Nutrition and Care for the Menstruating Woman

A good diet can relieve various pains and emotional stress associated with menstruation. Avoid excessive amounts of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, sugar, white flour products and red meats. These items exacerbate hormonal changes, decrease absorption of nutrients and weaken the liver. A healthy liver is essential to balancing estrogen-progesterone levels. Keep your diet low in meat, dairy, and other fatty foods; and rich in dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nourishing herbs. Whole grains such as brown rice, millet, barley, oats and amaranth help stabilize blood-sugar levels, which then evens out mood swings and depression.

Vitamin B6

Function: aids the liver in breaking down reproductive hormones, relieves mood swings, irritability, fluid retention, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, fatigue

Note: depleted by the use of oral contraceptives, fasting, radiation, pregnancy and lactation

Foods Rich in Vitamin B6: rice bran, kale, buckwheat flour, navy beans, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, brown rice, broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, beet greens, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, leeks…

If you would like to take a Vitamin B6 supplement, make sure you take a Vitamin B-Complex. There must be sufficient Vitamin B2 and Magnesium in order to activate Vitamin B6.

Iron

Note: leaves the body through menstrual blood; depleted by black teas, coffee, chocolate and enemas

Foods Rich in Iron: fresh parsley, watercress, black strap molasses, raisins, seaweeds, miso, steamed dark leafy vegetables such as kale, collards, turnip, mustard, beet greens…

Protein & Carbohydrates

Function: stabilizes progesterone drop just before bleeding, preventing fatigue and irritability

Foods Rich in Complex Carbohydrates: whole grains and beans

Calcium

Function: prevents menstrual cramps

Note: equal amounts of magnesium to calcium or at least half the amount of magnesium to calcium helps calcium absorption in the body; Fat inhibits calcium absorption; Calcium is depleted by lack of weight-bearing exercise, coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol, cortisone, enemas, carbonated beverages

Foods Rich in Calcium: collard greens, black strap molasses, lightly steamed bok choy, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, tofu, carob flour, rutabagas, sea vegetables…

Magnesium

Function: decreases menstrual cramps and premenstrual sugar cravings by assisting glucose metabolism

Note: depleted by alcohol, enemas, some pharmaceuticals

Foods Rich in Magnesium: beets, beet greens, black-eyed peas, white beans, lima beans, red beans, buckwheat, tofu, turnip greens, collard greens, cornmeal, millet, lentils, cashews, mustard greens, brown rice, peas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, kale, almonds, parsnips, turnips, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, barley, summer squash, carrots, celery, cabbage, sunflower seeds, parsley, dulse…

Potassium

Function: regulates fluid balance

Note: depleted by diuretics, vomiting, diarrhea, enemas, coffee, sugar, salt, alcohol

Foods Rich in Potassium: green beans, beet greens, broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, celery, Swiss chard, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, parsley, parsnips, potatoes, spinach, squash, yams, walnuts, sunflower seeds, apples, oranges, cantaloupes, ripe dates, figs, grapefruit, lemons, raisins, kelp, dulse…

Exercise & Sleep

Low pressure exercise, such as walking, dancing, or yoga, stimulates the liver’s microsomal enzymes, and releases endorphins to lighten our moods.

Relaxation supports our body’s natural slower rhythm during menstruation. Spend some time with the moon.