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Your cycle and the amount of food you eat

posted by TransformHERS on 14 Jan 14, 21:42

Categories: Health

 1.     Why we crave food during our periods


According to Pretoria-based dietitian Careen Geldenhuys, “cravings result because of all the hormonal changes during menstruation which have an impact on your blood sugar control.” She explains that the more you give into these cravings – specifically when indulging in refined high-carbohydrate foods like chocolates, sweets, chips, cake, bread and pastries – the more your blood sugar spikes. “This sends a message to your pancreas to release more insulin. This hormone then has an impact on other hormones,” explains Geldenhuys.

Loss of iron:

“The other reason for these cravings is because women lose a lot of blood during their periods and, with this, a lot of iron,” says Geldenhuys. “The loss of iron will leave you feeling tired which, in turn, will have you craving high energy foods in an attempt to raise your energy levels.”

2.     How can we beat these cravings?

Include small quantities of low-GI carbohydrates with each meal like a slice of low GI seeded bread, brown rice, small portion of baked sweet potato or durum wheat pasta. Otherwise, you’ll have really severe cravings for something sugary later in the day and chances are that you’ll go for chocolate or a packet of chips.

Eat good-quality, lean protein foods like chicken breast, fish, lean red meat, egg or plant protein like tofu, lentils, chick peas with at least two of your meals, as this will contribute to your iron intake.

Eat large quantities of a variety of different colours of vegetables, salad, pulses and fruit. The more colour, the wider the variety of different vitamins, minerals and phyto-nutrients to support your body. They’re also a great source of fibre.

 Before giving into the cravings, make sure that you drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids, and eat small portions of fresh or dried fruit and nuts between meals.

3.     How can I help alleviate the symptoms associated with my periods?

-  If you’re prone to heavy menstruation, remember that you lose water through menstruation. Make sure that you’re well hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.

-  Calcium supplementation has been found to alleviate the symptoms of PMS.

-  Keep exercising. Symptoms of depression and pain will both be kept at bay by a serious workout.

-  Watch out for salt. High intakes of sodium causes bloating. During a woman’s cycle, the changes in oestrogen causes more sodium to be retained than normal. Therefore bloating may be worsened by a high intake of salt and salt-containing foods like takeaways and processed foods.

Information from Good Life Dietitians

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