What can I eat during periods?


“Can I eat pickles during periods? “

“You should not eat papaya/pineapples during periods.”

“No til (sesame) during periods.”

“Do not drink tea when you have periods.”

Many Asian women have heard some variation of these instructions on what to eat/not to eat when you have your periods. I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice but I feel I can answer those questions well.

What can I eat [or not] when I have periods?

You would like to mostly be eating healthy, wholesome, nourishing foods periods or not. I do not think we need to follow any special diet during periods.

Nobody in India told me I cannot drink tea but east Asians seem to believe that they should avoid tea and many do.

I would not say some of the advise given is bullshit either. There is some truth in this advice.  These are general rules of thumb but we are different people with different sensitivities & we will react differently to foods. So, having a blanket rule for everyone does not help either. People use these rules to blindly like it is some draconian law given by god.

They say avoid pineapple/papaya because it makes you bleed more. Many women I know are not affected at all by this. I can really feel a slight difference when I eat papaya. I don’t like pineapple, so really do not care. So, there is some truth to this but it does not apply to everybody.

Some avoid tea but I love my chai and it makes me feel better.

Til has no effect on me.

My body does not like chocolate when I have periods. Now, I bet nobody told me that.

The answer is eat  whatever makes you feel good. If a certain food has no effect, then go ahead and eat it all you want. If it does, avoid it. It’s as simple as that. Don’t blindly follow the rules set by somebody 500 years ago.

Read more articles in this series here.

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