Top tips to ease your menstrual cycle

The holistic way.

For many women, ‘that time of the month’ is met with a conditioned response of dread and anticipation. Here, JESSICA SEPEL outlines some holistic dietary and lifestyle principles that can take you from trepidation to relaxation.

It may sound crazy, but when it comes to that time of the month, I like to treat it as a mini cleanse or health retreat. I’ve discovered that it’s an opportune time to slow down and show yourself some extra love and care; it’s a time to eat more greens, drink less coffee and alcohol, rest and nourish your body and cleanse your gut and liver. It’s also a time to reduce stress levels. Spiritually and physically, it presents us with an opportunity to let go and surrender – and allow your body to eliminate what it needs to.

To help your body along during the process, there are a few key dietary and lifestyle factors that come into play. Firstly, take care of your liver as this is where our hormones are processed and if there is a liver traffic jam, then signs of PMS and period pain increase. Dairy, caffeine and alcohol can be an issue around this time of the month, especially if you are prone to heavy periods, so aim to reduce – or better yet, eliminate – your consumption altogether.

The diet we consume can drastically increase or reduce our PMS symptoms and period pain, so it’s particularly important to consume a diet that’s rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. As a general guide, stick with alkaline wholefoods, and avoid acidic foods that cause excess inflammation, which exacerbates PMS and associated pain. Sound complicated? I assure you it isn’t. Below, I’ve outlined my top nutrition and lifestyle tips to help you fight PMS and period pain.

Avoid dairy
I recommend reducing dairy consumption before and during your period, also swapping to organic versions of dairy when you do eat it, as people seem to have less hormonal issues with organic dairy compared to conventional dairy.

Ban refined sugar
When period pain kicks in, it’s tempting to reach for the nearest sweet treat, but it’s important to avoid processed snacks and opt for healthier versions – there are plenty found in my latest book, Living The Healthy Life. I also suggest being very cautious with your fruit intake, too. I recommend consuming two servings of fruit each day and preferably fruits that are naturally low in natural sugars, such as green apples, berries and papaya.

Use vitamins wisely
In my clinic, I would recommend vitamin B6, magnesium citrate or diglycinate and primrose oil or fish oil. Ensure to consume vitamins under guidance of a health practitioner.

Limit caffeine intake
As a general rule, consume no more than one coffee each day, as caffeine is acidic and can trigger PMS, period pain and cramps. I mentioned avoiding dairy, and it applies here, too. Try and have a dairy-free milk such as almond or coconut milk instead. Or better yet, enjoy a turmeric latte or chai tea for its anti-inflammatory properties.

Eat good fats
Ensure you get enough essential fatty acids in your diet – oily fish, walnuts, seeds, fish oil supplements, flaxseeds, olive oil, eggs, dark leafy greens. This really helps to dampen inflammation.

Eat fibre at breakfast
Add one to two tablespoons of chia seeds, psyllium husk or oat bran, which will help to bind to excess hormones in the gut and help hormonal balance.

Avoid alcohol
My suggestion is to not drink before and during your period. Keep alcohol to a treat on the weekends and my golden rule is no more than two drinks at a time.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.