lady eatingSo it is that time of the month again. Your all too familiar friend  is paying you her usual unexpected visit and she is not coming alone… she is coming with friends. You already ought to have known what happens when your period hits. Most women experience symptoms of bloating, fatigue, cramps, headache, digestive problems and mood swings before and during their menstrual cycle. One of the best ways to prevent and treat these symptoms is via a healthy diet, which can also aid general health and overall well-being

#GoodNews! Making minor adjustments to your eating habits, even slightly, means you don’t have to cheat on your healthy-living regimen for one week each month. Here’s how to do it  right.

Oh yes! This one may sound like the usual normal thing you hear, but many women completely forget that their bodies are losing as much fluid as they are and while you may want to reach for a soda, your best bet is actually water. Unlike coffee, colas, or teas, which have caffeine (which could increase muscle cramps) water is pure and good for your body’s health all around.

Fruits, vegetables and whole foods are your friends always, but especially during menstruation. The fruit from sugar may help alleviate sugar cravings Try adding oranges, pears, cucumbers, corn and carrots to your diet. A study by doctors found that eating small amounts of carbohydrates every three hours and within one hour of going to bed combats PMS symptoms in 70 percent of women. Whole grains are excellent sources of magnesium, which reduces neuromuscular tension. Whole grains also have B-complex vitamins and vitamin E to combat fatigue and depression.

Women need at least 1,200 mg of calcium every day. Some good sources of calcium include green vegetables and yogurt. Green vegetables are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, which relieve and prevent the spasms that lead to cramping pain. These minerals can calm and relax emotions, reducing irritability. Dark green vegetables also contain high amounts of vitamin K, which is needed to coagulate blood and prevent excess bleeding.

Loading up on lean protein and fiber can help your blood sugar remain stable, which will help offset your cravings. This is especially important when cravings hit their peak during the afternoon hours. The high fiber content of beans and peas reduces the congestive symptoms of cramps by producing bulkier stools with higher water content. This rids the body of excess fluid and also normalizes digestion, reducing both constipation and diarrhea. Legumes are also a good source of B vitamins, which prevent cramps and menstrual fatigue. Although beans can create excess gas, this can be minimized by eating small amounts and increasing slowly.

Finally, many women who are menstruating may lack iron, as they lose it through the blood they eliminate. To make sure you’re taking in enough, fill your diet with healthy sources of iron.