Anyone with a uterus knows that menstruation is not for the weak. Your monthly cycle often comes with fatigue, mood swings, bloating, headaches, and, of course, the infamous uterine cramps.
Menstrual cramps are caused by natural hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which trigger contractions and inflammation inside the womb. Needless to say, it’s an uncomfortable time of the month that calls for supportive actions, such as increased rest, heated bean bags, and soothing drinks.
When you’re feeling tender and need some comfort, reaching for a menstruation-friendly drink can help boost energy levels, decrease bloating, and, most importantly, ease menstrual cramping.
Here are seven easy-to-make hot and cold drinks you can make at home to support your body during your period.
When it comes to naturally restorative drinks, water will always be at the top of the list. No matter what your body goes through, proper hydration means being more equipped to manage any type of physical discomfort—including menstrual cramps.
Water helps prevent bloating, reduces fatigue, and supports the circulation system for a faster, less painful bleed. Aim to drink between 1.5 and 2 liters of water on the days before and during your period.
- Hot Chocolate
Dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or higher has a surprisingly rich and diverse nutrient content. It contains significant volumes of magnesium, iron, potassium, and antioxidants that help regulate blood flow, hormonal fluctuations, and pain management.
However, now is not the time to reach for a sugary, highly processed hot chocolate product from the store. Most brands contain very little actual cocoa and are often supplemented by synthetic flavorings, which only make you feel worse. Instead, opt for a healthier version at home.
You can make yourself a comforting cup of menstruation-friendly hot chocolate by combining melted dark chocolate or pure cocoa powder, a bit of vanilla, a tiny pinch of salt, honey, and milk.
- Ginger and Lemon Tea
If you’re feeling bloated, sore, and nauseous, a steaming cup of ginger and lemon tea can help. Ginger is renowned for its uplifting anti-inflammatory properties that relieve menstrual cramps and even soothe an upset stomach. Some studies even suggest ginger is as effective as ibuprofen for muscle pain.
Fresh lemon also comes with powerful health benefits. Naturally alkaline, lemon is great for soothing the stomach upset that often arrives with your period, and it pairs well with ginger both taste-wise and nutritionally for uterine support.
Combine fresh, grated ginger and a generous squeeze of lemon with hot water for the best results. Add a natural sweetener like honey if you prefer.
- Turmeric Milk
Also known as golden milk, this anti-inflammatory elixir is comfort in a cup. Turmeric is packed with powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that work wonders for menstrual cramps and a wide variety of other common ailments.
Although better fresh, powdered turmeric is far easier to find at the grocer and will be plenty effective in a warm drink. Combine and heat ½ teaspoon of turmeric with a dash of cinnamon, a cup of milk (any variety will do), honey, and a crack of black pepper in a saucepan for a delicious, soothing drink.
- Carrot and Orange Juice
High fruit consumption has been linked to reduced period pain. Both oranges and carrots are rich in vitamin C, which plays a crucial role in how the body absorbs iron. This makes them ideal fruits to consume while on your period—a time when you tend to lose a lot of iron through cervical bleeding.
Drinking carrot and orange juice will not only deliver a healthy dose of vitamin C but also come loaded with magnesium and potassium, which alleviate painful cramps and contractions. These two fruits pair well as a whole juice, but you can also drink plain orange or plain carrot for similar results.
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is often used as a natural sleep aid. But its benefits don’t stop there. The compounds found within this floral tea (glycine and hippurate) have been linked to the relief of muscle spasms.
This helps the uterine muscles relax, resulting in less cramping and tension. Chamomile tea also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, helping to further reduce any pain. The subtly sweet flavor of this tea makes it a very soothing drink, perfect for winding down with a movie at the end of the day.
- Green Smoothie
Green fruits and veggies are always good for you, but they’re even better during your period. Drinking a delicious, fresh green smoothie at the start of your day or even as a pick-me-up snack will deliver an enormous nutritional boost that helps combat period-related ailments.
Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale contain iron and magnesium, while kiwi and bananas are loaded with antioxidants, zinc, and fiber. Simply blend frozen or fresh bananas with some leafy greens, kiwi, ice, lemon juice, honey, and the milk of your choice for a glass of creamy green goodness.
A smoothie containing green fruit and veg will not only help alleviate cramping but can also be used to reduce stress and restore mental and physical energy.
Drinks To Avoid While Menstruating
When it comes to managing period-related discomfort through food and drink, knowing what not to consume is crucial.
These three drinks are best avoided while menstruating, as studies show they may only intensify cramping, headaches, bloating, and hormonal flux.
- High-sugar drinks (soda, energy drinks,)
While it can be difficult to deny yourself treats when your uterus feels like a pit of fire, exercising self-control in this area will ultimately contribute to an easier and less painful period.
Drink Your Way To A Less Painful Period
Periods are a less-than-fun part of life, but you can make them less painful by being selective about what you put in your body. These drinks are delicious, easy to make, and designed with good uterine health in mind.
If you’re taking a contraceptive pill or keeping a close watch on your cycle, you can even start drinking them in the lead-up to your period for extra relief.
Staying hydrated, healthy, and well-rested will make every part of your period a little bit better. And if doing so tastes good too, what’s not to like?