Food to eat for regular periods and why
Stress is a key factor to disrupt menstrual cycles
Why does stress affect your menstrual cycle and periods?
High levels of cortisol the key stress hormone affect your female hormones.
The hypothalamus is the gland in your brain that controls your hormones. If you feel stressed your hypothalamus thinks you must be going into a fight or flight situation. It doesn’t realise you are getting stressed in front of your laptop or texting on your phone!
So, if you are (theoretically) being chased by a scary animal, you need as much energy to run and fight as possible. Having sex or getting pregnant are not important in this scenario so your body focuses elsewhere, disrupting your hormones and your periods.
How can food help reduce stress for regular menstruation?
The food we eat may cause or balance stress.
How can food help to reduce stress?
Balance blood sugar levels
Avoiding or reducing sugar will help because a blood sugar imbalance can result in the release of stress hormones.
The stress on the body of dealing with all that sugar robs us of the nutrients we need for hormonal balance
Can’t bear the thought of no sweet treats?
TIP Have your sweet treat at the end of a balanced meal so the protein and fibre in the meal will slow down the release of sugars.
Try this lunch
A tasty egg and avocado salad to have for hormonal balance
At lunchtime have a balanced meal like an egg or lentil based salad with a rainbow of vegetables, avocado, green salad and brown rice.
Follow this lunch with your normal sweet treat.
You will get the sweet taste and treat without spiking your sugar levels.
You could make this even better by having ½ of the sweet treat rather than the whole amount because you already feel full.
Beat sugary cravings when you are stressed
If you crave sweets there are lots of things you can do to feel great:
- Do something to give you energy like 10 star jumps, go for a brisk walk or do a sun salutation
- Have 2-3 squares of extra dark chocolate with a few nuts such as brazils or almonds
- Try a herbal tea with cinnamon and ginger. Cinnamon helps to balance sugar levels and it tastes sweet without containing any sugar
Have one coffee a day and savour it
Caffeine is a stressor on the body
As caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones it may impact your menstrual cycle. It can also trigger the release of sugar into your blood stream.
So what can you do?
Swap coffee for black or green tea because these contain less caffeine.
Better still swap caffeine for herbal teas or water.
Need your morning coffee?
Have 1 coffee a day in the morning and savour it.
Try a real coffee with half caffeinated and half decaffeinated coffee – cafes will usually do this for you. That way you get the same taste but 50% less caffeine
A good night’s sleep
Lack of sleep is stressful for the body so if you are going to bed late, struggling to go to sleep or wake in the night this may be causing additional stress.
Cortisol the key stress hormone should be at its lowest at nighttime. If you are sleeping badly may be because your stress levels are unnaturally being spiked.
How can food help?
Balance sugar levels to support sleep
If your blood sugar levels are going up and down all day they are likely to do this in the night and may cause you to wake up. Even more of a reason to ditch to cappuccino and sweet treats because nothing beats a good night’s sleep.
Include foods that contain melatonin, the sleep hormone
If you struggle with sleep add foods like tart cherries, tart cherry juice, pistachios, almonds, eggs or milk to your dinner or evening snack.
These foods contain small amounts of natural sources of melatonin, the sleep hormone.