Other than bad temper with husbands and boyfriends, the favourite prey of women during the menstrual cycle is food. We are all hungry, but there is a scientific cause: our basal metabolic rate changes on those days of the month, and the high levels of progesterone affect our desire for sugary food.

assorted-color bead lotThose of the cycle are the “no” days of the month, and it is not a rhetorical phrase. 80% of women during the menstrual cycle actually suffer from physical ailments, with pain in the abdomen and head, or mental making them feel irritable.

In these days weighing oneself is banned, because the liquid retention, in fact, makes you weigh at least a kilo more. Dr. Sara Farnetti, specialised in Pathophysiology of Nutrition and Metabolism, in her latest book, Mai più a dieta, recommends the right combination of foods based on the type of disorder to relieve the uncomfortable feelings through proper nutrition. 

A cycle-based diet based is the functional approach, . That is, a diet designed to feel better, keep the glycemic index low, reduce the inflammatory state of the body and slow down aging. With the functional diet, eating means to create the perfect dialogue with our genes and with the needs that the organs have to work better, and to create a vicious circle that affects our general well-being.

person holding red hot water bag

ABDOMINAL PAIN

The pains felt during the cycle or in the days before are awful. Dr Farnetti recommends taking light foods to avoid intestinal fermentation and avoid abdominal swelling. Fennel is a great help because it has a diuretic effect, along with zucchini; soothing to the intestines and rich in potassium and magnesium, which act as muscle relaxants to counter pain; and stewed indivia seasoned with homemade pesto with pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil. Consumption of fibers and therefore of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains is to be limited.

WHEN IT’S A HEAVY CYCLE

When you lose a lot of blood, the iron is affected. Therefore you should eat red meat, even better if a tartare. Or else fish combined with spinach, artichokes or lettuce, or egg yolk. Also the chicory is rich in iron, to be seasoned with oil and lemon that favour its absorption. The typical meal should include: a grilled fillet with 150 grams of raw chicory, an orange or a kiwi; a breaded slice with a mixed salad and a pomegranate; or alternatively 200 grams of cuttlefish with peas and a portion of raspberries.

WHEN IT’S NOT A HEAVY CYCLE

If the cycle is slow to start, you need a diet that helps the fluidity of the blood. So yes to fruit, such as apricots, melons, cherries, oranges, pineapples, strawberries and raspberries. Help also comes from spices: turmeric, parsley, sage, cinnamon and saffron. The type menu: carpaccio of meat with oil and parsley and 1/4 of pineapple, or sea bass with celery and a portion of strawberries with raisins and cinnamon.

PRE-MESTRUAL SYNDROME

The high level of progesterone is detrimental to our mood. Thus, in addition to being intractable, we also become susceptible to comfort food. One moment you feel satisfied but in reality the sudden changes of glucose only make the mood swings even more acute. If you really can not resist, the extra-dark chocolate is the best of the worst. Dr Farnetti recommends throwing oneself on good fats instead of carbohydrates, eating avocados and olives. The menu for pre-menstrual syndrome includes almonds, bananas, potatoes, cauliflower with turmeric and a strawberry salad with pine nuts. Alternatively, 70 grams of pumpkin flower noodles, cauliflower, almonds or pine nuts.

HEADACHES

When the head is throbbing, one needs to focus on feeding the liver. When the pain is strong and leaves you without an appetite, Farnetti recommends replacing the dinner with a salad of white peaches. This fruit has a high detoxifying and diuretic power that helps to decongest the micro-circulation.