Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose… and your period is due the week of Christmas. Excellent. While its timing isn’t always perfect, your period needs a little TLC around this time of year too, and your classic Christmas feast actually has benefits for your period that you may not even know about. Dinner is served!
A standard on most Christmas dinner tables; turkey. For the meat-eaters that is. It’s not the ideal meat you could be eating while on your period (a small amount of red meat can better help replenish low iron) but it is a lean protein which can boost everything from muscle growth to thyroid hormones to immunity. The immune system is somewhat suppressed during the ovulation part of your cycle (to allow sperm to enter), so anything that boosts immunity is a good thing, especially with all the winter bugs that go around this time of year.
Squash and Parsnips
Squash gives you vitamins A, B6, C and E, while parsnips offer up vitamins C and K, plus folate and a whole host of other micronutrients. Adding these filling fibers to your plate is a good way to load up on antioxidants, but their main draw is that you can swap some of your carb-heavy potatoes (carb bloating and period cramps don’t mix) for squash or parsnips, which can help you to feel full for longer.
Everybody loves a ball of stuffing (or two… or three…) on their plate, and while it may seem like its nutritional benefits are few, it does give a nice boost of carbohydrates which provide much-needed energy to get you through Christmas while menstruating. If you choose a whole grain stuffing, however, you’ll also be getting a lot of fiber, which is recommended for your period. Any excuse to have more stuffing, right?
Each person’s festive vegetable choices vary, but if you opt for things like calcium-rich cabbage and high-fiber broccoli then you can’t go wrong. And while spinach isn’t exactly a traditional accompaniment to your roast, it’s high in iron, as well as the vitamin C required for your body to absorb the iron. More leafy greens, please!
Wine? Good for you? You should probably avoid drinking too much alcohol during your period as this can exacerbate bloating and cramps, but if you are going to drink, a little red wine is actually rich in antioxidants, can support cardiovascular health, and is even thought to diversify your gut biome. Wine = win.
No festive meal is complete without dessert, and if your family and friends have gone with something chocolatey then it could help to ease your period pain. Studies have shown that eating chocolate that is lower in sugar but higher in cacao beans, like dark chocolate, can improve mood swings and cramps during your period, and can even help to boost iron levels. Oh, go on then…
Finish off your feast with a ginger or peppermint tea to aid digestion, ease bloating, and help soothe period cramps, and then fall asleep on the couch like you’re supposed to on Christmas day! Will you have your period over the holidays? Let us know how you’re coping, over on Instagram: @itsyoppie