Health & Wellness

5 foods to help you deal with menstrual cramps

The cold that won’t go away can be a drag on your work and social life, but the cramps that come every month, and I mean every month, well, those can be a flat out disruption to life.

If you suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS) cramps and have tried all remedies, you may want to try changing up what’s on your plate. Check out these foods, which may help you when it's that time of the month.

1. Pineapple

I know most of us like to imagine a bottle of sunscreen, a juicy novel and the ocean when we think about pineapple. But if you’ve been suffering from PMS cramps, you just may want to add this to your non-vacation diet, too.

This tropical fruit is high in the mineral manganese. One study showed a diet rich in manganese can help reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with PMS. Its antioxidant properties also help to reduce acute inflammation, which could be the cause of that dull cramping feeling in your belly. The enzyme bromelain found in this fruit has been shown to reduce pain and aid in muscle relaxation, perhaps meaning less cramping for you.

Simply slice and snack on this juicy yellow fruit, or mix it up with sliced cucumbers, a sprinkle of lime and fresh mint for a refreshing salad.

RELATED: PMS cravings are real. These guilt-free snacks may help you feel better

2. Pumpkin seeds

These crunchy little guys aren’t just for Halloween. The powerful seeds are loaded with the mineral magnesium. When compared to a placebo, magnesium (plus vitamin B6) was effective in significantly reducing PMS symptoms.

These tasty seeds also contain zinc, which science links to helping prevent and treat painful menses-induced cramps. Enjoy these little pepitas as a simple snack or make them a healthy addition to your favorite morning muffin batter or yogurt.

3. Collard greens

Got greens? Yep, greens give you calcium, too. Don’t ignore them. You can get about a quarter of your daily calcium needs from just one cup of these sauteed collard greens! Calcium has been shown to reduce menstrual stress caused by muscle contractions.

Another study showed increased calcium intake could reduce PMS symptoms up to 50 percent. Strong bones and less PMS? What a combo! Use a large leaf as a wrap for your turkey, hummus and cheese sandwich or sautée a few cups to top a chickpea flatbread.

RELATED: 8 doctor-approved ways to banish menstrual cramps and migraines

4. Salmon

Many people just love the taste of salmon and others just love packing in the omega 3s, those essential fatty acids that act as anti-inflammatory agents. A study comparing the intake of ibuprofen and fish oil showed that the subjects who took fish oil experienced a greater reduction in pain from menstrual cramps.

Load up on a natural sources of fish oil like salmon by adding sliced smoked salmon to your salad at lunch or make this super simple parchment baked salmon recipe for dinner.

5. Eggs

Sure, they’re packed with protein, affordable and yummy, but they may have a secret superpower. They’re a great and easy source of vitamin D, B6, and E, all nutrients which have been shown to aid in fighting your painful PMS symptoms.

RELATED: Is it OK to eat eggs every day?

Getting adequate levels of vitamin D has been shown to keep estrogen levels (and therefore your PMS symptoms) in check. Scramble some eggs with salmon in the morning to get that extra dose of omega-3s, or make these mini veggie and cheddar quiches to prepare for that particular week of the month.

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