25+ Best and Worst Foods for Your Period

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Periods are usually no fun — mood swings, low energy and cramps are just a few of the annoying symptoms. Our hormones can affect weight loss and impact our bodies in many different ways. This is especially the case when we have our period!

One of the worst period symptoms is food cravings and these usually aren’t the healthy salad and veg type! Read on to find out what some of the best period food is, as well as what foods to avoid on your period.

There are a number of commonly-consumed foods rich in nutrients that help your body fight back against the wrath of your out-of-control hormone and symptoms. Meanwhile, experts have identified a number of things you should avoid because they can make symptoms (like bloating and cramps) even worse.

To help you better cope with the most painful and annoying aspects of both PMS and your period, we pulled together the foods that can either help or hinder your hopes for feeling more normal. Check ’em out and then don’t miss these best foods for women!

Best Foods To Eat When You Have Your Period

Whole-grain toast

Wholegrains are an excellent source of magnesium, which helps to reduce muscle tension. This makes wholegrains a good food for menstrual cramps. In addition to this, they have B and E Vitamins which help to combat fatigue and depression. Ladies, the favourite thing about wholegrains is that they keep you feeling fuller for longer, so if you eat them every few hours you won’t end up hungry and cranky at the end of the night.

Toast up a slice as a mid-morning mood-boosting snack. Whole wheat toast can provide us with the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. B vitamins are essential during a woman’s cycle because they help our metabolism by releasing energy from protein, fat, and carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates also provide us with fiber, which helps with bloating and constipation and helps us feel full with fewer calories.

Also, because there is such a wide variety of modern and ancient wholegrains to choose from, you won’t get bored!

Pumpkin seeds

PMS can be worsened by low serotonin levels, making a woman feel moody or sad. Our body does not make serotonin, but we can naturally increase our serotonin levels by eating foods high in tryptophan.Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and can aid in improved mood, less depression, and better sleep. Pumpkin seeds are an overlooked source of tryptophan that can easily be tossed into salads, smoothies or eaten as a snack.


Broccoli contains all of the nutrients that play a role in easing PMS symptoms—magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, B6, and E. Fill your plate to boost your mood, fight fatigue, and combat depression.


When you’re menstruating, your iron levels can take a dip, which is why cravings for iron-rich foods during this time are common. But instead of reaching for a cheeseburger, choose leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, and Swiss chard to replenish your body’s iron supply.


When the sweets cravings hit, reach for a piece of fruit. Whole fruits provide all the nutrients you need to combat weakness and fatigue. Plus, the natural sugars in fruits like watermelon, plums, figs, and berries help alleviate bloating.


Surprisingly Yes. You read that right! Popcorn is a powerful solution for the same reason Ezekiel bread is beneficial; it’s a whole grain that boosts the production of serotonin. Whole grains cause the body to release insulin which promotes tryptophan absorption. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which can help us have a better mood, decreased depression, and improved sleep.


Salmon is the answer to all of your period cramp woes. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which work to relax your muscles, relieving pain. You can also get your omega-3s from walnuts, avocados, pumpkin, soybeans and flaxseeds.


Raise your hands if you did a double take when you saw this. Does this not make the struggle of having your periods worth it? You can eat (dark) chocolate completely guilt-free! Dark chocolate is great because it contains lower levels of sugar, and is also full of magnesium, a mineral that regulates your serotonin levels and will prevent you from terrorising your family and friends with your mood swings.


It is recommended when you typically feel so blue you want nothing more than to lie in a dark bedroom during Mother Nature’s monthly visit.

Saffron increases serotonin levels, which typically drop before menstruation. Although saffron is one of the most expensive spices, a little of it goes a long way. Use it to whip up African, Middle Eastern, and European-inspired dishes and reap the PMS-busting benefits.


Yoghurt is one of the best foods to eat on your period, as it is a good source of calcium — this can help to relax your muscles. It also contains live cultures which promote healthy digestion.

