Periods can turn our regular diet upside down! We may have cravings for sugary treats or, equally, many of us won’t feel like eating much at all. This is down to a few things including fluctuating hormones, lack of essential minerals and the need for energy which is often absent when it’s our time of the month. Though what about drinks? What impact do they have on periods and do they have a part to play in helping you through your period? Today I look at both of these things.
Keeping yourself hydrated is always essential but it becomes even more important when you’re on your period. That’s because water helps to avoid bloating which is not only uncomfortable, but can often be accompanied by pain as well.
During your period warm water is better than refrigerated water because your body can use it immediately without having to heat it up. This means you get the benefits of it straight away rather than having to wait a while.
However, if you want to drink something a little more exciting during your period then you could try our recipe for detox water. With a mixture of fruit and vegetables, this drink is both refreshing and tasty!
Remember - cravings, which can be problematic during your period, can also be a sign of thirst so this problem may be reduced if you keep yourself hydrated.
2) Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea contains two compounds called hippurate and glycine which may prove beneficial for menstrual cramps. That’s because these compounds help to relieve muscle spasms, as well as working to relax the uterus. Not only this though, chamomile also has unique anti-inflammatory properties which may help to reduce cramp further.
I think it’s also important to note that this caffeine free drink is incredibly calming so if your period means your mood is all over the place, this should help.
Remember – here at Jan de Vries we stock a whole range of refreshing herbal teas includingPukka's Three Chamomile Tea.
3) Ginger tea
Ginger is just another ingredient that can do wonders during your period! Like chamomile it has anti-inflammatory properties so it can help with painful cramps. Also, if your period is accompanied by nausea, sickness and stomach upset, ginger can help to relieve you of these issues.
You can increase your intake of ginger by putting it in soups or smoothies though ginger tea is another tasty option. So, why not swap your usual brew for one flavoured with ginger and see if that helps your cramps?
Remember - lemon and ginger tea is a particularly refreshing and here at Jan de Vries we have many varieties to choose from!
4) Raspberry leaf tea
This is one of the more unusual varieties of tea but it’s tasty and has the potential to help period pain so here at Jan de Vries we think it’s worth shouting about!
Once again raspberry leaf tea has anti-inflammatory properties so can be useful in tackling stomach aches and in preventing constipation.
Remember – Cotswold have a range of loose leaf teas including raspberry leaf tea.
Depending on the ingredients, smoothies can also help to ease period pain. An apple and spinach smoothie for example, provides a host of vitamins and minerals that your body may be lacking at this time. Spinach for example, is a good source of both iron and magnesium – two minerals that are known to be beneficial during your period.
Fatigue, which is often problematic during your period, can be made worse by low iron levels therefore at this time it can prove helpful to up your intake of this valuable mineral. Magnesium on the other hand, has a relaxing effect on muscles which helps to ease cramps. However, it can also impact upon mood, working to reduce anxiety and encourage better sleep.
You can increase your iron and magnesium intake by adding more foods such as banana, pumpkin seeds, green beans, red meat and broccoli to your diet or, alternatively, you can mix up a smoothie!
Remember – you can pack whatever fruit and veg you like in a smoothie but do try to stay clear of pre-packaged ones which are often loaded with sugar.
6) Coffee substitute
Caffeine can make cramps worse so it’s best to avoid this during your period. However, if you’d still like to enjoy a hot drink with your breakfast or your lunch you could turn to a herbal tea or coffee substitute such as A.Vogel's tasty Bambu Hot Drink. This is made from a mix of organic chicory, Turkish figs, malted barley, wheat and Greek acorns which makes it completely natural.
Chicory is also known to have a positive impact on the digestive processes so if you are feeling a little queasy as a result of your period, this is beneficial.
Remember – there’s still caffeine in decaf coffee!
What drinks should you avoid?
There are a number of foods you can enjoy during your period but, equally, there a few drinks you should stay clear of too.
The likes of fizzy juice and energy drinks can cause energy levels to rise rapidly and then crash which leaves you more lethargic than when you started. As fatigue is often an issue during your period, it’s advisable to stay clear of sugary drinks in case the problem is worsened.
Remember – even fruit juice from concentrate contain lots of sugar so opt for squash or fresh fruit juice instead.
This is a big no-no during your period, hence my recommendation for herbal teas and coffee substitutes at this time. Caffeine can make you feel jittery and anxious, plus it activates the sympathetic nervous system which can leave you feeling anxious and stressed. It also acts as a stimulant which means it can cause hormones to fluctuate which isn’t exactly ideal if your period means your mood is all over the place anyway.
What’s more, caffeine can interrupt blood glucose levels which can contribute to food cravings which again, are common during your period.
Remember – energy drinks, fizzy juice, caffeine and tea all contain caffeine.
Milk contains saturated fats which have the potential to increase inflammation and irritation which is, in turn, likely to worsen period pain. However, dairy also contains a chemical called prostaglandin which can contribute to cramping. Therefore, unfortunately this is another drink that shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts whilst you are on your period.
Remember – yogurts, milkshakes, cheese, ice cream and butter all have the potential to cause problems too.
Some people find it helpful to cut back their alcohol consumption whilst on their period as it can dehydrate you. This, in turn, makes period symptoms like cravings and fatigue more severe.