Headaches, cramps, fatigue, volatile moods — welcome to womanhood, ladies. Sure, big picture, getting your period is a good thing. But, thinking in more immediate terms, it's a serious pain in the *ss. It makes your stomach hurt, makes you feel groggy, and makes you want to eat all of the snacks. But before you hit the pantry, it's important to know that there are certain foods that make PMS worse.
Annoyingly, all of the foods you crave the most when you're on your period are actually the ones most likely to give you worse cramps, drain your energy, and make you feel bloated AF. If you really want your period pain to be lessened, you'll subsist on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for the week. But who has ever though, "Oh my God, I have such bad PMS. I'm like seriously craving a salad right now." No one, that's who.
But alas, opting for that salad might actually be the best food to eat to keep your PMS symptoms at bay. But whatever you choose to buy for lunch or snack on midday, it's good to know what foods are not going to be your friend when you're on your period. Here are seven things you should do your best to avoiding eating when you're trying to lessen the pain of PMS.
1. Salty Foods
Salt may add flavor to your food, but The National notes that salt causes bloating. Anyone who's ever tried to go clothes shopping on their period knows that bloating is also an obnoxious side effect of PMS. Eating salty foods will cause your body to retain water, and exacerbate the bloat., which nobody wants. So to avoid feeling extra swollen, avoid chips, pretzels and fast food.
I know — you're period is giving you a massive migraine, and all you want is a large cup of coffee. But think twice before you buy that cup of joe. Caffeine actually worsens PMS symptoms, no matter how much you think it will help. Studies have found that caffeine not only increases the severity of PMS symptoms, it also makes you more likely to suffer from PMS in the first place.
3. Dairy Products
It should come as no surprise that dairy products can be difficult to digest. Like sugar, they tend to cause cramping, which nobody wants more of during their time of the month. I've always said that I would do anything (and suffer anything) for the opportunity to eat cheese, but even so, a week without my favorite food group (cheese being the food group) might be worth it. Challenging, but worth it. But if you do cut the dairy, make sure you're still getting calcium from other sources, since studies show calcium can ease menstrual pain. You can get your calcium fill through foods like kale, almonds and broccoli.
Hold on before you go buy that pint of Ben and Jerry's for you and Aunt Flo. Sugar, while it may sound like a good idea, will actually making your PMS worse. As an inflammatory, sugar cause cramping. Also, the other side of a sugar high is a crash, which leaves you feeling tired and more prone to mood swings. So if you want to be productive during PMS and don't want to lash out at your local barista for no reason whatsoever, stay away from candies and sweets. (I know, I'm sorry.)
5. Fatty Foods (Trans Fat)
I'm looking at you, french fries. Foods high in trans-fat cause inflammation, which only heightens the symptoms you're already feeling. Save your trip to your favorite fast food joint until after you're done with your period. Think of it as a celebration that your survived the week without backhanding anyone across the face (seriously, that's a feat).
6. Red Meat
If you need to blame someone for your cramps, you can blame Mother Nature and these pesky little things called prostaglandins. According to Mayo Clinic, prostaglandins cause the uterine muscles to contract, which is the cause of your period cramps. The more prostaglandins you have, the more painful the contraction. Red meat has prostaglandins in it — and you definitely don't want to add more to your body during this time of the month.
Alcohol's bad for your liver, and, as Huffington Post notes, drinking it can stop your liver from producing excess estrogen, which isn't good during your period. Plus, while alcohol may make you feel fantastic while you've got a little buzz going, it's not so nice the next day. PMS and a hangover? That sounds like the worst day ever.