Can the types of food I eat change my period?

Yes, they actually do. Mainly they affect the way your body responds to having your period. When my period is coming, I totally crave sweets – if my girlfriends know that I am making brownies they know what week it is! However, sugar is one of those things that can increase mood swings during your period (uggh) and make you feel sluggish afterward. Salt in foods is something that can cause you to retain water (bloating, finger swelling). Caffeine found in coffee, tea, pop and chocolate can increase breast tenderness as well as make you feel anxious, both of which are trying symptoms of having your period.

On the other hand, there are foods that may help the symptoms. Make sure you are getting enough calcium from dairy products, calcium-fortified orange juice, tofu and broccoli. This will help with cramps. Also, eating plenty of fiber can stave off getting constipated during your period. So make sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grain breads and cereals. Look at the fiber content and shoot for 2 grams of fiber per slice of bread and more than 2 for a serving of cereal. Eating cucumber and watermelon will help with water retention, as will drinking eight glasses of water each day.

What you eat can most definitely change how you feel during your period.  Your best bet (always) is to eat a diet that consists of foods as close to their natural state as possible (for example: real fruit instead of fruit snacks).  Some people believe that eating a healthy diet can decrease the pain and flow of your period.  Eating a healthy diet instead of junk food will make you feel better overall; this is especially important during that week when you may be feeling some physical irritations.

I hope this helps!  Definitely check out Sandy’s answer, and if you’d like to take it a step further you can consult a nutritionist.

The same kinds of foods you should eat to keep YOU healthy keep your periods healthy too! Try to eat foods in their least processed form. You can think of it as trying to eat foods that are the closest to the way they exist in nature. For example, you'd want to try to choose a whole baked potato over potato chips, which have to go through a lot to get into the bag; or a whole apple over apple juice, which also has to go through a lot to get in the bottle. But don't worry: Just because you indulged in that PMS-induced chocolate craving, you're not going to mess up your whole cycle.

If you're missing out on key nutrients, it can definitely affect your cycle. Sudden or extreme weight loss, weight gain, and eating disorders can also cause irregular periods. If you find yourself suddenly gaining or losing a lot of weight or think you might have an eating disorder, it might be time to schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional.
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