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Foods, Drinks To Avoid During Menstruation – Experts Reveal



Foods, Drinks To Avoid During Menstruation – Experts Reveal

Suffering from bloating, cramps and a low mood for a few days each month has become tiresome for many women.

Some experts believe that what you eat and drink during the monthly period could make the symptoms worse.

While experts believe some women naturally suffer severe PMS or cycle-related symptoms, there could be nutritional factors exacerbating them.

According to MailOnline, experts listed these foods and drinks to be avoided when on a period.

Salty foods

Experts advise that eating too much salty food can leave the tummy feeling swollen and bloated. This is similar to the sensation experienced just before, or during, your period.

The situation occurs because the body retains extra sodium, leading to the amount of fluid held in the body rising by around 1.5 litres.

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High salt levels are believed to be found in overly processed and packaged foods, like crisps and processed meats.

It is recommended to opt for fresh, whole foods when on a period, and to season meals with herbs and spices rather than salt to help reduce water retention.

Sugary treats

Eating foods packed with refined sugar can also cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a crash later in the day.

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Experts warn that this can worsen mood swings, fatigue and irritability that are already commonly experienced during menstruation. It can further contribute to a general feeling of instability or feeling overwhelmed.

A study in 2018 by BMC Women’s Health found that women who ate more sugary snack foods throughout the month suffered increased period pains compared to those who ate less added sugar.

The advice is to curb sweet cravings with fruits, natural sweeteners or snacks with a balance of protein and fibre to help maintain stable blood sugar levels.

Fatty and fried foods

Foods high in saturated fats, such as deep-fried snacks, fattier cuts of meats, processed dairy and confectionery, can promote inflammation within the body.

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This can aggravate period-related symptoms like cramps, bloating and tenderness.

This is because eating these foods can trigger the body to release prostaglandins — chemicals that trigger period cramps and cause inflammation.

So, in theory, some of the tastiest foods can promote inflammation and may worsen PMS symptoms, says Dr Adiele Hoffman, Buckinghamshire-based medical advisor at period tracker app Flo.


Caffeine is a stimulant that many use for a morning energy boost.

However, aside from giving you a buzz, experts say it can also affect hormone levels, increase anxiety and disrupt your sleep pattern.

During menstruation, when hormonal fluctuations are already occurring, caffeine consumption can intensify symptoms like breast tenderness, irritability and sleep disturbances, as well as impact your mental health by increasing anxiety.

Switching to caffeine-free herbal teas or reducing caffeine intake can help manage these symptoms better, Miss Dillon said.

Caffeine can increase anxiety levels in some people, so minimising caffeine could be a wise consideration for those that experience anxiety.

It is recommended not to exceed 400mg of caffeine daily which is around 4 mugs of instant coffee. But some people may benefit from having a much lower intake.

Carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks, including sodas and sparkling water, can introduce excess gas into the digestive system.

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Bloating is commonly experienced during menstruation and experts say carbonated drinks can exacerbate this.

Choosing non-carbonated alternatives like plain water or herbal teas, can help prevent additional bloating.


Alcohol is another drink that can make one feel bloated. Another thing to be aware of is that alcohol is a depressant.

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”If you feel that you are affected by a low mood during your period, it may be advisable to find a non-alcoholic alternative which may help to improve your mood”, the expert said.

Hammed Tajudeen is a graduate of Osun State Polytechnic, Iree with Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication

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