Prevent period weight gain with these 8 food hacks
It’s estimated that the average woman gains up to 5lbs of weight around the time of her period. Even though this is, in the most part, a temporary weight gain, it’s not to be ignored. The secret is taking control of your hormones. Here's my 8 hacks for balancing your hormones and preventing period weight gain – for good as told to Women's Health magazine.
TWO WEEKS BEFORE YOUR PERIOD
Swerve the salt shaker
Salt is hidden in many every day foods. Choose an egg and cress wholegrain sandwich for lunch rather than your usual soup pot, which is often loaded with hidden salt, and buy reduced-salt alternatives of foods such as baked beans. Boost the flavour of your plate with herbs, spices and citrus, instead.
Opt for wholegrains
According to a study by the University of Reading, women who take 200mg of magnesium every day have less period weight gain from water retention. Where to find it? I recommend wholegrain rice, unsalted nuts, kale and yoghurt. You’ll benefit in other ways, too. White refined carbs are more likely to spike blood sugar levels and cause hunger pangs.
Go traditional with your toppings
For your porridge, that is. The reason is vitamin B6. This vitamin is your kidney’s sidekick, helping them to regulate the levels of water and minerals in your body. A deficiency could increase period weight gain. Bananas and porridge oats are a good source, as is lean meat and fish, and a safer choice to high-dose supplements. Taking more than 200mg a day can lead to a loss of feeling in the arms and legs, in the long-term.
Enjoy turkey, even when it's not Christmas
Don’t limit the health-benefits of this lean white meat just to the festive season. Their high levels of potassium can help to counter high salt levels in your body – meaning you’ll hold onto less excess fluid. Vegetarian or vegan? Bananas, beans and pulses are also high in the mineral.
DURING YOUR PERIOD
Choose complex carbs
That's sweet potatoes, lentils and oatcakes, over croissants and chocolate. These will keep your blood sugar under control and maintain energy levels.
Eating little and often can swerve bloating by avoiding any challenging overloading of your digestive system.
It may seem counterintuitive but staying hydrated will actually prevent period weight gain – it’s like with fat on a crash diet; your body will hold onto fluid if it thinks there’s a shortage. Drink plenty of water and herbal teas such as lemon, ginger or rooibos.
Change up your breakfast
Porridge may have worked wonders ahead of your period but when your bleed starts, it could be the cause of your period weight gain and bloat. Instead, opt for uncooked oats – think Bircher muesli – which contain gut-pleasing resistant starch. They’ll be easier on your digestive system. Cooked then cooled potatoes are another source.
Got a bloat that just won’t go away or isn’t linked to your menstrual cycle? In some cases, water retention can be the sign of something more sinister. If it’s gone on for more than three weeks or is accompanied by other unwanted symptoms, book in to see your GP.