including prostaglandins). Consumption of oily fish like sardines, anchovies, salmon and herring provides omega-3 AGEs, EPA and DHA. In plant sources, omega-3s can be found in chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax, walnuts, and other dried fruits. The main dietary sources of omega-6 (linolenic acid) are vegetable oils such as sunflower, safflower, peanut and soybean oil, among others.

Folic Acid and Vitamin B12. These two nutrients have a close relationship in the body and are decisive in prejudice. One of its close metabolic relationships is found in the production of methionine (amino acid), involved in the formation of melatonin (“sleep hormone”). Melatonin and serotonin are closely related, being necessary to regulate sleep, appetite and mood.

Folic acid is provided by liver, bean sprouts, spinach, endive, peanuts, Swiss chard, almonds and avocados, among others. While vitamin B12 in organ meats, eggs and dairy mainly.

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Magnesium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. They facilitate the conversion of L-tryptophan to serotonin, in addition to many other metabolic implications. Magnesium is provided by nuts, cocoa, soy, brewer’s yeast, parsley (which can also help regulate menstruation), etc. Egg yolks, liver, kidney, fish, dairy products, whole grains, yeast and dried fruits provide us with vitamin B6 or priridoxine. Vitamin C in red peppers, green peppers, berries, kiwi, parsley, broccoli, Brussels sprouts… and a long etc.

Water. Many are unaware of the importance of drinking plenty of water during menstruation. Proper hydration affects the body as a whole and also helps to eliminate retained fluids, one of the symptoms of menstruation.

Physical exercise: The regular practice of sports and physical exercises helps in many aspects of human health. During menstruation it can help fight symptoms of irritability and sadness.

In short, you need to eat everything, maintain a varied and well-hydrated diet, avoid certain practices (consumption of processed foods, alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, physical inactivity) and exercise regularly.

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