First of all, lets debunk one huge myth about vegan foods and supplements — that they are not as nutritious as non-vegan foods. This is actually quite the opposite!
Getting rid of animal-based products and instead eating plant-based food has many advantages to your health and is known to lower your risk of diabetes, cancer and many other illnesses.
Going plant-based is a chance to get creative and eat a healthily balanced range of food. Studies have linked eating meat, eggs and dairy with inflammatory reactions inside the body and going vegan can help ease many pains, including period pains! Some people have also reported reduced PMS symptoms and lighter menstrual flow since going vegan.
When you're on your period, your body is losing blood so you'll want to make sure you're getting enough iron. Luckily there's loads of great vegan foods that are high in iron! So, if you don’t want those cramps to keep coming and you want to feel good on your period, here’s our list of tasty vegan foods to include in each meal of the day.
Just one cup of lentils contains 6.5mg of iron which is a third of your daily intake. Lentils are ranked 2nd in their protein position after soybeans, and contain 18 grams of protein per serving.
NUTS AND SEEDS
Different nuts and seeds have different levels of nutrients but some of the best are Brazil nuts which have 100% of the daily recommended intake for selenium — a nutrient that prevents against heart disease and cancer.
Avocados contain super high levels of potassium, even higher than bananas! With 16% of your recommended daily protein intake, avocados will keep you feeling alert and help to reduce your cramps.
CALCIUM FORTIFIED DRINKS
Many plant-based milks like oat, almond, rice and soya are fortified with calcium. This helps you to achieve your recommended daily intake and can help improve your mood and release your menstrual cramps. Our absolute fave is Oatly Barista oat milk — creamy and delicious!
If you are craving chocolate during your period, eat it! Chocolate can affect the levels in the brain, making you feel happier and more relaxed. It is also high in calories, giving you a lot of energy, and contains lots of iron and potassium, two minerals that your body needs in increased amounts during your period. If you want to receive all the health benefits of chocolate, try to consume good quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content.
Dark leafy greens, like kale and spinach are a great part of any diet as they are packed with valuable vitamins and minerals. Kale and spinach are both high in magnesium, which helps to relieve PMS symptoms, reduce period cramps and improve digestion. They're low in calories and can be eaten every day, allowing you to boost your vitamins and load up your minerals!
Bananas might just be the perfect snack for your period! They contain potassium which helps reduce cramps, as well as magnesium and vitamin B6, which can improve your mood and reduce bloating. Bananas can also help to regulate your digestive system!
Black beans are a great source of iron and zinc. Zinc has been shown to reduce period pain when taken in the lead up to menstruation and our bodies need an increased supply of iron when menstruating, to make up for the blood lost. You can use black beans in creative ways when making plant-based meals but some of our fave recipes include vegan nachos and black bean burgers!
Can a heavy menstrual flow cause iron deficiency or anaemia?
If you have heavy periods, you are more likely to suffer from anaemia because your body is losing more blood, which means your iron levels will be lower than they should be. A heavy flow usually means that you will soak through a regular pad or tampon every hour or you bleed for longer than a week.
If this sounds like your menstrual flow, you can look at taking supplements to increase your iron intake during your period, but as always, we recommend speaking to your doctor if there's anything you're worried about!
Can vegan iron supplements help during your period?
If you want to improve your iron levels even further whilst on your period, supplements are easy to take and there's lots to choose from! There are many vegan supplement gummies and tablets available that are tasty and will help to boost your vitamins and minerals whilst reducing your cramps and pains!
So, now you know how a plant-based diet can help to reduce your period pain, PMS symptoms and even make your period lighter! Will you make the switch to nutritious plant-based foods today? Let us know in the comments!
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