Evolving studies in the field of science have led to curious researchers investigating if some foods can be considered period pain foods. Interestingly, the bioactive components of a few plant sources meet the requirements of easing pain during the menstrual cycle and providing relief.

Foods To Help Cope With Period Pain

It’s that time of the month and you’re clutching your stomach, dreading going to work due to period cramps. Sounds familiar? Well, while the menstrual cycle is a natural phenomenon that pays a monthly visit, it can be turned into a bearable experience by consuming foods that help with period cramps. Read on to know more about period cramp foods and how you can use them to your advantage.

What causes period cramps?

Most women experience pain and distress to some extent during their menstruation, which occurs throughout the reproductive years. Dysmenorrhea is the term used for the cramping sensation in the lower abdomen, which may be accompanied by biological symptoms like dizziness, backache, headache, and diarrhoea before or during menstruation. It can be categorised as primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. 

Primary dysmenorrhea begins during adolescence and is due to prostaglandin F released by the endometrial cells at the start of the cycle. Prostaglandin (PG) causes uterine contractions, and the intensity of the cramps is equal to the amount of PG released. On the other hand, secondary dysmenorrhea is linked to underlying disease conditions and may be observed long after menarche - the first menstrual cycle.

Although dysmenorrhea isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can affect the quality of life and have an impact on school or work-related activities due to absenteeism. It is learned that around 10–15% of females experience monthly pain related to their periods, which is severe enough to stop normal daily activities. Foods to reduce period pain can come in handy at such a time and be beneficial to women who encounter this experience often.

Foods that relieve period cramps

  1. Ginger: Oral administration of ginger is proven to be helpful in relieving pain associated with menstruation. The properties of ginger that may make it one of the best foods for period pain are due to the presence of 6-Shogaol, which is the active component of ginger and also imparts anti-inflammatory benefits. 
  2. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a period pain relief food, and a significant impact of cinnamon has been observed in the reduction of pain and menstrual bleeding. The active components of cinnamon are cinnamaldehyde and trans-cinnamaldehyde.
  3. Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds contain important phytochemicals (plant compounds) like flavonoids, phenolic compounds, fatty acids, and amino acids. They demonstrate antinociceptive properties, which is the ability to reduce the sensation of pain. This attribute of fennel seeds adds them to the list of foods to reduce period cramps and menstrual pain. 
  4. Chamomile: Chamomile is one of the oldest herbs and contains several bioactive components, including terpenoids and flavonoids. It has a vital role to play in alleviating ailments such as muscle spasms and menstrual disorders, thus making it a period pain food. Chamomile can also be consumed as chamomile tea, which is one of the best drinks for period pain.
  5. Calcium and Vit D rich foods: Studies suggest that intake of Vit D and calcium can help reduce the severity of primary dysmenorrhea, making their sources excellent period cramp foods. Calcium-rich sources include milk and milk products and seeds such as flaxseed, while oily fish and egg yolks are rich in Vit D.
  6. Turmeric: Herbs like turmeric are known to possess anti-inflammatory abilities. Curcumin, which is the bioactive component of turmeric, has pain-relieving properties. Thus turmeric may be considered a food to eat during periods to avoid cramps as it helps to reduce the severity and duration of dysmenorrhea.
  7. Dark Chocolate: Dark chocolate is regarded as one of the best foods to reduce period cramps. Dark chocolate contains a high amount of cocoa and the major bioactive components in it are polyphenols such as flavonoids, including catechins. These polyphenols are known to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, which contribute to their health benefits. Besides, dark chocolate is also a good source of magnesium, which could be responsible for providing pain relief.

Check out Ask Nestle for some delectable, gut friendly recepies that can help you power through your periods.

So these were the top 7 foods that help with period cramps. Let’s now take a quick glance at what foods to avoid.

Foods to avoid

It is observed that a high consumption of sugar, snacks that are salty, desserts, tea, coffee, fruit juices, and added fat may be associated with an increased risk of period related cramps among young women. Thus, avoiding these foodstuffs during days of menstruation may prove beneficial to alleviate associated pain.


Periods are expected visitors, but instead of dreading them, it is worth consuming foods that relieve period pain to make the experience unbothersome. You may want to try out the foods mentioned above during your next cycle, and hopefully, these scientifically proven foods may help you bid goodbye to period cramps or at least offer some relief!