Our menstrual cycles kick off with one of the two big events – menstruation and ovulation. No matter what you call it (surfing the crimson tide, Big Red, the painters, Aunt Flo), your period doesn’t have to negatively impact your life. This might sound strange to hear, especially if you’ve only been told that periods = pain, emotional upheaval, and exhaustion. The way we eat, move our bodies, breath and manage stress all influence our periods and the good news is that there’s a lot we can do to have a better period.
What To Eat
Most of us eat 3 meals a day, which gives us 21 opportunities each week to add foods that can help us have a better period.
Vitamin K: If you have a heavy flow, you can add foods that support blood clotting, which in the case of heavy menstrual bleeding, helps to slow the blood flow so the bleeding isn’t as heavy. You can add in dark leafy greens such as kale, chard and cabbage, liver (you could try a chicken or lamb liver pâté!) and natto, the Japanese fermented soy bean dish.
Magnesium: If you experience pain during your period, foods with magnesium are wonderful to help reduce the contractions of the uterus. If you use Epsom salt baths and magnesium sprays on sore muscles after a tough Kettlebell or Barre class, you’ll also find similar benefits for painful periods. Magnesium is nature’s relaxing mineral, so adding in foods that contain it, such as dark chocolate (!), nuts, seeds, avocado, kale and spinach can help with period pain and mood changes. An avocado cacao mousse sounds nice, doesn’t it?
How To Move
Curling up into a ball in front of the telly is always a nice option during your period, but some gentle movement can really help. Not only do you get the benefit of all that beautiful serotonin (our happy hormone!), you also help open up the hips and pelvis to support healthy blood flow around the pelvis.
Le’Nise Brothers is a yoga teacher and registered nutritionist, mBANT, mCNHC, specialising in women’s health, hormones and the menstrual cycle. She is also the host of the Period Story podcast, which aims to break taboos around menstrual health and hormones.
Le’Nise has helped hundreds of women improve their menstrual and hormone health through her private practice and group programmes, talks and workshops for the likes of Stylist, Channel 4, Ebay and TikTok and her Instagram page.
Her first book You Can Have A Better Period will be released on 8th March 2022.