Does vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids affect menstrual health?

Menstrual periods are fact in a woman’s life for about 3 decades of her life. Huge period! Isn’t it? We go through lots of physical and emotional turmoil during each period in these 3 decades.

We should also know that our menstrual health is not only hormonal affair but it is also largely associated with the food we eat. Nutrition researcher theorize that dietary pattern affect the cause and severity of menstrual troubles.

Role and sources of essential nutrients

Apart from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, these are minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids play important role in maintaining body functioning smooth their excess and deficiency can impair body function and so the menstrual cycle.

So it is important to have their adequate supply in our food.

Calcium-Calcium performs a number of vital functions in the body: It is a major constituent of bone and teeth, but it is also needed for muscle contraction, blood clotting and nerve conduction etc.. Calcium is closely interrelated with magnesium in the human body.

Researcher have found that calcium supplementation resulted in significant reduction in symptoms such as depression, Mood swings, Headache, and irritability and breast engorgement.

Sources

  • Milk and milk products
  • White beans White bean refers to any bean that is white or off-white in color, Soybean, tofu
  • Almonds, sesame seeds, dried figs, dates, walnuts, apricot, raisins berries, custard apple, oranges
  • Green leafy vegetables, okra, broccoli
  • Shrimps, crabs, eggs and chicken etc.

Magnesium –Magnesium along with calcium is involved in many crucial functions in the body that affects woman health. Magnesium supplementation has shown promise in treating premenstrual stress, menstrual cramps, mood swings.

Sources

  • Legumes-soyabean,kidney beans, black beans
  • Nuts and seeds-pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, cashews, and almonds
  • Whole grains
  • Green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, lemons, coconut, grapefruit etc.

Zinc – Copper is well recognized for its association with estrogen while zinc, on the other hand, is associated with progesterone. Zinc-to-copper ratio can be applied to the progesterone-to-estrogen ratio respectively. Those who have low zinc copper ration suffer premenstrual syndrome, heavy menstruation etc.

  • Fortified cereals, wheat germ
  • Nuts and Seeds-pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, almonds, cashew, peanuts, walnuts
  • Seafood
  • Dairy
  • Fruits-ponegranate,avocados,berries

Iron– Iron is essential for formation of blood. It is needed to overcome to combat blood loss occurred during periods

Sources

  • Green leafy vegetables,beets,broccoli,potato
  • Grapes,raisins,watermelon,apples,pomegranate,Strawberries,
  • Legumes-soybean,kidneybeans,chickpeas,spitpeas
  • Peanuts, cashews
  • Meat-chicken, red meat, seafood

Vitamin B6 – vitamin B6 can alleviate PMS symptoms through its role in the production of prostaglandin and fatty acids.

Sources

  • Wheat germ
  • Legumes, soybean
  • Milk
  • Egg,liver,meat
  • Starchy vegetables like potato

Vitamin B 12-It is needed to improve hemoglobin levels and smooth nerve function.

Sources

Vitamin B12 is generally not available in plant source but nowadays breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12

Animal sources are

  • milk and milk products
  • eggs, fish ,meat

Vitamin C –It is essential for integrity of blood vessels, healing and serves protection against stress (antioxidant).

Sources

  • Citrus fruits like lemon, lime, orange other fruits guava, pineapple, kiwi, papaya etc.
  • Indian Gooseberry (Amla)
  • Green leafy vegetables,cauliflower,cabbage,broccoli.tomatoes,
  • sprouts

Vitamin D- Vitamin D essential for calcium metabolism in the body.

Very few foods contain vitamin D.it is formed under the skin when exposed to sunlight.Feel free to bath with morning sunlight!

Food Sources are

  • fatty fish, fish liver oil,shrimps,oysters
  • cheese
  • egg yolks
  • mushrooms

Vitamin E-Vitamin E is helpful to reduce blood loss and reduce pain occurring during periods.

Sources

  • Wheat germ oil, whole grains
  • Almonds,peanuts,sunflower seeds, dried apricot
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Milk
  • All whole sprouted seeds

Essential Fatty Acids (EFA)-Omega 3 EFA are essential for production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins which are needed to reduce pain during menstruation.

Sources

  • Fish, fish liver oil
  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseeds
  • Soybeans
  • Eggs

These are general guidelines for improving menstrual health but a balanced diet is always helpful for general wellbeing. Remember nutrition needs differ from woman to woman depending on their physical condition and lifestyle.

For effective results you need to give yourself at least three months on your new diet to allow for any health changes. Give yourself longer, say six months, if you missed continuity.

Sometimes you may not be able to do it. This is perfectly normal. Don’t feel guilty for eating “inappropriate” diet or missing “appropriate” diet.

If you miss it start healthy diet again on the next day.

Enjoy the food !Happy eating!

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