Menstrual Cycle- The Do's and Don'ts according to Ayurveda
Updated: May 9, 2021
AN AYURVEDIC DIET DURING PERIODS
Menstruation can be a challenging time of the month. You may face cramps, light-headedness, inner thigh pain, and general fatigue. The imbalance of your Doshas can cause irregular periods which can be maintained by following a Satvik lifestyle.
The Dosha dominating your cycle (Vata, Pitta, or Kapha) should determine what to eat during periods.
⠀Using the characteristics of the Doshas, we can describe the various stages of the menstrual cycle. As Ayurveda texts mentions:
1) Vata to the stage of bleeding and cramps 2) Kapha to the nourishing stage until the uterine lining is nourished and whole body is ready to receive the fertilised ovum 3) Pitta the time after ovulation and the series of hormonal changes leading to the bleeding phase.
Based on this division we can see why in the Vata phase we may see symptoms of pain, cramps, anxiousness etc. Kapha phase may cause lethargy, water retention etc. Pitta may make the person emotional or even angry and physical symptoms of this heightened acidity can appear as spots on skin etc in the time leading to menstrual bleeding.
Ayurveda recommends a Vata-pacifying diet such as warm, mushy foods, cooked in ghee and spices; like khichri; lots of ghee, butter, and oils (flax, hemp seed, coconut); plenty of water and ginger tea. Pureed soups, cooked fruits, hot rice pudding, and nourishing beverages are ideal. Be sure to use healthy fats in cooking such as ghee, or flaxseed, or hempseed oil.
Nourishing herbs such as Ashwagandha or Shatavari consumed as teas or in cooking can also calm bata-aggravated symptoms. Forms of tea such as Dashamula or ginger can also restore strength and stability.
Following a Pitta-pacifying diet enables blood cleansing. Go for sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes, which are naturally cooling. Go for fresh fruits and vegetables, barley, rice, oats, milk and butter, and green vegetables. Incorporate herbs such as Shatavari, Guduchi, and Brahmi.
Stay away from hot, spicy, salty, or oily foods. You can consume sour foods but in moderation. Try to flavor your foods through cooler herbs (such as coriander), or milder spices such as ginger, fennel, and turmeric.
Cooling foods—fruit, yogurt, coconut; anything sweet; no hot spices; drink aloe vera juice twice a day.
The Kapha-pacifying diet includes light, dry, warm, and easy to digest foods. Both raw and cooked fruits and vegetables are fiber rich and low in density. Some fruits to eat during periods include apples, watermelon, and muskmelon. Green and black teas are also recommended against heavier beverages like coffee.
Light foods that incorporate warm and drying spices—ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper. Be sure to avoid heavy, dense, or oily foods. These can worsen your existing symptoms. Exercise portion control.