We’re big believers that cramps can be prevented with the right habits and nutrients. But sometimes cramps happen (often, and to most people with periods!), so a relief plan is necessary.
Here are 5 foods and drinks that relieve cramps naturally:
- MASALA CHAI
- If you’re looking for cramp relief and a drink that feels like a big hug, masala chai is for you. It’s essentially black tea with a bunch of good-for-you spices, including ginger, cinnamon, fennel, clove, cardamom and peppercorns. These spices warm up and relax your intestines and reproductive organs, so they’re great to have on hand during your period.
- If you want to make your own masala chai at home, power to you. But you really don’t need to get fancy – the tea bags they sell in supermarkets will do the trick. Brew it in water and drink it black, or prepare it with a mix of water, your favorite milk (or mylk) and a teaspoon of honey.
- Ginger is a popular natural remedy for dealing with various forms of inflammation, which is one of the culprits behind period problems. It has been used to reduce bloating, cramps, and PMS in Chinese medicine for centuries.
- To take advantage of its healing benefits, drink some ginger tea or throw a chunk of ginger into a fruit smoothie.
- Sambar is a soup that comes from Southern India. It’s basically a lentil soup but the veggies and lentils are ground, so it’s liquidy enough to drink. Sambar is full of wonderful spices that are warming to the reproductive organs as well as drying spices like cardamom and cumin. Sometimes when you’re on your period, you get bloated and/or phlegmy – cardamom and cumin can help to dry that out.
- You should be able to find Sambar at your local Indian or Southern Indian restaurant. Ask for a big container to go and sip it throughout the first few days of your period.
- Thanks to their high potassium content, which reduces water retention and helps control muscle contractions, bananas can help your body reduce or prevent both bloating and cramping. The anti-cramping effects of potassium are reinforced by the bananas’ magnesium, calcium and B6, which help to fight cramps and muscle soreness.
- You already know how to eat bananas – peel, bite, chew – but if you’re looking to use them as a vehicle to satiate cravings, you can freeze a couple and blend them to make nicecream.
- CACAO (& DARK CHOCOLATE)
- Dark chocolate is what we’d call a productive craving – it’s something you crave that will actually help your body with the other symptoms. That’s because one of its main ingredients is cacao, which is rich in magnesium. Magnesium relaxes your muscles, eases aches, and reduces pain. Cacao (and by extension dark chocolate) are also great for the emotional symptoms of PMS because they trigger the release of endorphins, which help you feel happier and more at peace.
- You can eat a dark chocolate bar or straight up cacao to get the benefits. If you’re avoiding sugar or just want to go straight to the source, cacao is the better option. You can throw it into (or on top of) smoothies, add it to your cereal, snack on it on its own, or blend it in with your frozen bananas to make a super healthy chocolate nicecream.