If you are looking for a non-dairy source of calcium try broccoli, kale or almonds instead. Any food that contains calcium can be considered a helpful food for menstrual cramps.

Rainbow Trout

Chia seeds and rainbow trout are rich source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Not only are omega-3 fats good for our heart and brain but they can also help women relieve some PMS symptoms.

These healthy fats can help ease period cramping due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rainbow trout is also rich in high-quality protein loaded with B vitamins, helping you gain energy and stabilize mood swings.

Nuts and seeds (Specially Chia seeds)

Omega-3s can be found in enriched eggs, salmon, and grass-fed beef but chia seeds are preferred for dynamic working ladies and girls because they are portable and easy to pop into just about anything. Add the small, but mighty seed into cereal, smoothies, and homemade baked goods to boost your intake and keep menstrual blues at bay.


Omega-3s can be found in enriched eggs, salmon, and grass-fed beef but chia seeds are preferred for dynamic working ladies and girls because they are portable and easy to pop into just about anything. Add the small, but mighty seed into cereal, smoothies, and homemade baked goods to boost your intake and keep menstrual blues at bay.


Consuming calcium reduces feelings of depression and anxiety. Vitamin D regulates the enzyme that converts tryptophan into serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood. Together, calcium and vitamin D ward off PMS symptoms. Find the winning combo in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and leafy greens like the ones mentioned above.


Bananas are one of the best mood-boosting foods you can eat thanks to its high dose of vitamin B6. They’re rich in potassium and magnesium, too, which can reduce water retention and bloat. They also help regulate your digestive system, which some women struggle with around this time of the month.

Worst Foods To Eat When You Have Your Period

Refined Grains

Refined grains, like all processed foods, lose much of their nutrient content. This causes them to interfere with blood sugar and regular appetite control. Both factors are concerns during your period. Choose whole grains over white bread, pasta, cereal, rice, crackers, cakes, and cookies.


This might come as a surprise to you but dairy products like milk, cream and cheese aren’t recommended. They are high in arachidonic acid which can act as a trigger for menstrual cramps.

Instead, choose buttermilk and toned cow milk – both of which are recommended period food.


Turn down the volume of coffee—one of the main drinks you need to avoid during your period. It increases blood pressure and heart rate leading to tension and anxiety attacks and in turn, worsening the PMS symptoms.

Instead, have green tea, tomato and carrot juice or any type of soup.

Salty foods

A week or two before your period, hormone levels change. Estrogen levels increase and progesterone levels decrease.

Carb-laden dishes

This goes without saying—most fried foods like chips, snacks, biscuits etc contain trans-fats or hydrogenated vegetable oil. All of these can increase oestrogen levels and can worsen your mood swings.

Instead, choose roasted snacks, crunchy veggies such as carrot or cucumber sticks.

Red meat

If your period often leaves your energy zapped, you may have heard that upping your iron intake can help. But before you load up on red meat (one of the most potent sources of the stuff), consider this: Like dairy, burgers, meatballs, and taco meat all contains arachidonic acids. That means you may be boosting your energy while simultaneously worsening your cramps. Ouch!


Large amounts of alcohol can slow stomach emptying, which can contribute to feeling heavy and bloated you may already experience during your period. This is exacerbated by alcohol’s diuretic effect, as a dehydrated body will retain more water than a hydrated one. Counteract this by keeping your alcohol intake to a moderate amount of one or two drinks per night, and alternating each boozy drink with a glass of water.

Sugary foods

We can often crave sugary foods when we are on our period, try to avoid them! Foods high in refined sugar can also impact your hormones because they cause your blood sugar levels to fluctuate, which can lead to even worse mood swings and feelings of frustration!

Processed, sugary foods like cake, cookies, candy bars, and soda (and even hidden sugar bombs like flavored yogurts and BBQ sauce) can shift levels of estrogen and testosterone, decreasing serotonin levels.


Kidney beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and all legumes cause bloating. Keep them off your plate to keep discomfort to a minimum.

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