period-tipsIt’s the time of month when you have to deal with pain and cramps, bloating and a general irritation brought on by your period. If suffering from these symptoms is a regular part of your menstrual cycle, try these helpful tips and get some relief.

1. Hydrate
It’s a myth that water causes the bloating you often feel during your period. Staying fully hydrated actually helps eliminate that bloated sensation. Drinking enough water, at least two liters every day will speed up your digestion and help prevent water retention caused by monthly hormonal changes.

2. Reduce salt and caffeine
Avoid processed and fast foods, with their high-salt composition, and you’ll help hold water retention at bay and minimize bloating. Caffeine found in your daily ration of coffee, tea or soda can irritate the stomach by increasing gastrointestinal acidity, making your cramps worse and adding to the discomfort. You don’t have to give up your morning pick-me-up cup of coffee, but do limit your intake.

3. Get enough calcium
Foods rich in calcium such as broccoli, yogurt, cabbage and milk will naturally fight muscle spasms and help you avoid cramps. Women need at least 1,200 mg of calcium daily, and choosing to get yours though leafy green veggies like kale and spinach has the added advantage of an extra dose of vitamins that can help lighten your flow.

4. Add moderate exercise
Stretch those abdominal muscles with a gentle yoga workout. While you may not feel energetic enough for your normal fitness routine, increasing the blood flow to your pelvic region will give quick relief from cramps. Take a walk or jog, swim or stretch and you will alleviate much of the discomfort of your period. The exercise also releases endorphins into your system so you feel more relaxed, and it helps prevent the tightening of muscles that are a precursor to cramps.

5. Eat some chocolate
A daily dose of chocolate during your period is just what the doctor ordered! A square of dark chocolate stimulates secretions of serotonin which gives you a good feeling. The irritation, anxiety and mood swings you may be experiencing are mellowed away as the chocolate hits your system. Look for high cacao levels in dark chocolate to soothe your spirits.