If you’re on your period, try these foods for a more painless time of the month

Disclaimer: please consult your doctor.

Have you ever wondered what types of foods you should be eating on your period? In this episode of ITK: Hack the Cycle, host and August founder Nadya Okamoto (@nadyaokamoto) sits down with licensed nutritionist Lisa Moskovitz (@lisamnutrition) to chat about period nutrition hacks that might relieve period cramps.

Lisa explains that menstrual cycles occur in two parts: the follicular stage, generally the first two weeks, and the luteal stage, between ovulation and menstruation. “All throughout the cycle, our body is changing a lot,” she says. “Our hormones are fluctuating, we have a rise in estrogen, and then that drops off, and then a rise in progesterone, and then that drops off. So we want to support that balance by eating a balanced, varied, very nutrient-dense diet.”

By eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, high-fiber whole grains, anti-inflammatory fats and lean proteins, we can support a low-symptom menstrual cycle.

Lisa recommends eating broccoli during your period because its antioxidants fight inflammation that can exacerbate PMS symptoms. Similarly, she suggests adding avocados to dishes because they’re a great source of monounsaturated fat, which also fights inflammation.

Picking healthy foods is only the first step to using nutrition to fight menstrual cramps. Lisa has some delicious recipes to use these superfoods in to make eating well easy. She shows Nadya how to make an avocado salmon wrap using a whole wheat tortilla — noting that eating whole grains can curb cravings for sweets. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which is another powerful anti-inflammatory.

Another helpful tip is to stay hydrated to prevent tummy bloating during your period. Picking vegetables with a lot of water and fiber, like cucumbers, will help. “The more water you drink, the less water you retain,” she says.

Lisa tops her avocado salmon wrap with sesame seeds because they’re an excellent source of lignans that can help balance estrogen. This is beneficial to anyone with bad PMS symptoms. She says eating a tablespoon of sesame seeds daily is a good way to ensure you’re getting enough lignans to balance your estrogen.

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