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The best foods to eat on your period — and the bad foods to skip

Kristin Chessman is a freelance writer, editor and mom from Southern California with a passion for travel, fashion, Disney, the beach, Italian food and all-things celebrity. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KristinChessman.

Period cravings are totally normal, but here's what to eat instead

For some of us, period cravings can be intense enough that we spend a good week out of each month holed up on our couch, eating junk and binge-watching Netflix. While said junk food eating might seem comforting, in reality it can make you feel worse.

Potato chips and a pint of ice cream taste amazing when you're PMSing like crazy, but you can actually manage some of your worst menstrual symptoms by eating healthier alternatives instead.

1. Do eat complex carbohydrates

"Fruits, vegetables and whole foods are your friends always, but especially during menstruation. The fruit from sugar may help alleviate sugar cravings," explains health and fitness consultant Tari Rose. Try adding apricots, oranges, plums, pears, cucumbers, artichokes, corn and carrots to your diet.

More: 7 Tools that make tracking your period way too fun

2. Don't drink caffeine

Cutting back on caffeine intake can help reduce bloating and calm an irritable stomach. "Caffeine can increase stomach acid and be rough on sensitive intestines. If you want a rich-tasting coffee substitute, try my traditional Indian chai," professional chef and healthy living expert Jennifer Iserloh says.

3. Do eat calcium-rich foods

According to certified holistic health counselor and nutritionist Latham Thomas, women need at least 1,200 mg of calcium every day. "Some good sources of calcium include kale, collard greens, broccoli and yogurt."

Next Up: Don't eat too much salt

Originally published July 2010. Updated December 2016.

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