An Ayurvedic Diet for Periods
Menstruation can be a challenging time of the month. You may face cramps, light-headedness, inner thigh pain, and are generally lethargic. The imbalance of your Doshas or biological energies can cause irregular periods. You can maintains this balance and aids healthy menstruation with a Satvik lifestyle.
Following a Satvik diet during periods is essential. This includes fresh, seasonal, well-cooked and digestible food. This will reflect in the health of your Agni, or digestive fire, and your overall health as well. Your digestive fire is naturally low during menstruation and can worsen with cold of heavy foods.
The Dosha dominating your cycle (Vata, Pitta or Kapha) should determine what to eat during periods.
Vata has cold, dry and rough qualities, which can create a sense of tightening. You will experience constricted blood vessels, dryness, and emaciation. Your uterine lining loses its nourishment and begins to thin out, causing lower menstrual discharge.
Your menstruation will be frothy, darker, marked with an absence of mucus and will have a light flow. It is accompanied with sharp or prickling sensations in the back or lower abdomen. Emotions accompanying it are anxiety or fear.
Ayurveda recommends a Vata-pacifying diet in such a situation. It recommends warm, mushy foods, cooked in ghee and spices. Pureed soups, cooked fruits, hot rice pudding and nourishing beverages are ideal. Be sure to use healthy fats in cooking such as ghee, or flaxseed or hempseed oil.
Nourishing herbs such as Ashwagandha or Shatavari consumed as teas or in cooking can also calm bata-aggravated symptoms. Forms of tea such as Dashamula or ginger can also restore strength and stability.
Pitta is characterised by heat and sharpness. It brings heat and fluidity to the blood, causing it to spread. Menstruation is heavy and accompanied with swelling and irritation. Tender or swollen breasts is one such symptom.
Your menstruation is bound to be yellow or red, hot, fleshy or strong-smelling, and head a heavy flow. This is accompanied with a burning sensation. You are bound to feel anger or irritation.
Following a Pitta-pacifying diet enables blood cleansing. Go for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes, which will naturally cooling. Go for fresh fruits and vegetables, barley, rice, oats, milk and butter, and green vegetables. Incorporate herbs such as shatavari, gudichi, and brahmi.
Stay away from hot, spicy, salty or oily foods. You can consume sour foods but in moderation. Try to flavour your foods through cooler herbs (such as coriander), or milder spices such as ginger, fennel, and turmeric.
The Kapha dosha is has dense, heavy, dull and sticky traits. This leads to eventual obstruction and blocking of the system. You are bound to feel bloated or swollen during your menstrual and premenstrual phases.
Your menstrual flow is most likely yellowish are mucoid, and is heavier and longer. Dull discomfort and itching are also common. Other symptoms of Kapha aggravation include bloating, water retention, and yeast infections.
The Kapha-pacifying diet includes light, dry, warm and easy to digest foods. Both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables are fibre rich and low in density. Some fruits to eat during periods include apples, watermelon and muskmelon. Green and black teas are also recommended against heavier beverages like coffee.
Be sure to avoid heavy, dense or oily foods. These can worsen your existing symptoms. Puddings, nuts, cakes, pies, wheat and flour products, red meat and deep fried foods are examples of what to not eat during your period. Even on following the correct diet, be sure to exercise portion control.
The external symptoms of the body are merely a refection of what is happening internally. For this reason, your menstrual cycles are are important cue to understanding dosha imbalances. By understanding your bodily constitution and its needs, you can tailor your diet to restore this.
Ayurveda is a magnificent tool in helping you reconnect with your inner self. There is no ‘one size fits all’ remedy for irregular or painful periods. Tackling these problems at its root cause helps you make steady and sustainable changes for your body. By knowing which foods to eat during periods, you can achieve optimal physical and mental health.