These Foods Are Making Your Painful Periods So Much Worse

We all know the feeling; that time of the month that brings along all those unwanted symptoms: bloating, fatigue, stomach cramps, and everything in between. It seems like every month your period creeps up before you know it, and once again, you’re forced out of your skinny jeans and into your baggy sweats. Whether French fries are calling your name or a bowl of chocolate ice cream sounds appealing to your sweet tooth, there are probably better things to mow down on than pizza and mac ‘n cheese, even if your cravings are seemingly too much to resist.

Because the average period lasts anywhere from three to seven days, it’s important to stay on track and be cognizant of what you put into your body. Next time you’re on your period and the junk food aisle is staring you in the face, try avoiding these five foods that could be culprits of unwanted bloating and discomfort.

1. Caffeine

Croissant and coffee on wooden background

Avoiding your morning coffee may be best. | iStock.com

Caffeine is a wonderful, and necessary, part of your everyday life, but consider setting this staple aside for the duration of your period. Professional chef and healthy living expert Jennifer Iserloh told SheKnows that caffeine can increase stomach acid. If you are able to cut back, though, doing so could help calm an irritable stomach and reduce bloating.

2. Foods high in fat

woman eating fruit cake

High-fat foods may give you discomfort during your period. | iStock.com

If you’re a sufferer of bloating and breast tenderness, it’s likely due to hormonal imbalance and changes during your period, and foods high in fat influence your body’s hormonal activity. Excess estrogen can be reduced by sticking to foods that are low in saturated fats, so ditch the fatty foods and pick up fruits and veggies, fish, and lean cuts of meat instead.

3. Sugary fluids

Pepsi, Coca Cola And Fanta

Stay away from sugary beverages. | iStock.com/Radu Bercan

If you’re anything like me, you still curse the day when your gynecologist recommended you stay away from Diet Coke and the like while you’re on your period because of how it can affect your body. Because sugary drinks and carbonated beverages lead to bloating, try to avoid such products as much as possible during that time of the month.

4. Fatty meats and dairy products

fatty foods

Fatty meats and dairy should be consumed in moderation. | iStock.com

Because the fats in meats and dairy products are saturated, it’s best to avoid such foods during your period, since these fats can cause and worsen pain and inflammation. Instead of reaching for the cheese sauce, heavy cream, ice cream, or slab of fatty steak, the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests fish, lean meats, and beans. Sorry ladies, no cheeseburgers or late-night milkshakes for the next three to seven days.

5. Fried food

ketchup and fries

Stay away from fried food at all costs. | iStock.com

It’s not typically recommended that you eat fried foods regularly, but there are reasons to really stay away from them when you’re on your period. Fried foods increase estrogen levels, which can hinder your body’s natural ability to maintain normalcy. If you’re conscious about maintaining stable estrogen levels, the changes in your uterus won’t be as dramatic, meaning you’ll be doing your part in reducing cramps and pain.