Health

What to eat and avoid during menstruation

Symptoms like cramps, mood swings, depression etc, have increased due to lifestyle changes

 
By Meenakshi Sushma
Last Updated: Saturday 09 March 2019
Representative Photo: Getty Images
Representative Photo: Getty Images Representative Photo: Getty Images

Menstrual cycle is something which every women goes through monthly. During this time the symptoms vary from women to women, some have stomach cramps, hormonal imbalance leading to an irregular cycle, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or a post-menstrual syndrome. The syndromes have symptoms like sudden depression, anxiety, mood swings and food cravings. These have gotten aggravated due to lifestyle changes, including dietary habits.

“Traditionally, elders used to prepare a special menu for consumption during the menstrual cycle, along with home remedies to deal with the symptoms. These vary according across regions and climatic zones,” says B Salome Yesudas, an independent researcher on food security and nutrition.

She adds that there are certain foods items which can be considered as hot and cold depending on the region and local traditions. For example, in Telangana foxtail millets and finger millets are considered cold, while sorghum is neutral. Similarly regions which have cooler climate consider these food items as hot.

Hot food items increase body heat which in turn increases the intensity of pain. It is usually suggested that women consume cold food items during menstruation. In general, non-vegetarian food should be avoided.

Similarly, in order to strengthen and to calm down the cramps, fresh fruits and vegetables are recommended as well as oil-rich nuts like peanuts, flax seeds, etc. All over India, millets are consumed during this time as it is nutritious. In southern parts of the country, it is consumed in the form of broth and millet balls, and in north its is eaten in the form of a chapati, adds Yesudas.

In 1998, she conducted a research in Telangana highlighting cold and hot foods consumed in the region, results of which were published as part of Food and Agriculture Organization’s report titled ‘Indigenous Peoples’ food systems: the many dimensions of culture, diversity and environment for nutrition and health’.

COOL FOODS

HOT FOODS

Mosambi

Crab

Apple

(Korra) foxtail millet

Grapes

Chicken

Karbuja

Fish

Tarbuja

Eggs

Dosakaya

Papaya

Icecream

Sitaphal

Buttermilk

Oma

Curds

Ghee

Anar

Avisa linseed/ flex seed

Chickpea + Pigeon pea

Pigeonpea

Ragi

Jaggery

Saijonnaambali sorghum

Tea

Guava

 


“The touch-me-not plant (Mimosa pudica) helps reduce pain. People in Telangana make a concoction of the leaves by boiling it in water, which is then reduced to one-fourth. This concoction is offered during menstruation to reduce pain,” she says.

Similarly, Eraythrina Indica or the Indian coral tree is used to control excessive bleeding. The bark of this tree is boiled in water and the concoction is given to women. Further, to calm the mood swings and hormonal imbalance, food items rich in vitamin D, vitamin B complex and protein; nuts rich in fat; vegetables and fruits-rich in antioxidants should be consumed.

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