Eating according to the female cycle – or vice versa: the cycle and the associated complaints can be influenced by the right diet. Some cookbooks follow this idea. All hocus-pocus, or is there something to it?
Grapefruit carpaccio with fennel tartare and pistachios – sounds like a sophisticated starter. The dish should also have a positive effect on the female hormone balance and alleviate cycle-related complaints.
At least that’s what it says in the book “Eat like a woman” by Andrea Haselmayr, Denise Rosenberger, and Verena Haselmayr. Your message: A harmonious cycle and a period that is as pain-free as possible are possible – with targeted eating and more conscious awareness of what the body needs.
Magnesium against cramps
The three Austrians are not the first to market such a concept. Years ago, the book “Woman Code” by the American Alisa Vitti made waves. And there are other guides that deal with eating for a balanced hormonal balance. “That is always better than taking a pain pill if you have menstrual problems,” says author Andrea Haselmayr.
For example, she advises menstrual cramps to eat rich in magnesium. Because that has an antispasmodic effect. Raw cocoa, for example, contains not only magnesium but also blood-forming iron. Bananas also contain magnesium, which is why the book contains a recipe for chocolate bananas with blueberry semifreddo and flowers.
In fact, there are links between hormones and diet. Many women lose their hormones during their days, explains Prof. Vanadin Seifert-Klauss, an endocrinologist at the Women’s Clinic and Polyclinic at the Technical University of Munich: “They sometimes crave something rich in carbohydrates, and sometimes even something sweet.” Women are also very intuitive about chocolate.
However, it cannot be generalized that women can influence their hormone levels or cycle with certain foods, says Prof. Andreas Pfeiffer, nutritionist, and endocrinologist at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin. “The scientific evidence is currently too thin for this.” This also applies to the statement that certain food can combat or even prevent menstrual problems.
Tea for menstrual cramps
Christian Albring, President of the Professional Association of Gynecologists, has a similar opinion: “It is known that a lack of vitamin D, iron, and iodine can reduce fertility,” says Albring. Being overweight and underweight can be involved in menstrual cycle disorders as well as in the unfulfilled desire to have children. That is why women should eat healthily and consciously – with lots of salads, vegetables, fruit, and whole-grain products.
And the menstrual complaints? According to Haselmayr and Co., they can also be linden with tea. In the case of painful menstruation, the authors recommend pounding caraway seeds in a mortar and mixing equal parts with two teaspoons of a mixture of grated yarrow, lady’s mantle, chamomile, goose foxglove, and lavender flowers. Pour boiling water over everything and cover and let stand for ten minutes. “Drink two to five cups a day from five days before menstruation to the end of menstruation.”
Women should try new approaches
Gynecologist Albring confirms that medicinal teas can help with mild menstrual symptoms – as can herbal medicines. But Haselmayr and her co-authors want to get away from drugs when they have period pain. “With our book, we want to question old ways of thinking and encourage women to be inspired by new approaches,” says Haselmayr.
This also includes developing more mindfulness towards yourself. So: eat consciously, live consciously, and find out for yourself what is good for you. “A cycle diary can also help here, in which a woman notes what was good for her in which situation,” says hormone specialist Seifert-Klauss.
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