Woman Eating Cake

Periods can leave you feeling bloated, exhausted and all-around uncomfortable. So when the symptoms of your menstrual cycle kick in with full-blown force, the first thing on your mind may be to reach for one of your favorite comfort foods to ease those pesky side effects.

But did you know that eating the wrong types of food can do your body more harm than good? Sure, that plate of extra-cheesy French fries may taste good going down. But the cramping and discomfort they cause a few minutes later will cancel out all of the benefits of those initial flavorsome bites.

While your period shouldn’t stop you from carrying on with your typical daily routine, that doesn’t mean you can’t switch up your diet to provide you with some much-needed comfort during these dreaded days, either. Chemicals such as prostaglandins already go out of their way to provoke contractions and cramping in your uterus — which means you have to do your own part to counteract these adverse effects.

That doesn’t mean you have to put a lock on your cupboard full of feel-good snacks during your menstrual cycle, either. Not sure which dishes or ingredients to avoid? Here’s a look at 4 foods that make cramps worse and that you may want to consider saving for a non-period day.

Dairy Products

We all want to dig into our favorite flavor of Ben & Jerrys whenever Mother Nature pays her monthly visit, but you may want to think twice before you bite into too much dairy the next time you have your period.

Your body is already doing a great job at producing cramping on its own during your menstrual cycle, wouldn’t you say? That’s why it’s vital that you avoid foods known for causing discomfort, too.

Dairy products contain arachidonic acid, which is known to provoke inflammatory reactions that can produce cramping. Foods that make cramps worse should never be a part of your menstrual cycle treatment plan, so be sure to swap that out for a better alternative. If you’re already experiencing a lot of discomfort during your period, consider opting for a dairy-free bowl of ice-cream instead.

Caffeine

You might consider coffee your trusted ally that provides you with the daily dose of energy necessary to go about your day with ease. But when you’re on your period, caffeine may not be the friend you need.

In fact, a diet rich in caffeine may put you at a higher chance of experiencing PMS — stimulating even more bloating as a result. Not only does PMS create more discomfort, but it can lead to symptoms like mood swings and bloating, too.

If you’re looking for a way to retain your energy while reducing the risk for cramping, reach for a handful of walnuts instead. These trusted nuts are known for fighting off inflammation while giving your body an energy boost as well.

Processed Foods

You’re not in the mood to cook, so popping a TV dinner into the microwave seems like an effective way to combat your hunger, right?

Unfortunately, delving into a meal full of processed foods isn’t always the best choice — especially when you’re hoping to reduce cramping. Processed foods are notorious for their high content levels of salt — a mineral that causes the body to hold onto water and induce bloating and cramping.

While these foods may seem convenient and readily available, it’s best to cook up a fresh meal to ensure your body can effectively control cramping while providing you with the nutritional value required to counteract those pesky period symptoms, too.

Food can be a source of comfort, so you never expect your favorite snacks or dishes to betray you by provoking even more cramping while on your period. While several foods make cramps worse, there are healthier alternatives that can keep you energetic, happy and pain-free.

So put that bowl of ice cream and your favorite TV dinner back into the freezer and save them for a future date. When you swap out foods that make cramps worse for better dietary options, you may find that periods don’t necessarily have to be as synonymous with pain and discomfort as you thought.

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