If these first two weeks of January have been slow for you, raise your hand. It has been pretty chill at work for me. Attempting to get back into a schedule actually creating content across all the channels has been slow. Usually, I would want to be hitting it hard as soon as a new month arrives but I’m learning to embrace the slowness and serenity of January before the workload and speed increases. If you are feeling the same way, embrace it and enjoy it while it lasts.
I know lots of women suffer through cramps during their menstrual cycle. Cramps that leave them unable to move from the bed or do anything on that day. I have only experienced it a couple of times in my life and I do not wish it on anyone. I decided to do an experiment to see if I could curb the cramps from foods and realised that if I did not eat well the week prior and the week of my period, I suffered from cramps resulting to sleeping with a hot water bottle for the first two nights. However, when I made sure to eat well all the time especially during the week prior and the week of my period, I felt fine and I actually never realised it had started. I was mainly eating more but I was pain-free.
Through this experiment, I discovered that eating foods rich in magnesium helped curb the pain and reduced the cramping throughout my entire cycle. Not all women are the same but if this list of foods can help you reduce the cramps and pain just a little, I’m happy to help.
MAGNESIUM – THE ESSENTIAL MINERAL
Magnesium is an essential mineral required by the body to maintain normal muscle and nerve functions, a healthy immune system, maintaining heart rhythm and building strong bones. A deficiency in magnesium can lead to numbness, seizures, muscle cramping, abnormal heart rhythm and coronary spasms. (1) On the other hand, consuming too much magnesium has it downsides too such as diarrhea and nausea as the body attempts to excrete the excess. Studies show that the recommended daily intake (RDI) for magnesium is 400 mg. (2) Studies indicate that a majority of adults do not consume the RDI for magnesium from daily food consumption (3)
FOODS RICH IN MAGNESIUM
DARK CHOCOLATE (70% Cocoa)
For all you chocolate lovers out, dark chocolate contains around 30 mg to 65 mg of magnesium. It has benefits that assist gut health, heart health and full of antioxidants.
DARK LEAFY GREENS
Spinach, kale, turnip, collard and mustard greens are full of magnesium. Cooked spinach has 157 mg of magnesium which is 39% of the RDI (4). They are also rich in iron, manganese, vitamin A, C & K,
Not only are avocados very nutritious and a great source of magnesium 58 mg, but also they are an excellent source of fibre. Avocados can reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol levels too.
Seeds such as pumpkin seeds and chia seeds are filled with 150 mg magnesium and are rich in omega 3s and fibre. Seeds such like these are full of antioxidants that help protect the cells
Many whole grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, barley, oats and quinoa are also high in B vitamins, selenium, manganese and fiber. They contain a minimum of 28 mg (5).
Many fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, halibut etc,contain roughly 53 mg of magnesium and 38 mg of high quality protein. Among all its other benefits, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as potassium, selenium, B vitamins and various other nutrients.
Nuts such as almonds, cashews and Brazil nuts are high in magnesium. A serving of cashews has 82 mg of the mineral whilst being rich in fiber and monounsaturated fats. Brazil nuts are not only high magnesium but also high in the mineral selenium, which plays a key role in the maintenance of your metabolism and thyroid function. Eating 2 Brazil nuts gives you 100% of the RDI for selenium (6). Nuts are anti-inflammatory and beneficial for heart health.
Legumes are packed with various vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Chickpeas, lentils, black beans and soybeans are rich in magnesium. A serving of cooked black beans has 120 mg of the essential mineral which accounts for 30% of the RDI. Legumes are also high in potassium, iron, rich in fiber, and a very good source of protein for both vegetarians and vegans (7).
There are other foods such as bananas, soy products like tofu, yoghurt etc. that are rich in magnesium or contain traces of it. As previously mentioned in various studies, majority of adults are not getting enough of this essential mineral in their diets.
If you want to reduce cramping during your menstrual cycle, maintain overall wellness and health, eat better and perform better in all aspects of life, I recommend adding some of these foods listed above into your diet by making some of them a staple. Every so often, try out a new food that contains magnesium to ensure that your diet is balanced, your health is maintained, and to keep it creative in the kitchen.
It is worth investing in your health by eating food rich in magnesium!
Until next time,
Folakemi Olamide 💓