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Add these 4 expert-recommended foods to your diet when you’re on your period

Women may experience iron deficiency due to menstruation. Nutritionist Deepti Khatuja talks about foods that menstruating women could opt for.
Cruciferous vegetables
Spinach soup can be your healthy green for winter! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 13 Sep 2021, 17:49 pm IST
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Not only does our period cause mood swings and cramps, but it also leads to loss of blood. This loss of blood can eventually cause iron deficiency and health issues related to it. So, what’s our solution? Amping up on foods that will help us prevent such a scenario!

What you eat on the days you’re menstruating can play a key role in ensuring the monthly blood loss does not lead to an iron deficiency.

We spoke to Deepti Khatuja, Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, who said, “Iron deficiency and anaemia can have various causes but the loss of blood during menstruation is definitely a leading factor. For Indian women, iron deficiency is a major cause of concern. So, on days when a woman is on her period, she must eat iron-rich foods and also ensure that she’s consuming foods that help with iron absorption.”

You must eat certain foods during your periods to avoid iron deficiency. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Deepti Khatuja suggested these foods to consume when you’re menstruating

These foods will help manage iron deficiency in menstruating women:

1. Jaggery

Jaggery (Gur) is an unrefined sugar product, which is rich in iron. Iron helps red blood cells to transport oxygen from your lungs to your entire body, thereby boosting immunity. It also offers vital minerals.

2. Spinach

Consuming spinach will provide you with iron and vitamin C, which helps to absorb iron. In addition, it is an excellent source of fibre. Spinach can be used to make soups and savoury dishes and will help improve overall health, by decreasing inflammation, and increasing immunity levels.

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3. Kala chana

Kala chana can be commonly found in most Indian kitchens and has a high iron content. It is also a good source of protein and can improve energy levels in menstruating women. The expert recommended using kala chana in soups, chaat, and as a gravy dish.

benefits of chana
Kala chana is an excellent source of iron. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Pressed rice (chiwda/poha)

Poha would make a great breakfast option, according to the expert! Rich in iron and vital minerals. This is a gluten-free food that will help up your iron intake and provide energy for long durations due to its fibre content. You could make cutlets from it, namkeen, or as a classic savoury dish.

Importance of iron absorption

Besides consuming iron-rich foods, Khatuja also suggested consuming foods that can help the body absorb iron. This is where vitamin C rich foods are critical. It is recommended to include lemon in your diet, which can be sprinkled on foods such as poha, and also used to make lemonade. She also recommended amla, which is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. Making a chutney or a juice, out of amla, are some of the ways to easily include it in your diet. In addition, you can include seasonal citrus fruits to your diet to amp up vitamin C.

As a cautionary note, she advised to not consume coffee or tea along with meals, especially when you are menstruating. She said, “Components of tea and coffee may not be helpful when it comes to iron absorption. So, when you’re consuming meals, you should not drink tea or coffee.”

So, be mindful of these dietary requirements, and ensure that your iron levels are up, especially when menstruating.

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About the Author

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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