Fear not PP Squad, our monthly, much-needed chocolate fix isn't going anywhere - but we definitely don't always have to scoff all the sweet treats to get a boost of energy or attempt to cure our symptoms. Nutrition and our well-being, like many things are, after all - all about balance.
Here, Carey Davis-Munro - the founder of Sweet Virtues, this month's chocolate partner - tells us how balance is important in all aspects of our lives - especially during our time of the month.
At Sweet Virtues, our focus this month is finding balance in all aspects of life. It's common knowledge that if our hormones and bodies are ‘in balance’ then the symptoms so many of us experience during our time of the month - including cramping, lethargy, headaches and bloating - are minimised.
Dysmenorrhea is the term given to the cramping we experience, which is literally a contraction of the uterus caused by the release of chemicals (and that's why it hurts so much - argh).
We know that magnesium however, can have a powerful effect in lessening contractions and vascular restriction. Magnesium is a very powerful mineral that helps healthy nerve function and over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Importantly, it will help your muscles relax and aid the absorption of calcium.
We recommend therefore that you're mindful of eating foods throughout the month that will increase your levels of magnesium. You may wish to take a supplement - but if not, there are foods that are rich sources of magnesium - and will do exactly the same job.
You can grab your daily recommended dose (400mg min) from eating a combination of green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, beans, unrefined grains, bananas… oh, and of course - dark chocolate! (Our truffles are scientifically verified to be high in magnesium), so you can treat yourself while reducing your monthly symptoms.
Why not throw a banana, a handful of nuts, seeds, spinach (blueberries and strawberries) into a blender with some hydrating coconut water or almond milk in the morning and get your daily dose of magnesium before you even leave the house?
In addition to magnesium, potassium and many other nutrients may help to reduce your symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, calcium citrate, vitamin D and vitamin E are all potentially helpful. Also ensure you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day.
Avoiding refined sugars, processed foods, fatty meats, caffeine, alcohol and tobacco goes without saying. Exercising at least 30 minutes daily, five days per week, may also help relieve the symptoms.
A bath of medicinal grade Epsom Salts also helps at this tricky time of the month. These are abundant in magnesium and a bath before you go to bed will mean your body can readily absorb the mineral, making for a better night’s sleep and potentially, a lot less pain.
Small adjustments can result in significant lifestyle changes and a body in balance will support not only your reproductive system - but your overall health and well-being, too.
But there's always, always room for chocolate (and a truffle or two).
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