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Want Pain Free Periods? How Nutrition Can Help

Sitting in the boardroom

The I'm-so-bored room

Listening to the suits

Talk about their world

They can make straight lines

Out of almost anything

Except for the line

Of my upper lip when it curls

Dressed in my best greasy skin

And squinty eyes

I'm the only part of summer here

That made it inside

In the air-conditioned building

Decorated with corporate flair

I wonder

Can these boys smell me bleeding

Though my underwear

This is my third blog post that quotes Ani DiFranco. She is so cool, I never get sick of her. This is my fourth blog post about periods too. I realise now that I need a quick (ish) list-style post for the young women in my girl guides troop who believe that period pain is an unavoidable fact of life. It isn’t. So here it is - 8 things that help make your period lighter, shorter and more comfortable.

1. Magnesium and Omega Threes for Cramps and GI discomfort

If your body makes more prostaglandins than it needs then there is an overflow effect to nearby organs and the smooth muscles of the bowels start overworking. We can decrease the effect of these cramp and diarrhoea causing chemicals by eating foods high in Magnesium and Omega 3 fatty acids in the week leading up to your period. A high Magnesium drink is a spinach, banana, avocado, tahini and pumpkin seed smoothy. Omega 3 is found in oily fish such as mackerel and salmon and in cod liver oil, walnuts, flax seeds and chia seeds.

2. Daily Movement to Balance our Hormones.

Exercise increases endorphins, decreases stress hormones, helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces cellular inflammation. Women who engage in moderate aerobic exercise at least three times per week have significantly fewer pre-menstrual symptoms than sedentary women.

3. Fibre - Our Oestrogen Disposal System

A healthy gut is really important for hormonal health as it takes the rejected oestrogen from the liver and processes it out of our bodies. If it isn’t healthy then it reabsorbs oestrogen back into the bloodstream. Fibre is a plant-based carbohydrate that is not digested in the small intestine and so reaches the large intestine or colon. Fibre is essential for gut health as our “good” bacteria feed on and ferment the dietary fibre in fruit and vegetables. Fibre can also be thought of as being like an oestrogen sponge in the intestines that carries it out with other waste. The more fiber there is in the diet, the better the natural “oestrogen disposal system” works. Fibre is found in wholegrain and wholewheat foods, in fruit, vegetables, peas, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds.