Do you feel tired all the time? For most women their monthly period translates into an absence of energy and enthusiasm for one week out of each month. Nutritional Therapist Susie Perry Debice suggests easy ways to help achieve a natural pick-me-up during this challenging week of your cycle.
If you can predict when your periods will occur then you have the opportunity to keep your diary clear so that you can cope with a lighter schedule. Unfortunately, this take-it-easy strategy is virtually impossible if you have young children, a high-powered career or an over-demanding family. Well don’t panic, there are a few little nutrition tricks to explore which can help you step-up the pace during a week when you would be more naturally suited to some sofa time!
Iron for energy
One obvious link to make with your menstrual energy dip is a possible lack of iron since losing blood also means losing iron. This mineral has a very specific function, it forms the ‘heam’ part of our red blood cells needed to carry oxygen around the body delivering it to all body cells where it’s used to generate the units of energy and fire-up metabolism. Signs of low iron status, commonly known as anaemia include – shortness of breath, fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, palpitations, headaches, sore tongue, hair loss and paleness. One way to check if you do lack in iron is to ask your GP for a blood test.
Topping up on heam-rich forms of iron during this week could have a positive impact on your energy levels so lean red meat, poultry and mackerel or sardines are all worthy of featuring on your shopping list. There are plenty of non-heam also known as plant-based sources of iron too which include spinach, beetroot, chickpeas, lentils, pumpkin, sesame seeds, pecans, walnuts, wheat-germ, apricots and red kidney beans. If your blood test does show an iron deficiency then supplementing with an ‘easy-on-digestion’ form of iron is also recommended.
Think B Vitamins for a boost
Iron is certainly the oxygen carrier but it’s B-vitamins that help us generate our units of cellular energy. There are lots of different B-vitamins but scientists have discovered that it’s specifically B1, B2 and B6 that are involved with regulating our metabolism to such an extent that B2 and B6 actually help to reduce tiredness and fatigue. Supplementing with these specific B-vitamins is a great way to regain a spring in your stride during your period and topping up on B-rich foods such as asparagus, sunflower seeds, edamame beans, squash, peas, almonds, eggs, mushrooms and green leafy vegetables like spinach can be of great help.
Omega-3’s for brain power
It’s one thing feeling tired and low but it’s another thing altogether when this tiredness starts to impact your brain function! A foggy brain doesn’t do you any favours during your period week and one way to keep your brain awake is to supplement with omega-3 Krill Oil. Forget old fashioned fish oils as krill oil is the new omega-3 in the spotlight and with good reason as it’s more absorbable and faster acting when compared to fish oil. Of course, it’s still good advice to eat plenty of oily fish to help get that extra boost of omega-3’s for your brain power but when it comes to buying a supplement it’s Krill Oil that is worthwhile spending your money on. Krill oil also has fantastic results when it comes to hormone balance and dampening down premenstrual symptoms making it a good all-round female support.