Nutrition in the menstrual cycle

Although there are differences in food consumption and energy needs among individuals, the needs of the individual may also change in certain periods of their own life process. Nutritional patterns may differ in many physiological conditions such as menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, menopause, especially during the life span of women from the mother’s womb to old age. Among the physiological mechanisms, menstruation is the longest ongoing process in a woman’s life. During this period, when the woman is most active and productive, approximately 300-400 ovulations occur. This process occurs at certain monthly periods and affects the individual physically, emotionally and behaviorally.


Hormonal fluctuations related to the menstrual cycle can affect appetite control and eating behavior and increase food consumption. Ensuring appetite control, paying attention to the diet and taking into account some small suggestions make the process more comfortable.


  • Acquiring a healthy eating habit is the first and most important step.
  • With the effect of changing hormones during the menstrual period, water retention in the body may increase and edema may develop. Nutritional measures taken by women are very effective in coping with this phenomenon, which is seen as the biggest cause of changing body weight in this period. These; Increasing water consumption, limiting salt consumption a few days in advance, removing packaged ready-made products and pickled foods from the diet, nutritional supports such as pineapple, parsley, cucumber, herbal teas that help relieve edema help the process to pass more easily.
  • Although the excessive sweet and mainly chocolate cravings in women during the menstrual period are explained by many physiological mechanisms, it is thought to be mainly caused by magnesium and serotonin deficiency. Vitamin B6 is a cofactor in the synthesis of serotonin. For this reason, adequate consumption of foods rich in magnesium and vitamin B6 can prevent the craving for sweets to some extent. Adequate consumption of dark green leafy vegetables, unrefined grains, nuts, legumes, cocoa powder, bananas, avocados, potatoes and oranges, which are rich sources of magnesium. Meat, liver, kidney, fish, chicken, dried fruits, broccoli, bananas, carrots, eggs, avocados, spinach and whole grains are also rich sources of vitamin B6 and their consumption helps to prevent sweet crises and is effective in reducing conditions such as tension and irritability in the premenstrual period. In this period, healthy recipes can be created with dried fruits and nuts to suppress the desire for sweets.
  • Hormonal changes during the menstrual period cause appetite changes. It has been determined that the tendency of individuals towards foods with high sugar and fat content increases especially during the menstrual period. For this reason, the application of special diets may be difficult for some individuals during the menstruation period. Since energy expenditure increases during the menstrual period, too many calories should not be restricted during this period. At the same time, the fact that individuals start a diet outside of the menstrual period makes it easier to comply with the diet.
  • During the menstrual period, some iron is lost with bleeding and the balance is restored by replacing the iron with the diet, but some women may develop anemia due to genetic and environmental factors or excessive bleeding. Meat, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs, green leafy vegetables, molasses and dried fruits should be included in the diets.
  • Achieving peak bone mass in premenopausal women plays a protective role against osteoporosis. Therefore, adequate consumption of calcium is important in premenopausal women. At the same time, studies have found that insufficient calcium intake is associated with premenstrual syndrome. For this reason, dairy products, which are the main source of calcium, should be consumed adequately.

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