Lots of women under 50 aren’t getting enough iron, which means – among other things – they have less get up and go and their periods are often heavier. As iron travels through the blood, it’s even more important to eat iron-rich foods during your period as your levels dip even more. Red meat, spinach, good quality dark chocolate, hummus, dried apricots and sunflower seeds are all iron-rich and delicious.
Did you know? Taking an iron tablet with a glass of orange juice helps the body to absorb it better.
PMT doesn’t have to be the norm every month. Eating complex carbs like lentils encourages the brain to release good mood chemicals, so you’ll feel calmer and more relaxed.
Calcium is thought to help with that rubbish hormonal feeling, so up your low-fat dairy to 4 portions a day – natural yoghurt, milk and cheese all count.
Hands up who’s woken up with a big spot on their chin just before their period starts? Instead of snacking on salty and sugary treats like crisps or biscuits which can make breakouts worse, munch on a mango. They act like a natural skin scrub from the inside, reducing redness and keeping skin free from bacteria. Clever, eh?
Did you know? Taking cod liver and evening primrose oil supplements can help with time of the month breakouts.
Tender or sore breasts during your monthly cycle is very normal. Eating more foods that contain vitamin E (almonds, sunflower seeds, cooked spinach, olives and dried apricots) should make all the difference because it’s a powerful antioxidant that sorts out swelling.
When your tummy swells just before you come on, it’s usually down to water retention caused by changes in your hormones. Salad, especially if it’s made with cucumber, helps your body flush the water through because it’s a natural diuretic that makes you go to the toilet more.
Did you know? Watermelon and artichoke are also natural diuretics.
A handful of brazil nuts will give your body lots of lovely magnesium – a lifesaver when your period is in full swing. Not only does magnesium calm you, but it also naturally relaxes your womb muscle to stop cramps.
Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water – sweating more, especially at night, can lead to horrible headaches. Keep a glass of water next to your bed.
Did you know? Your body temperature rises a little after ovulation. It then drops back to normal just before you start your period.
Your bowel slows down just before your period starts so you’ll probably struggle to go to the loo like usual. Stock up on fibre-filled foods like brown rice, lentils, jacket potato and wholemeal bread or pasta to keep you regular.
Did you know? Sorbet or ice cream is the best thing to eat if you’re craving something naughty because it will satisfy your sweet tooth quickly.
Taking painkillers will definitely help with period pain, but so will adding oily fish like salmon to your plate. It’s packed with omega fats which scientists think may help reduce that horrible swelling which causes cramps. Avocado is great for veggies.
Did you know? Tinned salmon is just as good for you as fresh or frozen