Painful menstruation is known as Dysmenorrhea which literally means “difficult menstruation”. Considering that Dysmenorrhea is an inflammatory state in the body, it is important to avoid foods that increase inflammation response. High glycemic foods are known to increase levels of inflammatory chemicals in the body.
Avoid refined carbohydrates. Stick to whole grains like oats, millet, brown rice, quinoa.
Eat enough of the right kinds of fats. Eating fats like quality organic meats, butter, coconut oil, ghee, olive oil, etc can help boost proper hormone production.
Eliminate sugary foods and processed sugar. Remember sugar is hidden in everything. Up to 2 tsp in some sliced bread so watch out. Try swapping out standard sugar for Stevia or Xylitol as a sweetener.
Exercise. If you have hormone imbalance, intense extended exercise can actually make the problem worse in the short term. Sleep is actually more important, at least during the balancing phase, so focus on relaxing exercises like walking, yoga or swimming and avoid the extended running or intense cardio.
Consider eliminating dairy. Dairy products are congesting to the body. If you choose dairy, try to purchase organic or organic raw dairy only to avoid added hormones.
Reduce red meat consumption. This is because red meat is high in arachidonic acid (AA). This has been found to increase cellular inflammation in some people. Choose organic free range meats and eggs when possible to avoid added hormones.
Vitamin A. Be sure to get enough Vitamin A through natural sources like cod liver oil or carrots. This will help to keep estrogen levels regulated.
Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is needed to help produce ‘good’ prostaglandins which help to relax and widen blood vessels as opposed to ‘bad’ prostaglandins which increase the womb contractions and increase the pain. So it is worth taking a good B-complex supplement. This vitamin has been shown to significantly reduce the intensity and duration of period pains.
Magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax smooth muscle tissue. It has been shown to reduce menstrual cramping greatly. Magnesium deficiency is a leading cause of menstrual cramps.
Basil. Basil is another very effective herb for reducing menstrual pain and cramps. The caffeic acid present in basil has analgesic, or pain-killing properties.
Ginger. Ginger is a wonder herb that can effectively ease menstrual cramps. This herb plays a key role in lowering the levels of the pain-causing prostaglandins. It also helps fight fatigue associated with premenstrual syndrome. If you experience nausea or vomiting or due to painful cramping and hormonal changes, ginger is one of the best herbs to soothe the stomach. It is also anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile. Chamomile tea is both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic. It is also helpful for women with digestive constipation contributing to pain. Because this herb is also a mild sedative it may help to reduce stress, relax the nervous system and induce a restful state in the body. This can be very useful when experiencing menstrual cramping accompanied by anxiety and irritability.