Eating right at any time of the month is challenging but many women find it especially difficult in the week during their period. Your nutritional needs don’t vary significantly during your menstrual cycle, but you need to eat a balanced diet throughout the month to meet your dietary requirements. A low-carb diet restricting breads, pasta and sugars is one of the many different ways of eating to meet your dietary needs that is suitable for some women throughout their fertility cycle.
Nutrition During Your Cycle
Women tend to eat differently depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle, as reported in a review article published in 1997 in “Human Reproduction.” For example, most women eat less during the first part of their cycle and then increase their food intake after ovulation, probably due to a slightly accelerated metabolism during the 10 to 14 days preceding your period. This does not apply if you are taking birth control pills. Authors of this review also found that women tend to consume more carbohydrates and less protein and fat when they are premenstrual. There is no contraindication to consuming a low-carb diet at any time during your menstrual cycle.
Roughly 39 to 60 percent of women experience moderate to intense cravings during their period, making it hard to adhere to a low-carb diet during this time. Try to satisfy your cravings with lower carb options, such as berries, plain yogurt, butternut squash or pumpkin to help adhere to a low-carb diet. For most low-carb diets, you must aim to keep your daily carb intake under 100 grams per day.
Replenishing Lost Iron
Iron lost during menstruation places women at an increased risk for iron-deficiency. You can combat this with a low-carb, high protein diet by including lean, iron-rich meats and non-starchy vegetables such as red bell peppers, broccoli and dark leafy greens. Vitamin C found in non-starchy vegetables enhances iron absorption, and the low-carbohydrate content will help you stick to your diet during your period.
Improves Hormone Balance
Symptoms that occur just before and during your period, such as mood swings, bloating and fatigue, are often associated with hormonal changes. Adhering to a low-carb diet during your period might help balance your hormones, according to a small study that looked at 11 women suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome. The results showed a low-carb diet, eaten during a woman’s period and throughout the month, could help improve hormonal balance and normalize her period.
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