Nearly half of menstruating women may experience uncomfortable, painful, crampy periods (throbbing pains) throughout their lives. This set of symptoms is also known as dysmenorrhea. Despite the substantial effect on quality of life and general well-being, few women seek treatment because they think it will not help. However, there are currently treatments available. There are surgical options, drugs and hormonal pills and injections , which can also suppress the menstrual cycle and alleviate these symptoms.
Can we resort to something more natural?
Since pain is caused by inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen are most commonly used, achieving symptomatic pain relief in approximately two-thirds of women. While they are effective, women using them should be aware of the significant risk, as they can cause adverse side effects. Although there are many non-pharmacological and non-surgical treatments such as acupuncture, the truth is that the scientific evidence of the effectiveness of these treatments is quite weak.
If it is pain caused by inflammation, would an anti-inflammatory diet help?
One study experimented with women suffering from painful periods of dysmenorrhea. Their diet was changed and they were prescribed a plant-based diet for two menstrual cycles . It showed us that women experienced significant reductions in the duration and intensity of menstrual pain. The women also experienced an improvement in PMS symptoms, such as abdominal bloating. This was a crossover study, so after two months eating a vegan diet, the women were supposed to go back to their usual diets to see if the pain returned. Some of them refused to do it, even though it was part of the study, they didn't want to go back to their old diets. They found much improvement in their symptoms with a diet rich in whole plant foods. These foods are high in antioxidants, polyphenols and substances that act as natural anti-inflammatories.
Inflammation may play a role in premature aging, obesity, aging skin, periodontal disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel diseases , such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
A diet rich in antioxidants seems to protect against the pathologies that most affect people today. While all unprocessed plant foods can have anti-inflammatory effects, some studies have shown that some plants are better than others. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables , such as nuts and greens, have been found to alleviate systemic inflammation. Significantly better than the same number of servings of common lower-antioxidant fruits and vegetables, such as plantains and lettuce.
Studies have shown that eating more fruits and vegetables not only can stop the progression of cardiovascular diseases, but can prevent and reduce all kinds of pathologies and ailments in humans . We know that a plant-based diet can improve body weight, inflammatory processes, blood sugar levels, and the ability to control cholesterol. It also improves emotional states such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, a sense of well-being, and daily performance.
What happens to our mental health?
Components of certain foods can increase the risk of depression. Arachidonic acid is flagged for possible mood impairment by inflaming the brain . The top five sources of this pro-inflammatory compound in most people's diets are chicken, eggs, beef, pork, and fish. Chicken and eggs contribute more than the other sources combined. There is data to suggest that people with higher levels of arachidonic acid in their blood may end up at a significantly higher risk of depression . In general, those who eat the typical standard diet may be consuming around nine times more arachidonic acid than those who eat plant foods.
Foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
- Blueberries and red fruits (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, cherries, mango, orange, papaya, kiwi, tangerines…)
- Vegetables (green leafy vegetables, broccoli, peppers, garlic, tomatoes, beets…)
- Nuts and seeds. We have a wide variety, better in their versions
- Spices like; Organic turmeric, organic ginger, cinnamon…
- Natural green tea, the leaf.
- Cooked vegetables. All kinds of legumes serve.
- Unprocessed whole grains.
I hope you liked it and see you in the next installment.
Don't forget that the more whole vegetables of all kinds (unprocessed) your diet has, the better!