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Beat The Cramps: Foods To Avoid During Periods

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Periods, also known as menstruation, can cause a range of physical and emotional symptoms. Your diet plays a big role in how you experience these changes.

The foods you eat during your period can significantly affect your comfort, energy, and mood levels. 

Foods to avoid during menstrual periods include red meat, caffeine, and fried snacks, as they can make period symptoms worse, while options like dark chocolate can help ease them.

Thus, knowing what to eat and what to avoid can make a huge difference in how you feel during menstruation.

This article will discuss all the foods to avoid during periods and suggest healthy alternatives.

Foods and Drinks to Avoid During Periods

Menstruation brings a load of discomfort to many women because of bloating, cramps, and other symptoms known as PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome).

Sugary treats, salty snacks, fried foods, red meat, caffeine, and alcohol are some of the foods that can worsen these common period symptoms or PMS.

Hence, it is best to avoid these foods during your period.

Sugary Treats

Sugar cravings during periods are a common experience. You feel drawn to sugar treats like candies, sugary drinks, and chocolate bars. This is because your body is looking for a quick energy boost. These foods will make your energy levels rise for a short period of time but might worsen your cramps later.

After the short spike, the blood sugar levels drop rapidly. This fluctuation in blood sugar levels leads to increased mood swings and cramps.

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  • Salty Snacks

    tasty fries and chips lying on the plateSource: getty_images
    Fries and chips

    Eating snacks like chips, fries, wafers, etc, during periods will do you no good. These foods are high in sodium and cause the body to retain excess water, leaving you feeling dehydrated and more bloated. This might also worsen your period cramps

    This makes it an important item on the list of foods to avoid during periods.

    Fried Foods

    Fried foods seem like a tempting answer to those PMS cravings. These foods are highly salty, carbohydrate-rich, and full of unhealthy fats. These can be difficult for your body to digest and make you uneasy and gassy because of indigestion.

    Red Meat

    Red meat is another important food to avoid during your period. It is harder to digest and break down. Consuming red meat adds more burden to your digestive system, which is already slow during your menstruation. It can lead to bloating and indigestion. 


    Caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee are good for increasing your energy levels. However, these drinks are natural diuretics. Consuming too much caffeine dehydrates your body, leading to water retention. This can make you feel bloated and worsen your cramps.

    Diuretics are foods or drugs that remove water from the body. They lead to frequent urination. Tea, coffee, and coconut water are natural diuretics.


    Consuming alcohol during your periods can interfere with your hormones, leading to increased mood swings. Alcohol also dehydrates your body, resulting in water retention and leaving you feeling bloated.

    Carbonated Beverages

    Carbonated beverages contain carbon dioxide. Consuming these fizzy drinks means consuming some of the gas too, which generally leads to bloating. This might worsen when consumed during your periods and might cause additional discomfort. Additionally, carbonated beverages are loaded with sugar, and hence, they should be avoided.

    Processed Foods

    Processed foods like jams, frozen foods, cheese, and cereals might feel tempting, but these are loaded with a lot of sugar, unhealthy fats, and salt. 

    When you’re on your period, these can contribute to indigestion, bloating, and constipation. 

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    Comfort Food for Periods

    fresh fruits and vegetables kept on wooden tableSource: marucyan_from_Getty_Images
    Fresh fruits and vegetables

    There are many foods that can help you manage those PMS symptoms and make you feel energized during your periods. 

    Fruits and vegetables: These are a brilliant source of fiber-packed vitamins. They can help prevent constipation during your period. They are also rich in antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, which causes period cramps and pain.

    Although a healthier option, eating a lot of fruits can lead to a sudden spike in blood sugar levels, which may be potentially harmful for people with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Hence, regulation and portion control are important.

    Water: Water is the hydration hero that will help reduce water retention in your body, leaving you feeling less bloated. Drink plenty of water while on your period.

    Nuts: Satisfy your cravings for salty food with nuts like almonds and walnuts. These are rich in Omega-3 and have mood-boosting and pain-relieving properties. Almonds and walnuts are also good options to include in the diet to manage PCOS.

    Dark chocolate: Satisfy your sweet tooth by opting for dark chocolate with at least 80% cocoa content. It is low in sugar and has anti-oxidant properties. Anti-oxidants reduce inflammation and have pain-relieving properties.

    Air-fried or baked foods: Instead of consuming fried foods, eat baked or air-fried items and go easy on your stomach. 


    In a nutshell, you should take good care of your body during periods and consume healthy and nutritious meals. Foods to avoid during periods include:

    • Salty snacks
    • Sugary treats
    • Red meat
    • Alcohol
    • Fizzy drinks
    • Fried foods
    • Processed items
    • Caffeine

    Instead, one should opt for healthier foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, baked foods, and dark chocolate.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What foods should you eat to have fewer cramps during the period?

    What foods should you eat to have fewer cramps during the period?
    Calcium-rich vegetables like spinach and kale are good options to eat to reduce cramps during periods. Herbal teas like ginger tea have pain-relieving properties and can reduce cramps. 

    Which diet is best for periods?

    There is no specific diet that is suitable for periods. However, one should eat a well-balanced and nutritious diet during periods. One should drink plenty of water and eat lots of green leafy vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Avoid fatty, oily, and sugary foods.

    Can I drink milk during periods?

    Consuming dairy products like milk can worsen period symptoms and cause bloating in some women, while others might not experience anything. If you feel that consuming dairy products increases discomfort, consider limiting dairy.

    Can I eat rice during periods?

    Yes, you can eat rice during your periods, especially brown rice. Brown rice helps control your blood sugar levels and is a good source of fiber.

    What foods should be eaten during the eating window during Intermittent Fasting while on your period?

    There are many types of Intermittent Fasting (IF), and what you should consume in your eating window depends on your ultimate goal. However, some general options to consume during your eating window include berries, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, flaxseeds, almonds, and walnuts. 

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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